The final report of the federal government's media convergence review was released today to a overwhelmingly negative response from the industry.
The report is baed on the findings of the Finkelstein inquiry into media standards, launched last year. As expected, the report recommends that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) be replaced with a new regulator. The report suggests that ACMA is not independent enough.
However the news has been met with hostility from the industry, which has largely dismissed the findings and dubbed the report unnecessary.
News Limited's chief executive officer Kim Williams said in a statement that the review is a threat to press freedom. "News Limited opposes the recommended so called 'public interest' test in relation to media ownership" read the statement, describing the move as "exceedingly vague and imprecise".
This sentiment was echoed by print media body The Newspaper Works, which said that the proposed regulator's "far-reaching powers would undermine the concept of self regulation".
Foxtel’s chief executive officer Richard Freudenstein commented that the review was out of touch with the industry. "(It) recommends needless new regulation that will stifle competition and innovation and does not recognise market reality" said Freudenstein in a statement on Monday. “The recommended new regulator would also have “flexible” powers in relation to content competition issues. This is unnecessary as the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) is already well equipped to handle this."
Similarly, Channel Ten's chief executive James Warburton criticised the report for prescribing more regulations on what he called "the most over-regulated part of the media industry”.
In its statement, ACMA described itself as "an independent player with deep experience of the current shape of the industry", while not explicitly criticising the report.