Media reform delayed as parties negotiate further

A week is a long time in politics.

At the beginning of the week the media reform bill was stalled.

Then Pauline Hanson’s party promised to support the reforms if there were additional conditions imposed on the ABC and SBS.

But that approach lost the support of Nick Xenophon and the Greens.

Media companies have expressed disappointment that the government could not reach agreement with he various cross bench parties.

The bill will now be delayed for at least another fortnight as the government attempts to negotiate with enough of the players to secure enough numbers to pass the Bill in the Senate.

Nick Xenophon said: “We are extending an offer to the government that we’ll continue to talk to them, we understand the urgency of this. We were hopeful of announcing an agreement sometime today, that won’t be happening. We want to calmly, methodically go through these issues and I want to talk to media organisations large and small in this country about this.”

Communications Minister Fifield said the two parties had agreed in principle to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into the impact of Facebook and Google on media; a further extension for community TV licensees and a roundtable discussion on the sector’s future; a review into the reach of Australian broadcasting services in the Asia-Pacific; and to enhance local content in smaller regional markets through the points system, but that may not be enough to bring all the cross bench parties over the line.

The manoeuvering continues.


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