Australian Media Ownership Rules Back in Spotlight

05 May 2005

The much discussed and long delayed reform of Australian media ownership is back on the legislative agenda.

Although deregulation of the A$12 billion ($9bn; €7bn; £5bn) media industry is not top of the government's 'must do' list, industry analysts believe changes to ownership rules could finally be put into effect as early as next year.

Communications minister Helen Coonan has been in talks with various factions about a package of reforms and says "... the government is committed to reforming media ownership laws to ensure the Australian industry remains innovative and internationally competitive."

The nation's biggest media owners, among them John Fairfax which publishes the Sydney Morning Herald and PBL which owns broadcaster Channel Nine, are in favour of changes.

These involve the abolition of overseas ownership restrictions - which currently prevent a foreign national or company from owning more than 15% of a broadcaster and 25% of a metropolitan newspaper.

Also due to be scrapped are the cross-media ownership rules that prevent a media company in one geographic area from owning another outlet in the same area.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff