Eight principles of media and communications regulation proposed

In his foreword to the Framing Paper released last week, chairman of the Convergence Review committee, Glen Boreham, emphasised the importance of feedback from stakeholders on what fundamental principles should underpin any new policy framework emerging from the Review.


He also reiterated that there are a number of ways Government can achieve its policy objectives and that any policy framework can include both regulatory and non-regulatory approaches, such as incentive or rewards systems.


AMTA’s Policy Manager, Lisa Brown, says using the Review’s Terms of Reference as a basis, the Framing Paper puts forward eight principles of media and communications regulation. The committee intends to use the principles as a starting point for formulating its advice to government regarding its preferred alternative policy framework.


The committee intends that the proposed principles invite “big-picture thinking about the Australian media and communications environment in its global context and how it may need to be shaped in order to achieve principles that serve the public interest.”


The eight principles proposed in the Framing Paper are as follows: 

  • Australians should have access to a diversity of voices, views and information.  
  • The communications and media market should be innovative and competitive, while still ensuring outcomes in the interest of the Australian public.  
  • Australians should have access to Australian content that reflects and contributes to the development of national and cultural identity.  
  • Australians should have access to news and information of relevance to their local community.  
  • Communications and media services available to Australians should reflect community standards and the views and expectations of the Australian public.  
  • Australians should have access to the broadest range of content across platforms and services as possible.  
  • Service providers should provide the maximum transparency for consumers in how their service is delivered.  
  • The government should seek to maximise the overall public benefit derived from the use of spectrum assigned for the delivery of media content and communications services.


“While principle eight seems slightly out of place, being about infrastructure while the other principles all relate to content, media and communication services, the Framing Paper states that principle 8 is consistent with the regulatory object in section 3(a) of the Radiocommunications Act and reflects the Review’s Terms of Reference that include a consideration of spectrum in paragraph 5(f),” says Ms Brown.


“The Review committee seeks comments on the eight proposed principles as well as on several other issues such as the impact of legislative and regulatory frameworks outside the Minister’s portfolio; the impact of policy settings on industry and government revenue; appropriate ways to treat content sourced from outside Australia and international approaches and Australia’s international obligations.”


AMTA’s Policy and Strategy Steering Committee will be looking closely at the 8 proposed principles over the coming weeks and will make a submission to the Committee by 10 June 2011.