Jul 4, 2012

Conroy making history with public interest test

If the Gillard government stares down the nation's media bosses and introduces a public interest test for media ownership that's tough, effective and free from political interference, it will be the first government in the world to do so.

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

If the Gillard government stares down the nation’s media bosses and introduces a public interest test for media ownership that’s tough, effective and free from political interference, it will be the first government in the world to do so.

So far, public debate on the proposed test — a key recommendation of the Convergence Review — has been heavy on righteous rhetoric but light on facts. Look no further than today’s letter from seven media bosses slamming the proposal as a “political interest test” that “has the capacity to be misused by politicians of all persuasions to block the acquisition of media companies by people they do not agree with or simply do not like”.

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12 thoughts on “Conroy making history with public interest test

  1. johnb78

    Point of order: the Competition Commission is based in London and has nothing to do with the EU.

    I think you’re thinking of the European Commission, which (confusingly) does also prepare competition reviews on mergers & acquisitions with significant cross-border European impact.

    You’re right on the effectiveness of the law, though.

  2. Elizabeth Thornton

    After the Murdoch inquiry, is it any wonder that thinking people hear alarm bells when Gina Rinehart decides that she would like to do something similar ?

    It is quite sickening to find that around elections all of a sudden the Manly Daily prints heavily biased propaganda towards the liberals . No wonder we have Tony Abbott as our Wakehurst M.P.

  3. Mack the Knife

    Labor have nothing to lose.

    The right wing press and Their ABC have been distorting and, misrepresenting the facts to bring down the government.

    I’d like to see truth in reportage that applies to radio and television mediums too.

    That would really stuff up Jones, Bolt et al

  4. CML

    I think we should have a law that says newspapers have to print the TRUTH! You know, the facts of the matter. That would make a nice change. And this should apply to radio and TV as well.
    Wasn’t Murdoch found to be “not a fit and proper person” to take over BSkyB in Britain? If so, how
    can he maintain 70% of the newspapers in Oz. Does he change his spots when he travels south of the equater? Very convenient. Can’t wait for similar laws here.

  5. Matthew Knott

    Thanks John – you’re right. Have fixed that up.

  6. Vincent O'Donnell

    Public value/interest tests for new media services proposed to be introduced by public broadcasters are common in the EU. Thus the framework of ideas is already established. What has not been done (yet) in the EU is to extend the reach of the public value/interest framework to private broadcasters ( and other media).

    As our privately owned media continue to supply plenty of fulcrums against which the government can lever change, the have only themselves to blame for tighter regulation.

    There’s a conference in Sydney in early September devoted to discussing public interest and public value tests in media around the world.

    Could be interesting if the letter’s signatories parade on the footpath outside with banners!

  7. John Bennetts

    Matthew, there is a difference between a wave (noun or verb) and the verb (waive) which extends beyond simply a difference in spelling.

    They are not interchangeable.

  8. Venise Alstergren

    CML: Allow me to have a daydream too. I can see it clear before me-in my dreams. With each main storyline a short list of FACTS. This would accompany each politically biased opinion piece-to the left, to the right, etc. This sort of system would irretrievably knacker Andrew Bolt. Think of it, Bolt comes out with a litany of Tony Abbott’s foresighted views on a subject And, next to it would be a list of the number of times Tony Abbott has ignored the issue, refused to deal with it, and the list of times he has said no to it. It would be pointless for Bolt to continue his lies in the face of facts. And, after all, one can’t blame the average voter for not ploughing their way through Hansard.

  9. Venise Alstergren

    Dear Mr Moderating Machine. Thank you so much for rounding out my day. It doesn’t feel like a day until I have 1-5 ‘Moderated’ comments from Crikey.

  10. AR

    CML – it would be simple enough to insist that reportage be truthful and let them run riot with trollumnists, hacks & shills.
    However we do seem now to be in the era of people being entitled to their own ‘factiods’ or ‘troothiness’, after the unlamented Dubya era of “we make own own reality”.

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