By Matthew Lees (Arnold Bloch Leibler)1
While the final report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) in its digital platforms inquiry addresses various important issues relating to digital platforms,2 the inquiry is perhaps more revealing for what it tells us about the relationship between competition policy and another industry: news media and journalism.
Born out of a political deal to relax cross-media ownership laws, the inquiry was conducted by the media-savvy ACCC. News media and journalism was the focus of the inquiry’s terms of reference, as well as key recommendations in the final report.
News media and journalism are important not only to politicians and competition and consumer regulators: they play an essential role in a democracy like Australia by keeping citizens informed of public affairs, holding those in power to account and facilitating healthy public debate. They are also important for facilitating informed markets, providing valuable information to consumers.
In recent years, a number of countries around the world have experienced concerns about the quality of news and information (or “fake news”) being publicly disseminated, particularly online, accompanied by concerns about the quality of the political process and fears of rising political extremism.3 These are issues that affect us all and underline the importance of fair and accurate news media and journalism.
In its final report, the...
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