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media diversity? « Previous | |Next »
June 22, 2005

Alan Mitchell has an op. ed. in the Australian Financial Review on media ownership laws. Suprisingly, there is much in it that I agree with. Mitchell, who is the economics editor of the AFR, says:

The history of media regulation is a litany of anti-competitive deals between media and politicians. For example, the Hawke and Keating governments delayed (and then heavily regulated) the introduction of pay-TV in order to protect the profits of the free-to-air telecasters. As a result Australia was one of the last industrialised countries to get pay-TV.

The Howard Government is no different:
The Howard government has managed the introduction of digital technology for precisely the same reason. For the free-to air television oligopoly, the most threatening feature of digital TV technology is its economical use of the spectrum: it allows more TV station and, therefore, more competition....But like Hawke and Keating before him, Howard has twisted and turned his policy every way to preserve the profits of the incumbent television stations.

So Australian governments are protecting the profits of their friends not the public interest.They are managing the development of the media in a way that favours a few established media producers.

The policy response? More competition, more media diversity and more consumer choice, says Mitchell. I agree with him. The market should be given a far greater role in this area.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:05 PM | | Comments (0)