Regulatory body, the Internet Industry Association (IIA), is skeptical of the expanding regulation of online media without clear evidence that such regulation is required and claims the controls are unjustified.
This was in response to the package of reforms in response to the Convergence Review and Finkelstein Inquiry that Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced recently.
Conroy indicated that there are currently two existing mechanisms in place that address competition law and foreign ownership restrictions, but that they don’t address or reflect the full question of public interest for media acquisitions.
IIA said in a statement that while it supports an approach that promotes media diversity, it questions the effectiveness of creating yet another regulator in the form of the Public Interest Media Advocate (PIMA).
IIA chief executive, Peter Lee, said the online space is one of the most diverse and growing national and international platforms that exists and diversity should not be enforced by over regulation.
“A more effective way of creating competition and diversity, particularly on-line through digital media, would be to provide better incentives for investment that promotes and encourages a greater diversity of voices across a variety of new platforms and applications,” he said.
He also claimed that these proposed reforms overlook the media diversity controls that already exist in Division 5A of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.
IIA mentioned that rather than creating yet another regulatory body within the communications sector, the government should consider utilising existing bodies such as the ACCC, the TIO and the ACMA by expanding their roles in relation to these proposed reforms.
The government has imposed a less than two week deadline for the Parliament to support the Press Council and Public Interest Test reforms.