A fair, trusted, truthful and diverse media is an essential element of a robust democracy.
Fairness and honesty are much valued in Australia.
Our media organisations are failing on these benchmarks. Among the most concentrated in the democratic world amid falling public trust, they are as good as unregulated and their own worst enemy. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and deepfake technologies add urgency to media reform.
For years, government has failed to manage the media environment, intimidated by powerful players, therefore abrogating its responsibilities to the public and to the protection of democracy. The media is part of the machinery that holds government to account, but our media must be accountable too.
That means more diversity, more accountability and more honesty.
- More media diversity at all levels national, suburban, regional, rural and remote.
- National broadcasters with adequate secure funding to provide well-validated regional, national and international news, and set the standard for all other news media.
- A self-regulation agency to maintain standards and accountability across all media.
- Updated privacy legislation fit for purpose in the 21st century.
- Updated media legislation fit for the digital age.
- Effective protection for whistleblowers and journalists in tandem with the introduction of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
- Establishment of a Whistleblower Protection Commissioner.
- A ban on gambling advertising on our screens, on radio and online.
- Freedom of information legislation that means what it says.
- Initiated parliamentary debate on a judicial Inquiry into media diversity (you can read my piece on media reform here)
- Initiated discussion and engaged with the government to secure ongoing funding for Australian Associated Press (AAP, our only national fact-based media agency).
- Engaged with the government to argue for reversal of the rest of the Coalition-era cuts to the national broadcasters (ABC and SBS).
- Engaged with the government to secure ongoing funding for the Local and Independent News Association and the Public Interest Journalism Initiative.
- Tabled a Private Members Bill to ban gambling advertising on television and radio (you can watch my interview on gambling on ABC Afternoon Briefing here)
- Fairer, more truthful and more diverse media across the nation, including a judicial inquiry into media diversity, if necessary.
- Consideration of truth in media legislation, with an eye to disinformation and misinformation.
- Consideration of social media regulation to protect children.
- An industry-wide, well-funded, appropriately resourced, self-regulation agency to maintain standards and restore public confidence in our media.
- Appropriate resources for our national broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, to ensure they can address the challenges of our rapidly changing media landscape.
- Ensure security of ongoing funding for AAP.
- Enhanced support for small news outlets in suburban, regional, rural and remote Australia.
The community is losing trust in our media. Democracy suffers when the community ceases to trust our media, which is widely acknowledged as fundamental to public confidence in our institutions and our governance.
We must restore trust in the fairness, honesty and accountability of our media.