The Internet Industry Association (IIA) said proposed media law changes amount to too much regulation.
Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has given the Parliament until Thursday next week to turn the media proposals into law. Proposed changes include creating a Public Interest Media Advocate to promote media diversity and judge whether media mergers and acquisitions are in the public interest.
But IIA, representing the Internet industry, said creating “yet another regulator” is not necessary.
“Online is one of the most diverse and growing national and international platforms that exists,” he said. “Diversity should not be enforced by over regulation.”
“A more effective way of creating competition and diversity, particularly online 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,” IIA chief executive, Peter Lee, said in a statement.
Rather than create a new regulator, government should expand the roles of existing regulators, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), IIA said.
“Any such regulatory body should be totally independent of the government of the day to ensure that the government does not use its power over the regulator to control outcomes or garner support.”
IIA added that the proposed changes “overlook” existing media diversity controls in the 1992 Broadcasting Services Act.
“It is not clear why these controls have failed and/or why it is necessary to bring the very diverse and rich array of online services under further regulatory control,” IIA said.
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