The Australian Government's
Convergence Review has released a consultation paper, Emerging
Issues, which summarises some of the information received
throughout the last few months of consultation.
First, the principles guiding the Committee's deliberations,
and outlined in the framing paper, have been amended somewhat and
some new ones introduced:
Principle 1 [new]: Citizens and organisations should be able to
communicate freely, and where regulation is required, it should be
the minimum needed to achieve a clear public purpose.
Principle 2 [changes in bold]: Australians should have access
to and opportunities for participation in a
diverse mix of services, voices, views and information
Principle 3 [changes in bold]: The communications and media
market should be innovative and competitive, while
balancing outcomes in the interest of the Australian
Principle 4: Australians should have access to Australian
content that reflects and contributes to the development of
national and cultural identity.
Principle 5 [new]: Local and Australian content should be
sourced from a dynamic domestic content production industry.
Principle 6 [changes in bold]:Australians should have access to
news and information of relevance to their local communities,
including locally-generated content.
Principle 7: Communications and media services available to
Australians should reflect community standards and the views and
expectations of the Australian public.
Principle 8 [changes in bold]: Australians should have access
to the broadest possible range of content across platforms,
services and devices.
Principle 9 [changes in bold]: Service providers should provide
the maximum transparency for consumers regarding their
services and how they are delivered.
Principle 10: The government should seek to maximise the
overall public benefit derived from the use of spectrum assigned
for the delivery of media content and communications services.
Secondly, it identifies emerging issues as:
the new market structures that move from industry silos to a
converged structure based on layers;
regulatory parity – a policy framework can develop
around a specific service regardless of its mode of delivery;
the recognition of the global reach of internet services in any
new policy framework;
whether the key policies underpinning the Broadcasting
Services Act 1992 are still appropriate;
the role of content quotas;
whether cross-media ownership rules are still necessary to
ensure media diversity;
content rights acquisition and competition laws;
the need to apply community standards; and
broadcast licence fees, the future of further digital
television channels and the policy framework for allocating
spectrum in the public interest.
How to make a comment
The Convergence Review has an open call for submissions up to 28
October 2011, meaning that your submissions are not limited to the
matters discussed in the Emerging Issues paper, but can extend to
matters raised in the public hearings or in response to the
detailed discussion papers which are yet to come.
In particular, you're invited to:
raise new issues you feel the Committee has omitted
provide ideas for changes to the current regulatory
provide ideas about how policy frameworks can be
identify barriers to innovation and competition in the current
provide new and innovative mechanisms for addressing some of
the issues raised in the emerging issues paper – for
example, ways to increase competition, encourage innovation or
provide better consumer and citizen outcomes; or
provide details of regulatory, non-regulatory or de-regulatory
solutions to issues raised so far.
More details of the consultation process, including public
hearings, will be released in the near future. The final report is
due by March 2012.
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