April 12, 2012
Foxtel has just got bigger with the ACCC's approval of its takeover of Austar. That means a concentration of the pay TV industry in Australia. Murdoch, in alliance with Telstra, wins again at a time when journalism is on trial, and there is a questioning of corporate power and demands for greater media accountability.
Of course, the neo-liberals will attack the regulatory regime for its heavy handed rules and the regulatory constraint around sporting content that has been imposed by the ACCC to ensure a competitive market place. The neo-liberals do not want an effective media regulatory with teeth.
In the background the digital revolution is facilitating the merging of broadcasting, telecommunications and broadband/internet and the emergence of IPTV as the national broadband network is increasingly rolled out.
The latter offers an alternative to the legacy institutions of Murdoch-style tabloidism, heavy handed partisan commentary and intrusive journalism. It offers us consumers the promise of the media diversity that many yearn for. The digital revolution that is under way will not preserve the power of unnecessary old media institutions; and so some of these sense the threat the internet poses and try to control it under the guises of piracy and minimal government.
We currently have a wold in world in which media conglomerates act as if they had unrestricted rights of free expression and can exercise enormous power to shape and influence, improve and damage others' lives. The issue is not one of regulating media content but regulating the media process to ensure transparency for audiences/consumers as well as accountability of the powerful.
The principle is one of making corporate media power accountable to the public interest.