Improving news media oversight: Why Australia needs a cross-platform standards scheme | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0810-2686
  • E-ISSN: 2517-620X

Abstract

Australia currently has fourteen standards schemes that oversee journalists and news media, making for both duplication and inconsistency. The result is a torn and frayed patchwork leaving broadcasting heavily regulated but some areas of online content without any applicable standards or clear avenues for consumer complaint. In this article, we describe Australia’s confusion of news media standards schemes amid the global challenges to media oversight in a digital age, including from the algorithmically driven delivery of news via social media and other digital services. We argue that internationally the ongoing disruption of news media is being accompanied by a parallel disruption of news media standards schemes. This creates significant uncertainty, particularly since citizens and journalists have contrasting expectations about news media oversight. However, this uncertainty also presents an opportunity for reform. We then draw on international scholarship and regulatory developments to make four high-level arguments. First, Australia should implement a coherent cross-platform standards scheme to cover news content on TV, on radio, in print and online. Second, digital services and platforms ought to be brought under this scheme in their role as distributors and amplifiers of news, but not as ‘publishers’. Third, this scheme ought to have oversight of algorithms. And fourth, citizens ought to be afforded a greater role in the operation of this scheme, which has significant potential to serve the public interest by improving public discourse.

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2022-06-01
2024-04-15
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