Press Ownership in Australia
Although Australia's media possession laws include remained unchanged for over a decade, debate around the desirability of reform offers continued unabated. This argument has been fuelled by the advent of new multimedia technologies, numerous inquiries proposing regulatory improvements, and the self-interest of those press organisations that report the controversy. The federal government has long indicated which it believed the rules to be anachronistic, and in 2002 unsuccessfully attemptedto amend the cross-media title restrictions. The major effect of the laws is always to prevent the common ownership of newspapers, television set and the airwaves broadcasting licences that serve the same area. The purpose of the legislation is always to encourage range in the ownership of the most influential forms of the commercial press: the daily press and free-to-air television set and a radio station. The justification for the rules is that the effective functioning of a democracy requires a diverse ownership of the daily mass media to make certain public existence be reported in a fair and available manner. This kind of e-brief provides background around the issue, together with links to relevant sites and papers. For a extensive, well-presented, research released in Apr 2006 and covering thesame ground because this e-brief, see Articles, Consolidation and Clout: How can regional Down under be affected by press ownership improvements? The Business summary and key conclusions are available on-line here. В
The Constitutional Position
The Commonwealth's legislative controls on media control can be broken into two wide categories: certain controls relating to broadcasting contained in the Broadcasting Companies Act 1992. These get from the Commonwealth's power to make laws regarding electronic marketing communications under section 51(v) from the Constitution general controls relating to commercial activity such as those contained in the Transact Practices Work 1974 and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 75. These obtain from the...