Nine million people live in regional and rural Australia. Our voices matter and our local TV news and radio should be protected.
But our media laws are stuck in the last century, and it’s affecting the amount of local news and content regional Australians see and hear on their TV and radio every day. Unless we act now, these services will continue to decline.
The fix is simple. If the Federal Government updates two rules in the Broadcasting Services Act of 1992, it will allow regional broadcasters to get a fair go, and to compete fairly with Australian and foreign owned media giants.
Take the pledge to support local content, and let politicians know that regional voices matter, and the rules must change.
What are the rules that need changing?
There are two rules in the Broadcasting Services Act that have become outdated in the 23 years since the Act was originally passed in 1992.
The ‘reach rule’ and the ‘two out of three’ rule restrict the number of Australians any one TV channel can reach and the types of media (e.g. radio, TV and print) any one media company can own.
These rules were designed to protect local media in a world without the internet, smartphones, tablets or streaming. They don’t take into account the vast number of ways Australians now access news and information.
Today, these outdated rules prevent your local, independent regional broadcasters, newspapers and radio stations from competing on a level playing field with all the other media outlets that are now available Australia-wide.
Unfortunately, local content is becoming the casualty of rising costs. Your local media companies can’t compete with the media giants because the old rules prevent local media from expanding, from merging or from achieving the economics of scale they need to continue to provide great local content.