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THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC INTEREST JOURNALISM IS CRITICAL TO TASMANIA - Media Release, Saturday 13 May 2017


I am delighted to have been appointed to the Senate’s Select Committee inquiring into the future of public interest journalism.

This is an issue critical to the ongoing health of Australian civic society, because quality public journalism speaks truth to power and holds vested interests accountable.

I have supported a strong fourth estate throughout my political career and I believe there is a role for policy makers to support the freedom of the press.

Because recent events in Australia and across the globe have highlighted the extensive challenges facing Australian journalism, the Select Committee will be investigating a wide range of issues including; corporate structures, taxation, competition policy and 'fake news'.

Viable regional news outlets are particularly important for Tasmania, so I will be focused on protections for our regional and community broadcasters from Turnbull government ideology that even greater media concentration – by abolishing the “two out of three” rule ­– is in the public interest.

Making sure Tasmanian voices are heard through our local media is critical. That is why the recent announcement of job cuts at Fairfax is a cause for concern for journalism in Tasmania.

The committee has been charged with investigating:

(a) the current state of public interest journalism in Australia and around the world, including the role of government in ensuring a viable, independent and diverse service;

(b) the adequacy of current competition and consumer laws to deal with the market power and practices of search engines, social media aggregators and content aggregators, and their impact on the Australian media landscape;

(c) the impact on public interest journalism of search engines and social media internet service providers circulating fake news, and an examination of counter measures directed at online advertisers, ‘click-bait’ generators and other parties who benefit from disinformation;

(d) the future of public and community broadcasters in delivering public interest journalism, particularly in underserviced markets like regional Australia, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities;

(e) examination of ‘fake news’, propaganda, and public disinformation, including sources and motivation of fake news in Australia, overseas, and the international response; and

(f) any related matters.

Submissions are due by Thursday 15 June 2017, however, late submissions will also be considered. Submissions can uploaded via the committee website below or emailed to the committee via the following email address: publicinterestjournalism.sen@aph.gov.au.

SATURDAY, 13 MAY 2017

MEDIA CONTACT:  TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS 0429 820 344