News inquiry into regions. Was one of the last administrative acts by Stephen Conroy as communications minister a direction to the Australian Communications and Media Authority to investigate whether regional Australia is getting enough coverage of local news and events — and if the rules governing this coverage should be extended to South Australia and Western Australia? It certainly looks like it, judging by the date of the directive, June 26, when Kevin Rudd rolled Julia Gillard as PM and Conroy spat the dummy and resigned.
ACMA revealed today that Conroy had directed it to conduct an inquiry into whether “material of local significance” is adequately covered by regional TV networks in regional Australia. The inquiry relates to the push from some commercial TV networks and a committee of federal Parliament to remove the 75% reach rule which means the total TV audience for an individual network can’t exceed 75% of the population. The recommendation that it be lifted is supported by Nine, WIN and Southern Cross, but not by Seven and Ten. It could force the networks to provide more news and current affairs to the regions — especially to regional parts of South Australia and WA (WIN has cut back on regional news broadcasts to parts of both states). While Nine is buying the WIN-owned metro stations in Adelaide and Perth, responsibility for the coverage of the regional areas rests with WIN.
ACMA today said: “Determining whether regional Australians have adequate access to material of local significance on commercial television is one of the issues to be covered in a new ACMA investigation.” The inquiry is likely to hear complaints about the way regional news services have been curtailed (the current rules resulted from the cuts Southern Cross and Prime made in their regional news broadcasts back in 2001 in markets in Queensland, NSW and the ACT). — Glenn Dyer
Reece still pulling levers in Canberra. It’s the dream of every aspiring columnist — pen a swingeing op-ed for the daily paper and have your suggestions actioned by the government by close of business on the very same day. That’s what happened yesterday when former Julia Gillard chief strategist Nick Reece took to his keyboard in Fairfax papers to demand the ALP leader be elected by rank-and-file members.
By 5pm, his wish was granted in Canberra by PM Kevin Rudd after a full cabinet meeting. Reece’s other suggestion was for Labor to hold more primary preselections, an idea endorsed later that night by Deputy PM Albo on Q&A. Crikey wonders what Reece, now a public policy fellow at the University of Melbourne, has up his sleeve for his next treatise. Spookily, it seems the dumped PM’s ex-heavy hitter is still highly influential inside the Rudd PMO. — Andrew Crook
There’s already a movie about Snowden? On the run, a mysterious man in possession of explosive top-secret information absconds to a foreign country where journalists ponder what he will do next and frazzled high-ranking authorities bark orders such as “we need to locate the source!”. Then it happens: the insider-cum-whistleblower feeds his documents to a major news organisation and becomes the world’s most wanted man, exposing shocking government surveillance operations conducted by the Western world’s greatest superpower. He jets to another country. His future is anything but certain.
The story of how (and why) Edward Snowden disseminated his revelatory NSA documents has the hallmarks of a riveting movie. Already reports have surfaced about a potential production that may or may not be in the works sometime that may or may not be in the near future. Australian-born director Phillip Noyce has reportedly expressed interest in a Snowden picture, even putting forward an actor for the lead role (for the record: Neighbours alumni Liam Hemsworth).
This is how quickly the media/entertainment cycle spins these days: a news event spreads like wildfire and before you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the page somebody in the movie business has already talked about which Hollywood hunk should get top billing. But last week we saw something quite curious – evidence that tinsel town has been pipped to the post by a very wide margin. A small Hong Kong production company has already released a Snowden film … — Luke Buckmaster (read the full story at Cinetology)
Howzat! Separated at birth. Howzat! Kerry Packer’s Cricket Thingummy, that latest hours-long advertisement by the Nine Network for itself, has just premiered in the UK, all bad wigs and wobbly furniture and classic tropes (“Headline on paper: Thing That In Last Scene Was About To Happen, Has Now Happened”) — except they’ve put it on BBC4, the arts channel, so if you turn the colour down to black and white and put the subtitles on, it looks like a 1977 Polish movie, in which a film school graduate has crafted a satire of totalitarian power under the radar.
You have to admire the white-boned nihilism of Nine — using a whole slice of the required drama content to make movies about how women’s liberation, egalitarianism, etc, was all gifted to us by the Packer family. That can wait for another time. In the meantime, what’s most remarkable is that the show’s cast has been almost entirely drawn, Crikey can reveal, of lookalikes of our own Andrew Crook …
Is there a future role waiting in Going Underarm, the Trevor Chappell story? If so, that Seals and Crofts tribute band will have to wait. — Guy Rundle