Heads of Australia’s biggest media companies have joined forces to call on federal parliament to pass the government’s media reform package in its entirety.
The CEOs of News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media and the Seven, Nine and Ten television networks are among those behind the united call for reforms they say are needed to allow local companies to compete with online giants such as Facebook and Google.
“Change is crucial to bring media regulation into the digital age and preserve the future viability of the sector, which supports more than 30,000 jobs,” the media companies said in a statement released on Wednesday night.
“Australian media operators must be allowed to compete more effectively against multinational internet giants that are taking hundreds of millions of advertising dollars out of Australia.”
A forum in Canberra on Wednesday night was attended by 28 CEOs of national, metropolitan, regional and online news organisations to put the industry’s case for support of the legislative reform package unveiled by the federal government.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also attended the forum, along with Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.
The package includes abolition of the 75 per cent “reach rule” and the two-out-of -three ownership rule that restricts companies operating in print, radio and TV in any one market.
Federal Labor is opposed to scrapping the two-out-of-three rule but Mr Fifield has rejected calls to separate the measure, saying he wants the package to pass without alteration.
Media bosses say the reforms, which also scrap license fees in favour of lower spectrum usage fees and restrict gambling advertising, are needed to ensure local content can be created in future.
“Media CEOs call on Parliament to preserve Australian content, voices and jobs by supporting the passage of the broadcast and media reform package in its entirety,” the statement said.