Huge, unjustifiable rebates paid by government to the companies that broadcast the news; decision praised by media

As Crikey says, it’s just an ugly bribe:

The PM, who has never met a media outlet he disliked (that includes The Australian, which made him Man of The Year), listens attentively and agrees with his former boss saying “Yes, commercial TV is doing it tough remaining on air and keeping to their licence restrictions to provide 55% Australian content between 6am and midnight. So here’s a rebate of all those nasty licence fees we are charging you.”

The three commercial networks, Seven, Nine and Ten, went weak at the knees in congratulating the Government for its decision yesterday.

Yet another reason to put the major parties further down your ballot.

ELSEWHERE: In the wake of the iiNet decision, the companies are considering whether to appeal, or to lobby for further “copyright reform“.

Funny word, reform, isn’t it? I couldn’t agree more that our present copyright regime urgently needs reforming, but in a completely different direction to what the corporate lobbyists have in mind.

UPDATE (9/2): Continuing with the story today, Bernard Keane notes that it’s not just the most obvious beneficiaries who are keeping quiet – it’s anyone who might have something they’d like the Minister to approve this year. There was a story in The Age yesterday, but that’s been about it.

And of course, the Opposition is keeping their heads down too. The two major parties know which side their bread is buttered.

UPDATE TO THE ELSEWHERE (9/2): And the following letter appeared in today’s Crikey pointing out just who Conroy is ignoring:

Ian Farquhar writes: Re. “Conroy tells movie industry, ISPs to kiss and make up” (yesterday, item 18). In Stilgherrian’s item yesterday, he quoted Senator Stephen Conroy, who said: “What I would still hope is that we can bring them together to sit down and settle their differences, create a code of practice that actually protects both parties.”

Did anyone notice a missing party? Shouldn’t Conroy’s first and overriding priority being the protection of Australian citizens over the corporate interests from the ISPs or the copyright industry?

Let’s face it, Conroy bangs on endlessly about protecting people. Clearly he’s only interested in protecting them from p-rn, but is quite happy to encourage cartel behaviour between the telecommunication industry and copyright monopolists which, based on historical precedent, always end up abusing citizens.

Again, I’m back to wondering if that department routinely lobotomises any minister who enters the place.


UPDATE (10/2): Finally The Australian on the story, with a scathing editorial and a feature.

4 responses to “Huge, unjustifiable rebates paid by government to the companies that broadcast the news; decision praised by media

  1. This is sickening stuff. It is bad enough that the ABC acts like ALP media central, paid for by taxpayer dollars. Now the commercial TV stations are being bought off with public funds.

    This is not simply a decision that license fees are too high and are to be lowered. Instead of lowering the fees a rebate mechanism has been used. If at the end of two years the TV stations are not performing to the government’s expectations, and no further rebates are announced the license fees will revert to normal. A cynic might think that this is designed to produce obsequious behaviour on the part of the recipients of this largess.

    Treating us like complete morons, Conroy has announced this as a measure to promote Australian content, but has not required any additional requirements regarding the production or broadcasting of Australian content. Funny that.

  2. Howard, of course, had a particularly good relationship with the Packers and the other corporate media – they know that they’re in with a shot with the Liberals, too. Plenty of motivation to go hard against the parties that would be less likely to give them what they want, like the Greens.

  3. It is bad enough that the ABC acts like ALP media central, paid for by taxpayer dollars.

    Honestly SB, you sound like you’ve been drinking the rightard kool aid! The ABC mostly just parrotts the news ltd line these days. Guess those Howard board appointments, not to mention the endless inquiries into bias at the ABC which found nothing, have eventually cowed the broadcaster into me-tooing the commercial outlets.

    How do the license fees work in relation to the rural TV networks? I must admit I don’t know anything about this.

  4. OK I’ve read Peter Martin and now have a vague idea of what’s happening. Another FAIL for Conroy who seems more interested in pandering to special interest groups, including the religious fundies, than ensuring good governance and probity wrt taxpayer funds.

    Channel Nine last night wrongly reported the deal as saying it would “guarantee the continued production of series such as Underbelly”. In fact it imposes no additional requirements on the networks.

    Well that’s just dandy! Funding that imposes no requirement to at least occaisionally interrupt the barrage of American shit with locally produced shows, ie potential jobs for Australian actors. There is still a question mark in my view about news content for people in rural and remote areas. I’m more inclined to accept federal rebates for the regional networks on that basis.

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