Media Ethics and Regulation
- Media Ethics and Regulation
- Volume 354
- Editor: Justin Healey
- Print book ISBN: 978 1 922084 05 7
- E-book ISBN: 978 1 922084 06 4
- Year: 2013
- Print book: $24.00
- E-book: $24.00
The media landscape is changing rapidly. In this new digital age, the mass media is undergoing major structural changes in how it delivers news, information and entertainment in Australia and around the globe. Media organisations are reconfiguring their business models, as newspapers migrate online and television competes directly with online content. The press in particular is now under the spotlight in Australia and abroad with a number of major government inquiries and reviews.
This book presents a current overview of the state of Australia’s media and explores a broad range of concerns, including: ethics and accountability; media ownership, control and editorial independence; freedom of the press; the government’s regulatory responses to convergence; and advertising and journalistic standards, classifications and codes of ethics.
In a time of increased global competition and free content, is self-regulation by Australia’s financially struggling media organisations providing adequate scrutiny and quality control?
Chapter 1: Media ethics and accountability
Chapter 2: Media ownership and convergence
Worksheets and activities; Glossary; Fast facts; Web links; Index
- Australia still has more than 500 secrecy provisions in 176 pieces of legislation on Commonwealth and State statute books including 358 criminal offences attracting a broad range of penalties from fines to up to 10 years in prison.
- The Commonwealth Freedom of Information regime was recently ranked at number 39 out of 85 countries rated.
- Commonwealth legislation passed in 2010 seeks to protect anyone engaged and active in the publication of news.
- Australia has one of the highest concentrations of media ownership in the world, with 98% of newspaper circulation controlled by the top three newspaper companies.
- Radio and TV stations themselves have the primary responsibility for ensuring that the material they broadcast reflects community standards.
- Australian content and children’s programs on commercial television are regulated by compulsory program standards determined by the ACMA.
- Both the ABC and SBS have codes of practice developed under their own legislation.
- Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, all community broadcasting licensees are subject to a licence condition that prevents them from broadcasting advertisements.
- All commercial radio stations operate under the authority of licences issued by the ACMA.
- Complaints about advertisements on radio can be made to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
- The Classification – Content Regulation and Convergent Media report makes 57 recommendations for a national classification scheme in the new media landscape.
- An independent inquiry has found that the way media is regulated in Australia is not rigorous enough to ensure accountability and transparency.
- Many media outfits have no resources dedicated to dealing with complaints.
- Australia has the highest concentration of print ownership of any democracy, with the duopoly of Fairfax Media and News Limited (Murdoch) accounting for 90% of its daily newspapers.
- The Independent Media Inquiry recommended that a News Media Council be set up to regulate the news media.
- Print media has so far been relatively unregulated because of constitutional questions.
- Kerry Packer once told the House of Representatives Select Committee of Inquiry into the Print Media in 1991-92 that the Press Council was “a complete and absolute piece of window-dressing”.
- In 2007, an independent audit led by Irene Moss into the state of Australia’s free speech was prompted by several Australian media organisations.
- In February 2012, Fairfax Media declared a 44% drop in its profits. At the same time News Corporation recently announced a 43% drop in income for its publishing division.
- The Independent Media inquiry was triggered by the British phone-hacking scandal.
- The basic recommendation of the Finkelstein report on media regulation is to establish a new government-funded and appointed regulator to set and control journalistic standards.
- Polls indicate that consumer levels of trust in the Australian media, apart from the ABC, is low and has been for some time.
- Australia currently faces the prospect of having all major newspapers controlled by either Rupert Murdoch (reportedly already at 70%) or Gina Rinehart.
- In October 2006 the Commonwealth Government enacted the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Act 2006 (Cth),which significantly altered the laws with respect to media ownership and control.
- From 1993 to 2006 Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy contained a limit on the permitted foreign investment in newspapers.
- In the early 1990s, Hawke government reforms handed much responsibility for the quality of content, including the development of codes of practice, to the broadcasters themselves.
- The most recent round of legislative changes in 2006 on cross-media ownership prohibit an individual from controlling more than two media out of radio, TV and newspapers in a licence area.
- Between 2003 and 2010, while the number of licensed commercial broadcasting services increased from 306 to 317, the number of controllers of these licenses fell, from to 42 to 39.
- More than 70% of Australians believe that the big media proprietors have too much power and that the ownership of the media is too concentrated.
- News Ltd sells around 70% of the newspapers bought by Australians.
- There are many countries that maintain nationality provisions for the ownership and control of important media within their borders.
- In 2011, Australia has seen the single biggest drop in audiences for the main television channels that they have experienced in 50 years.
- Free-to-air currently holds a market share of more than 80% of primetime TV viewing.
- On 30 April 2012, the Final Report of the Australian Convergence Review Committee was handed down.
- To maintain the current levels of Australian content on screen, all companies reaching certain thresholds would need to spend a small percentage of that revenue on local content, according to a Convergence Review guideline recommendation.
- Media content now spans the spectrum from amateur videos made by children to high-end professional content produced for international consumer markets.
- Australia has been a world leader in considering how to adapt media laws for convergence.
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