Small bloggers and publishers avoid ‘News Media Council’ body

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Image: chispita_666/Flickr

Small bloggers and publishers have avoided being regulated in the Convergence Review, despite another inquiry wanting those to be part of a ‘News Media Council’ body that would regulate news content’s accuracy.

The ‘News Media Council’ body was supported by the Convergence Review. However, instead of being government-funded but independent of it – as called by the Finkelstein Report – it should be majority or fully funded by its members. In addition, the requirements (again called by the Finkelstein Report) of 15,000 hits per year for bloggers and more than 3000 copies for small publishers have been dismissed.

“The Review considers that this threshold would be far too low and would require a very resource-intensive complaints and enforcement system,” the Convergence Review noted.

The Convergence Review wants large news and commentary providers to be part of this new body – so publishers like Crikey could find themselves under the body, but The Kangaroo Court probably won’t (unless it’s audience is similar to Crikey in reach). However, also noted is that:

Major media organisations should be required to participate in any scheme regardless of platform and not be able to ‘opt out’.

That clause will make sure large media groups such as News Corporation, Fairfax Media, PBL Media, and Seven West Media are not allowed to leave the self-regulation body. This point is particularly important as Seven West Media left the Australian Press Council before the report was made public. In effect, the new body would force them to rejoin.

The report also said that the body is expected to have powers to sanction its members, and to “prominently and appropriately” publish its findings on relevant media platforms – i.e. print, television, online and radio. It should also have powers to refer it to the communications regulatory body if a member repeatedly breach rules, or refused to comply with its ruling.

You can read the full report below.

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