Media ownership and regulation in Australia



Picture of Australian parliament house in Canberra - Effective Government header

In theory the media should diversify a nation’s democracy, serving as a channel through which many different groups can participate in national debate. Yet with the high levels of media ownership concentration in Australia, are we hearing the voices of the many or simply the few?

CPD Researcher & intern Rob Harding-Smith submitted this report as part of research commissioned for Avaaz who are using this in their submission to the independent media inquiry being conducted by  the Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy.

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A free, open and diverse media that has the unhindered power to inform the population on issues of public interest has always been a crucial component of a functioning democracy. A free and diverse media sector can enforce transparency and accessibility in politics and can help to ensure that
leaders within government and business are accountable for their actions.

Main Points in 'Media ownership and regulation in Australia'

Media ownership and regulation in Australia
Where do Australians seek their online news?
  • Australia’s print media ownership is much more highly concentrated than that of most other Western countries
  • The ownership of Australian TV and radio is following the international trend towards increasing concentration
  • Changes to Australia’s media ownership laws have tended to increase this concentration over time
  • The emergence of new media does not remove the need for regulation to prevent too much media power from becoming concentrated in too few hands – all but one of the 12 news sites in Australia’s top 100 most visited sites are owned by major existing media outlets
  • Audience and reader complaints about the media are increasing:
    • Complaints to the government regulator of broadcasting, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, have risen 57% in 5 years, and complaints to the newspaper industry self-regulator the Australian Press Council, are 42% above the long-term average.