Free TV uses closure of AAP to call for end to content quotas and advertising restrictions

Free TV Australia says the closure of Australian Associated Press (AAP) is the “canary in the coal mine” for the Australian news ecosystem and urged action to address the “ongoing sustainability of Australian media companies in the face of unprecedented disruption and change”.

CEO Bridget Fair said the situation showed the pressing need to address Australia’s “archaic media regulations” and said updates were needed around content quotas and advertising restrictions.

Fair: Action is needed now

Australia’s free-to-air commercial television networks have increasingly been pushing back on their children’s content quotas, and arguing it’s a burden which isn’t sustainable or profitable in a landscape swamped by international streaming giants, tech platforms unbound by the same restrictions and a weakening ad market.

The news today that AAP would close – putting 180-plus workers out of a job and increasing pressure on journalists in news rooms at the likes of Nine and News Corp – highlights the real and present dangers TV news is also facing, Fair said.

“The risk of Australians losing their trusted, local news services is real and it is here now,” she said.

She also pointed the finger at Facebook and Google for their contribution to the problem.

“This shines a big, bright light on the impact that digital giants Google and Facebook are having on Australia’s media landscape.

“In response to the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry, the Government has required that Google and Facebook negotiate bargaining Codes of Conduct to redress the substantial power imbalance between them and Australia’s media businesses,” she said, adding there is now no time to waste.

She noted that television networks had highly valued the work of AAP and its journalists.


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