Sale sparks new me­dia re­form de­bate

Shepparton News - - SN VIEW POINT -

The de­ci­sion by Amer­i­can me­dia gi­ant CBS to buy the Ten Net­work has sparked a new de­bate over the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment’s me­dia own­er­ship re­forms.

The Amer­i­can broad­caster an­nounced on Mon­day it had en­tered into a bind­ing agree­ment to ac­quire the busi­ness and as­sets of the trou­bled Aus­tralian me­dia com­pany.

La­bor leader Bill Shorten wel­comed the news, not­ing the gov­ern­ment’s ar­gu­ment for abol­ish­ing the so-called two-out-of three rule was to save Ten.

‘‘Well, CBS has saved Chan­nel Ten so we don’t need to tam­per with me­dia di­ver­sity laws,’’ he told re­porters in Mel­bourne.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull de­fended the pro­posed changes, in­sist­ing the ex­ist­ing pro­vi­sions were drafted in a pre-in­ter­net era.

‘‘We need to have me­dia own­er­ship laws that en­able the in­dus­try to re­spond com­pet­i­tively to the threat from the in­ter­net, from com­pa­nies like Net­flix and Ama­zon and so forth,’’ the Prime Min­is­ter told re­porters in the NSW Snowy Moun­tains.

‘‘If Chan­nel Ten is bought by CBS, fine . . . but you have got the rest of the in­dus­try.’’

Mr Turn­bull in­sisted the pack­age of changes was not a Ten Net­work amend­ment agenda.

‘‘This is about en­sur­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of the en­tire me­dia.’’

Mr Turn­bull noted news­pa­per com­pa­nies, such as Fair­fax Me­dia, and re­gional broad­cast­ers were scream­ing out for re­forms.

By op­pos­ing the pack­age in the Se­nate, La­bor was guar­an­tee­ing for­eign com­pa­nies would ad­vance at the ex­pense of the Aus­tralian busi­ness, he said.

‘‘We’re stand­ing up for Aus­tralian com­pa­nies, we’re stand­ing up for Aus­tralian jobs, and it’s about time (Mr) Shorten woke up to him­self and recog­nised that the only ben­e­fi­cia­ries of his op­po­si­tion to me­dia law re­form are Google, Face­book, Netf lix and Ama­zon.

‘‘They’d be cheer­ing Bill on, be­cause they’d say — the more di­vided the Aus­tralian me­dia sec­tor is, the eas­ier it is to pick them off.’’

The gov­ern­ment is still in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Nick Xenophon Team to se­cure pas­sage of its re­forms through the Se­nate when par­lia­ment re­sumes next week.

Pic­ture: AAP Im­age/Dan Him­brechts

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