Long-awaited change to Australian media ownership laws finally look set to happen with the federal government looking likely to yield to media organisations who want to buy into a bigger slice of the local pie.
The Australian is this morning reporting that communications minister Mitch Fifield is giving serious consideration to allowing the free-to-air players to buy into regional stations.
Fifield also wants to scrap the hated “two out of three rule” that limits TV, print and radio organisations buying into one another.
It is reported that both Malcolm Turnbull – a long time supporter of a media law shake-up – and regional Coalition MPs support the move; however, it’s believed that Labor and the Greens do not.
One argument has been that the laws are from 30 years ago and, in the age of the internet, are now out of date.
It is believed that the government will need the support of crossbenchers in the senate to get the reforms through and it is unlikely that anything would be done before the next election due some time in 2016.
Speaking on Sky News, Fifield said: “I’ve got to be pragmatic. I’d like there to be significant reform but ultimately it will be the parliament in the form of the Senate that will determine what … is able to be done.
“There is a lot of support for change, there is growing momentum, and I’m not someone who wants to let the grass grow on this issue,” he said.