Media reforms updates 03 Oct

The biggest industry story in 2006 will continue to be the media reforms. We will provide links to the developing stories surrounding the proposed reforms.

The Age reports:Communications Minister Helen Coonan has again indicated she is open to compromise with The Nationals over changes to media ownership laws. Senator Coonan said she would consider any “worthwhile” amendments to a recently-introduced government bill which would abolish restrictions on companies owning more than one form of media in individual cities. FULL ITEM

The SMH reports:THE Federal Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, does not think strict ownership rules for media companies in regional areas will add anything to the Government’s media reform package. FULL ITEM

The Australian reports: LOCAL news content on country radio stations could be greatly improved if newspaper proprietors owned both media in the same regional market.As Nationals MPs highlight the parlous state of local radio news ahead of a vote on the Government’s media reform bill, APN News and Media chief Brendan Hopkins said Australia could learn from the New Zealand example, where radio news benefited from the company’s ownership of local newspapers. FULL ITEM

The Age reports: Analysts agree investors have generally watched and waited amid uncertainty over whether the media bills, which will abolish cross-ownership and foreign ownership restrictions and roll out digital technology, will be passed without major change. But they say share price premiums built into media stocks perceived as acquisition targets could quickly evaporate if the package was derailed. FULL ITEM

The Australin reports: Some companies, such as FM radio network Austereo, have embraced the proposed rewrite of rules, which would significantly loosen media ownership laws, while others say the new regulations remain a heavy hand on a dynamic sector.  FULL ITEM

The Australian reports:MARK Vaile has predicted that fine-tuning of media ownership laws will be required to quell the concerns of Nationals MPs over their impact in regional areas. FULL ITEM

The Australian reports:Ron Camplin well remembers the days when a host of bureaucrats traipsed to the NSW city of Bathurst to check that he was an appropriate owner of the local wireless station. Now, Mr Camplin, 74, believes a similar circus is about to erupt with the federal Government’s push to legislate minimum local-content rules for regional radio stations as part of the removal of cross-media ownership restrictions. FULL ITEM

The Canberra Times reports:  Two media outlets could disappear from the Canberra market or be taken over by other players under the Government’s planned changes - but there are no immediate moves to do so. Under the media-ownership laws introduced to Parliament this week by Communications Minister Helen Coonan, Canberra, as a regional market, is guaranteed four media “voices” or independent media groups. Metropolitan markets are guaranteed five. FULL ITEM

The Age reports:APPARENTLY we need media diversity in regional cities but not capital cities.This is not because capital city dwellers are less interested in democracy than country people are, but because regional areas contain wheels labelled “Nationals” that are squeaking and need to be oiled, whereas capital city politicians are already lubricated by Mogul Oil FULL ITEM

The Courier Mail reports: Long-awaited media reforms could be dumped if the Nationals continue to oppose the package.Some Liberals fear Prime Minister John Howard will simply walk away if the junior Coalition partner makes too much fuss. Mr Howard has previously said he does not want to waste political capital on the reforms, which were introduced to Parliament on Thursday. FULL ITEM

The Australian reports:Mount Gambier is one regional centre that should fear the Howard Government’s proposed new media ownership laws, say civic leaders.”The Mount” - in South Australia near the border with Victoria - counts its media as one newspaper, regional television station WIN TV, commercial radio station 5SE and ABC radio and television. FULL ITEM

The Australian reports:Measures to preserve media diversity proposed by the Nationals would mean nothing in most regional areas, particularly the smallest and most vulnerable. Nationals from Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile down believe extra restrictions should be imposed to stop one proprietor buying more than two out of the three main media - television, radio and newspapers - in any one town. FULL ITEM