Senator Coonan yesterday warned against “over-regulating regional [media] markets”, as this could “shut out regional media companies from the benefits of reform, which will damage their businesses and, ultimately, the services they deliver to their audiences”.

Her comments follow calls from Queensland Nationals, including MP Paul Neville and Senator Barnaby Joyce, to limit companies to owning two of the three traditional media platforms - television, radio or print - in regional areas. “The concept of quarantining some forms of media within a licence area while other forms of media are ubiquitous will become increasingly difficult to justify,” Senator Coonan said.