Considering the Potential impact of the Australian News Media Council


The report from the inquiry into the Australian Media landed yesterday. A summary by Alan Knight told me:

  • Of the existing self-regulation measures, only one or two newspapers have appointed an ombudsman or readers’ representative.
  • Online news publications are not covered.
  • The Australian Press Council has neither the necessary powers nor the required funds to carry out its designated functions.
  • Publishers can withdraw from the Australian Press Council when they wish and alter their funding as they see fit.
  • Australian Communications and Media Authority’s processes are cumbersome and slow.
  • If legal proceedings against the media are called for, they are protracted, expensive and adversarial, and offer redress only for legal wrongs, not for the more frequent complaints about inaccuracy or unfairness.

One of the proposals in the reports was that online news media sites as well as more traditional publishers would be covered by a News Media Council. But that a minimum of 15,000 “hits” per annum would be used to decide if a site was worthy of the interest of the News Media Council.

This blog sometimes touches on Australian news, politics and the media, and may at some time have more than 15,000 hits per annum. But most of my commentary here isn’t about those topics.

Because I’ve hardly the time to read the report, perhaps someone can answer these questions for me;

  • will such a regulated environment dissect the content of posts before allocating the 15,000 limit?
  • would it include “hits” from crawlers or robots?
  • does it exclude the loading of images?
  • what it, as with this site, it is hosted outside of Australia?

Assuming the Government accepts and implements even one recommendation from the report, these and more questions need to be answered so I and others like me can more clearly understand any changes to the environment we operate in.

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