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THE NEWS WRAP: Turnbull looks at easing cross-media ownership laws

Monday, 10 March 2014 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has flagged the possibility of easing cross-media ownership restrictions in Australia.


Currently, regulations prevent a television broadcaster reaching more than 75% of the Australian population, with media companies also restricted to owning just two out of three media forms (print, radio or television) in a single market.


“Why, in an age where the internet has become this super, hyper-platform which everyone has access to, which is increasingly providing more and more and more avenues for competition … do we need to have platform-specific ownership rules dealing with newspapers, radio and TV?” Turnbull said.


“My view is the arrival of the internet, and the additional diversity and avenues for competition that it brings, really says we should have less regulation and more freedom.”


ACCC concerned about deals between telcos and internet giants


Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chief Rod Sims has raised concerns about internet companies, such as Facebook and Google, forming deals with telecommunications carriers preferencing their content.


“You can clearly see that when you've got a limited number of ISPs [internet service providers] here … and they start preferencing particular forms of content over other content, then I think any competition regulator would take an interest in that,” Sims says.


“Every time we at the ACCC address an issue it's because someone is making more money, so I understand their motives, but our role is to make sure there is not a substantial lessening of competition.


“But I don't start from a view other than the fact that this is something we have to look at.”


Housing constructions weakens further despite new approvals


Despite a growing number of housing approvals, major builders feel their sector shrank during February, according to a new survey.


The Australian Industry Group–Housing Industry Association's monthly Performance of Construction Index (PCI) found sentiment in the sector fell by 7.4 points to a score of 44.2 last month.


A score under 50 shows the sector is in contraction, while a score over 50 represents growth.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 16452.7. The Aussie dollar is down to US90.43 cents.