Communications Minister: It’s Time To Scrap “Outdated” Media Rules

Communications Minister: It’s Time To Scrap “Outdated” Media Rules
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Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has called for changes to Australia’s “outdated” film and TV classifications and restrictions.

In an op-ed published in The Age this morning, Fletcher spoke of the current “veritable hodgepodge of arrangements in classification”.

“In developing a contemporary framework, we need to implement a structure that meets the needs of industry and provides information and protections for consumers to choose suitable content for themselves and their children,” Fletcher said.

“With increasing volumes of content to classify, good management of this process is vital.”

His comments came just days after the Morrison Government issued its response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry.

As part of the response, the government will commence working with various stakeholders to create a “harmonised media regulatory framework”.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Screen Australia will prepare an Options Paper considering the role of existing content obligations.

The two agencies will look at issues such as existing content quotas, production funding, revenue and expenditure requirements.

“We want to look at the extent of Australian content obligations on free to air television broadcasters (including drama and children’s content) and carefully consider whether there should be Australian content obligations on SVODs services; and we want to look at other aspects of the policy framework to support Australian film and television content and our local production sector,” Fletcher said.

Following on from the government’s call to remove “redundant” legislation as part of its response, Fletcher again indicated content quotas are on the way out.

“We have a policy framework to encourage Australian screen content that leans heavily on traditional media businesses – but where the fast growing new businesses have little involvement,” he said.

“So it is timely to ask whether there are ways to move to lower regulation across the sector – while taking a more consistent approach in the way we deal with different kinds of businesses serving the same consumers.

“It is also timely to ask whether there are new opportunities for the Australian film and television production sector as a result of the extraordinary global growth of the streaming sector – and how our screen policy framework can best support those opportunities.”

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