Recent commentary on the role of news media in the US election has refocused attention on the purpose of a pluralistic news media in democratic societies. But well before this, there were fundamental changes to the nature of news and questions of who funds it, who makes it and who uses it.
Journalism scholars have considered the effects on the profession (Zion et al, 2016), the erosion of confidence in news providers as users drift to the ‘distributed platforms’ of Facebook and other social media (Bell, 2016), and shifting expectations on journalism’s role in promoting government accountability (Stephens, 2014).
This project investigates the concept of media pluralism underpinning Australia’s media ownership laws. Current media policy is based on 20th Century industry structures, with attempts at reform marked by a lack of vision and commercial self-interest. In the absence of reliable evidence, ‘reform’ is understood largely in terms of deregulation.
This project addresses these challenges by rethinking media pluralism. It considers recent European and UK work on the rationale for regulatory intervention in an online environment (Valcke et al, 2016) and current ‘best practice’ regulation in those jurisdictions. It then turns from Europe to chart the state of news media in Australia and to look at new and emerging practices here and in the innovative markets of Asia. It concludes by using these insights to develop new understandings of how the objectives of media pluralism policies can be achieved.