Major reform to media laws

Major reforms to media control will commence this year after the introduction of the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Media Reform) Bill 2016 to the House of Representatives last month. Major reform is necessary as technology has long surpassed the forms of traditional media that the laws were designed for.

The proposed amendments will seek to amend the media control and ownership rules by repealing rules that currently prevent a person from controlling:

  • Commercial television licences that collectively reach in excess of 75 per cent of the Australian population; and
  • More than two of the three regulated forms of media in the one commercial radio licence area.

The new provisions will also establish new local programming obligations for regional commercial broadcasters and will increase local content obligations for commercial television licensees.

The reforms aim to:

  • Strengthen the local content obligations for regional commercial television licensees;
  • Provide an incentive for content to be filmed locally;
  • Assist traditional media businesses to better compete and adapt in the changing media landscape;
  • Support the viability of local business faced with increasing global competition; and
  • Creating an obligation to increase locally made content in regional communities to support jobs and investment.

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