We always suspected that the Murdoch media empire
wasn't big enough. Thankfully, the new political outlook on
media ownership laws might be just what we need to ensure worldwide
News Corp domination.
Media ownership laws in Australia have always tried to encourage
diversity among big commercial players. Although not necessarily a
model of success, "unacceptable control" rules are all
that prevent Australia's media scene from turning into News
Corp's personal mouthpiece.
The "two out of three" rule in the Broadcasting
Services Act prevents a single entity from owning more than two of
a newspaper, a radio licence and a TV station in the same market.
This is supported by the "75% reach" rule that protects
us from the creation of cartel television networks by preventing a
company from controlling commercial television licences that reach
more than three quarters of the national population.
But the new government's expressed attitude towards media
policy could spell the demise of the little restraint we have left.
Malcolm Turnbull's suggestions of reform to media ownership
rules would clear the way for News Corp to convert Lachlan
Murdoch's control of the Ten Network into the Murdoch
Perhaps the only thing that might save us from a homogenous
media landscape and consequent zombie apocalypse is the ACCC.
Chairman Rod Sims has indicated that News Corp would struggle to
get approval for any expansion into free-to-air television,
particularly after it had already approved New Corp's takeover
of James Packer's pay TV company in 2012. But with increasing
speculation that Mr Turnbull will drop the "75% reach"
rule with the end of the analogue-era, "two out of three"
may well follow and we could be facing a Fox News future.
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