16 May 2012 Convergence Review: Update


On 30 April 2012, the Federal Government's report on its Convergence Review was released.  The report aims to develop technologically neutral legislation and policy to meet trends and rapid changes in technology in the communications and broadcasting sectors such as social media, and television and radio services delivered over the internet.

The Report recommends principle-based regulation that provides high-level guidance to businesses and individuals on compliance, but is flexible enough to change with technological advancements.

In particular, three distinct areas of change are recommended:

  1. Short term changes, including amendments to polices, programs and legislation, such as a 'public interest' test that will apply to changes in control of content service enterprises and media operators that have significant influence in particular local markets. The public interest test aims to maintain diversity at a national level and is intended to complement rather than duplicate the current powers of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to mergers and acquisitions.
  2. New content services legislation to replace the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) as well as key areas of the Telecommunications Act and to provide a new classification system that regulates content across different media and reflects community standards.
  3. Reform of communications legislation to provide for a technology-neutral framework that would apply to communications infrastructure, platforms, devices and services offered to the Australia public.

The Report proposes that a new communications regulator be established to implement the first stage of the recommendations.  It is not yet known when this will take place.

We will keep you updated with the progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the Convergence Review.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Swaab Attorneys.

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This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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