Greens move for inquiry into media ownership and regulation in Australia

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Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown today announced moves for a full Senate or Independent Inquiry into media ownership and regulation in Australia.

“While there have not been any allegations of unlawful or unethical behaviour by any of Australia's newspapers similar to that which resulted in the closure of News of the World, the potential for such behaviour and the breadth of the allegations in the UK indicates it is timely for a closer look at Australia's media regulation,” said Senator Brown.

An Inquiry would consider:

  • Whether there is sufficient regulation of major newspapers, radio and TV licences. TV and radio broadcasting requires a licence, however there is no licensing or independent oversight of major newspapers.
  • Should the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have some oversight of newspapers?
  • Should there be a "fit and proper person" test for owning key media assets in Australia?
  • Should Australia's media ownership laws be subject to a comprehensive review, in light of the domination of News Limited in print media?
  • The media landscape in Australia is primarily self-regulated through the Australian Journalists Association's Code of Conduct. Is this self-regulatory regime sufficient or should there be independent oversight and enforcement of standards?
  • Are Australia's privacy and criminal laws sufficient to protect individual privacy from behaviour such as phone and internet "hacking"?

“I will be gauging support for an inquiry amongst other parliamentarians and the public over the parliamentary break before taking action in the Senate in August,” said Senator Brown.

Senator Brown also called for Australia’s overseas television service to remain under public management.