Media diversity in Australia

December 2021

© Commonwealth of Australia 2021
ISBN: 978-1-76093-312-8

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Executive Summary

  The case for a judicial inquiry

Chapter 1—Introduction

  Conduct of the inquiry
  Note on submissions
  Structure of this report

Chapter 2—Background to the inquiry

  Concentrated ownership and declining number of outlets

Chapter 3—Recent Commonwealth measures and the regulatory oversight of Australian media

  Recent Commonwealth measures
  Oversight and regulation of news media

Chapter 4—Traditional media: a weak, inconsistent and ineffective regulatory system

  A system that is not fit-for-purpose
  Traditional print media
  Free-to-air, subscription and public television
  Calls for a unified regulatory and standards system
  Committee view

Chapter 5—Digital platforms: a regulatory void

  Concerns over the regulatory void for digital platforms
  More strident calls for regulation of the digital realm
  Case study: YouTube suspension of Sky News (August 2021)
  Committee view

Chapter 6—Consequences of concentrated ownership and ineffective regulation

   The current situation in Australia.
  The corrosive effects of monopoly on democracy
  News Corp’s reversal on climate change
  An unhealthy and dangerous influence on politics
  Public health misinformation
  Discrediting the science of COVID-19 and Australian researchers
  ‘Not a fit person’ to steward a global media company
  Committee view

Chapter 7—Policy and legislative reforms to support public interest news media

  Commonwealth funding for news media
  Support through reform of the taxation system
  Reform of law relating to defamation and freedom of the press
  Committee view

Dissenting report by Senator Bragg

  Response to recommendations in the committee report
  Comment on committee Recommendation 1
  Comment on committee Recommendation 2
  State of Media Diversity
  A Judicial inquiry or Royal Commission is not necessary
  ABC inquiry
  Concluding Remarks

Dissenting report by Senator McMahon


Appendix 1—Previous inquiries and reports

Appendix 2—Submissions and additional information

Appendix 3—Public hearing and witnesses

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3526