In November 2020 the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications released the Media Reform Green Paper, which details proposed media reform to support the Australian media industry. The paper begins an important conversation about the future of free-to-air television in an era of media convergence and business model disruption.
Response to the Green Paper
PIJI’s submission argues that where direct relief is provided to the news media industry, it should carry some obligation to support public interest journalism, consistent with the position that such journalism is a public good.
The submission notes that TV still remains an important and trusted source of news for Australians, despite shifts towards other types of technology.
Any transition must ensure that Australians do not experience any decrease in access to news content wherever they reside in Australia and continue to enjoy a choice of Australian news providers.
Media regulation also needs to encompass the different commercial realities faced by regional, remote and metropolitan broadcasters. Equally, while there are fundamental differences between public and commercial broadcasters, any reform must be inclusive of common interest, specifically regarding safeguards and innovation for public interest journalism.
The green paper includes a proposal for a Public Interest News Gathering (PING) Trust, which would be funded by the sale of broadcast spectrum and would provide grants to public interest journalism producers. PIJI supports this proposal and is conducting further research into the appropriate model for delivering such a trust.
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