The Federal Government dropped the ball in its response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry and must implement urgent reforms if Australian media is to play on after the COVID-19 crisis, the Greens say.
Greens Spokesperson for Media Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said media reform was long overdue before the Coronavirus crisis which has now pushed regional and community media outlets to the brink, with some already shutting their doors.
“Big tech have gotten away with ripping off small players and individual journalists for too long. Now is the time to regulate them better and for sake of public interest journalism. They should pay for the content they use," Senator Hanson-Young said.
“The Federal Government acknowledged there was an issue but hung it’s hat on the ACCC review which took 18 months to complete. Yet once it was, they didn’t respond for almost half a year and then when they finally did, the response was lacklustre to say the least.
“Of the 23 recommendations from the ACCC, the Government only supported six in full and kicked the can down the road with plans for more reviews.
“It’s simply not good enough and I call on Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher to take another look and then get busy actioning what’s needed to save Australian media, Australian voices and Australian stories.
“Regional and community outlets are closing their doors and stopping print runs right now as they feel the extra pinch of lost advertising revenue because of COVID-19. The Government cannot allow these outlets to fold especially when good, local, accurate information is more important than ever.
“The Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package should immediately be used to support struggling regional media outlets, the tech giants must be regulated to level the playing field and funding cuts to the ABC must be reversed.
“Without action from the Government, we may just find that after this crisis is over, we have lost a key pillar of our democracy and we will all be worse off for it.”