The Newspaper Works CEO, Tony Hale has flagged his concerns with the scope of proposed media law changes and the speed with which they are being pushed through parliament.
The long-awaited changes announced by Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy yesterday, are wide-ranging but fall short of some of the more radical suggestions in the Finkelstein review. However Hale has expressed his frustration that the raft of changes are being rushed through parliament are not the result of industry consultation.
In a statement released today he said:
“The Newspaper Works is concerned that the government is about to announce wide ranging media law changes including possibly a media standards body, potential loss of journalist shield law protections and privacy exemptions, a new tort of privacy and changes to media ownership laws.
“We are frustrated and disappointed at the Government’s lack of consultation with publishers, and the speed at which the Minister is rushing these changes through the Parliament given the magnitude of the proposed reforms.
“We are united in our passionate belief in the importance of a free and open media in any effectively functioning, transparent society and we will defend those principles vigorously.
“We are also united in opposing new regulation and legislative changes that affect our ability to report and investigate, as well as invest and compete in a digital and multi-platform media economy.
“New regulations that inhibit the media will severely undermine our sector’s ability to uncover and report on matters about which the public has a right to know.”