Radio welcomes Govt response to digital platforms inquiry, urges quick action

Commercial Radio Australia has welcomed the Government’s response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry.

The Government’s immediate response includes:

  • Investing $26.9 million in a new special unit in the ACCC to monitor and report on the state of competition and consumer protection in digital platform markets, taking enforcement action as necessary, and undertaking inquiries as directed by the Treasurer, starting with the supply of online advertising and ad‑tech services.
  • Commencing a staged process to reform media regulation towards a platform-neutral regulatory framework covering both online and offline delivery of media content to Australian consumers.
  • Addressing bargaining power imbalances between digital platforms and news media businesses by asking the ACCC to work with the relevant parties to develop and implement voluntary codes to address these concerns. The ACCC will provide a progress report to Government on the code negotiations in May 2020, with the code to be finalised no later than November 2020. If an agreement is not forthcoming, the Government will develop alternative options which may include the creation of a mandatory code.
  • Conducting a review of the Privacy Act and ensuring privacy settings empower consumers, protect their data and best serve the Australian economy, which builds on our commitment to increase penalties and introduce a binding social media and online platforms privacy code announced in the 2019–20 Budget.

The first stage of media regulation reforms will commence in 2020 with a focus on:

  • Developing a uniform classification framework across all media platforms.
  • Determining the extent of Australian content obligations on free-to-air television broadcasters (including drama and children’s content), and whether there should be Australian content obligations on subscription video-on-demand services.
  • Identifying other aspects of the policy framework to support Australian film and television content.

CEO Joan Warner says the industry looks forward to a speedy implementation of the reforms.
“The Government has responded within their stated time frame, which is an encouraging sign of how seriously they are taking these issues and their intent to bring about change.
“The industry is very pleased there will be concrete moves towards harmonisation of media regulation, as commercial radio remains one of the most overregulated platforms in the media and communications sector. We hope the “phased” approach does not mean we have to wait years for effective change nor will have to go through another round of inquiries and submission writing.
“We are supportive of the development of voluntary codes to address the power imbalance.  We look forward to working with the ACCC and other stakeholders to develop a practical and workable code.
“We also note the Government has specifically stated it will review Australian and children’s content requirements for free-to-air television services. We assume that the heavy local content requirements and associated compliance burden on local radio stations will also be part of any such review in the light of the Government’s stated wish to have a more harmonious and fair media regulation framework that can  be applied across digital and traditional media.”
The commercial radio industry believes the review of advertising restrictions is also timely.



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