CANBERRA: The heads of more than 25 Australian media companies met in Canberra yesterday in an unprecedented display of unity to urge Parliament to back reforms on media law.
Proposed by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, the measures include the repeal of the so-called "two out of three" rule, which prevents media companies from controlling a newspaper, TV station and radio network all in the same city or market.
The federal government also aims to repeal rules that currently prohibit TV networks from broadcasting to more than 75% of the population, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Other measures include the abolition of broadcast licence fees and replacing them with spectrum fees.
The media bosses, who represent major companies ranging from Fairfax Media to Foxtel and News Corp, among many others, expressed alarm about the influence of multinational internet giants and said reform was essential to bring media regulation into the digital age.
In a joint statement, they said: "Australian media operators must be allowed to compete more effectively against multinational internet giants that are taking hundreds of millions of advertising dollars out of Australia.
"This package is key to the entire industry's ability to keep creating great content that is read, watched and listened to by millions of Australians every day.
"Media CEOs call on Parliament to preserve Australian content, voices and jobs by supporting the passage of the broadcast and media reform package in its entirety."
However, the media reform package faces ongoing opposition from Labour, the Greens and Pauline Hanson's One Nation populist party.
The three parties are concerned that abolition of the "two out of three" rule because it could concentrate media ownership and effectively allow a single Australian or foreign company to dominate the media in the country.
Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff