Framing paper

In April 2011, the Review Committee released a Framing Paper on the Convergence Review. The Framing Paper indicates the principles which the Committee believes should guide the Review. It includes a number of ‘proposed principles of media and communications regulation’. 

On 6 July 2011, the Emerging Issues Paper was released, listing the final framing principles and changes to the proposed principles and reasons for the changes:

Principle 1 [NEW]

Citizens and organisations should be able to communicate freely, and where regulation is required, it should be the minimum needed to achieve a clear public purpose.

The addition of this principle arises from requests in submissions to overtly state the ‘freedom to communicate’ concept outlined in the foreword of the framing paper, as well as calls to establish the related principle of applying only the minimum regulation or other intervention necessary to achieve a clear public purpose.

Principle 2

Australians should have access to and opportunities for participation in a diverse mix of services, voices, views and information.

[Original principle: Australians should have access to a diversity of voices, views and information.]

The difference between ‘theoretical access to services’ and ‘ready access to services’, and the growing importance of user-generated content and social media, were themes in the submissions. The changes to this principle highlight the importance for Australians not only to have access to content but also to have the ability to take part in the two-way interaction that new technology allows.

Principle 3

The communications and media market should be innovative and competitive, while balancing outcomes in the interest of the Australian public.

[Original principle: The communications and media market should be innovative and competitive, while still ensuring outcomes in the interest of the Australian public.]

Submissions noted that the original wording of this principle could imply that innovation and competition were opposed to the interests of the Australian public. This was not the intention, so the principle was clarified.

Principle 4

Australians should have access to Australian content that reflects and contributes to the development of national and cultural identity.

This principle was not changed.

Principle 5 [NEW]

Local and Australian content should be sourced from a dynamic domestic content production industry.

A number of submissions noted that it is insufficient to say Australians should have access to Australian content. It is also important to recognise that a dynamic and capable industry should be able to generate that content. The committee felt this was an important distinction and decided to create a new principle incorporating this idea.

Principle 6

Australians should have access to news and information of relevance to their local communities, including locally-generated content.

 [Original principle: Australians should have access to news and information of relevance to their local communities.]

This change recognises the importance of the involvement of local communities in developing news and information and having opportunities to see local events and issues reflected in the media. It reinforces the idea that local news and information should have relevance and meaning for the community.

Principle 7

Communications and media services available to Australians should reflect community standards and the views and expectations of the Australian public.

This principle was not changed.

Principle 8

Australians should have access to the broadest possible range of content across platforms, services and devices.

[Original principle: Australians should have access to the broadest range of content across platforms and services as possible.]

This addition recognises the growing importance of mobile devices as points of control for content and applications.

Principle 9

Service providers should provide the maximum transparency for consumers regarding their services and how they are delivered.

[Original principle: Service providers should provide the maximum transparency for consumers in how their services are delivered.]

The committee changed this principle in response to concerns that it only offered transparency for one aspect of a service. The revision expands the principle from focusing only on the relationship between the customer and the services provider to addressing other parts of the value chain.

Principle 10

The government should seek to maximise the overall public benefit derived from the use of spectrum assigned for the delivery of media content and communications services.

This principle was not changed.

Read the submissions received on the Convergence Review Framing Paper.


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