New reporting requirements for foreign media owners

From this week, any foreign person with company interests of 2.5 per cent or more in an Australian media company will need to notify the ACMA.

This requirement follows the passing of the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Foreign Media Ownership, Community Radio and Other Measures) Act on 22 August 2018, and is designed to allow increased scrutiny of foreign investment in Australian media companies and increased transparency as to the levels and sources of foreign investment in such companies.

As a result of the legislation the ACMA must maintain a Register of Foreign Owners of Media Assets. The Register of Foreign Owners of Media Assets must set out, for each Australian media company, information about each foreign stakeholder in the company. Foreign stakeholders must notify the ACMA of their company interests in Australian media companies.

The new requirements include existing foreign stakeholders making initial disclosure notifications by 28 February 2019, timings for notification of changes of foreign stakeholder status and reporting at the end of each financial year. The new provisions also apply to people acting on behalf of foreign stakeholders, such as executors, administrators and liquidators.

See our earlier coverage of the Bill.

To lodge a notification, click here.

The ACMA currently keeps some records of ownership but foreign owners will now have to be more proactive about notifications, especially in the situation of mergers and acquisitions

Tags: | |