Tag: Media diversity

Current state of Australian media is unsustainable: MEAA tells Senate inquiry

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Paul Murphy, MEAA (center) speaking at the Senate inquiry into media diversity. Photo- Senate inquiry

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 12 March 2021: MEAA’s Green Murphy today told the Senate media diversity inquiry that the current state of Australia’s media is unsustainable with too much power vested in too few voices. New ways to support old and new media must be found to preserve democracy, he said.

In his opening statement, Green Murphy detailed the main issues which made the inquiry important as :

– media reforms over the past five years have worsened the state of media diversity

– journalism jobs have continued to be lost in great numbers despite a growing appetite for Australian news content

– coverage of critical areas of civic and commercial affairs continues to fall

– the effectiveness of the News Bargaining Code is unknown, and

– notwithstanding the success of otherwise of the Bargaining Code, there are no evident support measures for small to
medium or new media providers.

He said, ” MEAA surveyed journalists across Australia about the state of media ownership and concentration in Australia in preparing its submission for this inquiry. Approximately 350 responses were received.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents rated concerns about Australian media concentration highest of all the issues canvassed, followed by funding for public broadcasting (20%), the state of local, regional, and rural media, and public trust in responsible journalism (both 13%).

More than 92% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that Australia’s media ownership is too highly concentrated; 94% agreed or strongly also agreed that this was bad for democracy.

Support for increased funding for the ABC and SBS was at almost 90%.

There was strong support (80%) for government action to financially support small, independent, community, and regional media outlets which may not have been the case even five years ago.

This demonstrates a growing recognition of the need for Government action in a situation where the market is clearly failing to deliver in the public interest.”

In conclusion, the MEAA emphasized that “The current state of Australia’s media is unsustainable. There are too few voices and too much power is vested in these voices.

New and credible ways of supporting the old media and the new media must be found in order to preserve the health and transparency of Australia’s democracy.

The concentration of ownership, market failures, and the grinding down of public broadcasters have combined to put our media sector in an extremely perilous place at a time when quality, reliable content is needed more than ever.”

Read MEAA submission to the Senate inquiry into media diversity in Australia.

Australia must heed call for greater media diversity: Media Entertainment Arts Alliance submission to Senate enquiry

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 12 March 2021: Media diversity is the need of the hour is accepted the world over. Australia is no exception. This will be the call of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) today when it will tell the Senate inquiry that greater diversity is needed in Australian media to allow for a wider variety of voices to be heard to better serve the community.

“Australia has one of the most concentrated media sectors in the world, denying consumers a real choice for quality news, limiting job opportunities for journalists, reducing competition for advertisers, and giving inordinate power to a few entities to influence policy, ” says an MEAA media release posted on Twitter today.

In its submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications inquiry into media diversity in Australia, MEAA has called for:

• Changes to competition and other laws to prevent mergers that lead to more harmful levels of media concentration.
• The federal government extending the operation of the Public Interest News Gathering program to make it an ongoing annual program.
• Public Broadcasters to be funded in a way that acknowledges the need to provide comprehensive, high-quality cross-platform media content in all parts of Australia.
• AAP’s future should be sustained through regular, annual relief grants.
• Consideration of critical measures recommended in the United Kingdom and Canada such as governments directly funding local news and part-funding editorial positions.
• Taxation incentives for media organisations to support existing small and medium entities, and encourage new players.
• Offering consumers the ability to claim media subscriptions on their taxes.
• Government assistance to be reset to ensure funding is available for new media organisations, as well as traditional media companies.
• Regulation of media content should be strengthened and overseen by a single entity.

“There is a clear link between the lack of diversity of media ownership and falling trust in media,” said MEAA Media Federal President Marcus Strom, who will appear at the hearing alongside Federal Vice-President Karen Percy and Chief Executive Paul Murphy.

“The solution must be to encourage and assist new entrants and smaller players so there is a wide range of voices in Australia’s media landscape.

“We urge all levels of government to take heed of the alarm bells that are ringing loudly right now and take steps to address the crisis in the media sector. After all, a strong media sector means a strong democracy which serves all Australians.”

MEAA will appear before the inquiry at 11.40 am. today and the full submission will be available

MEAA’s full submission is available here.