So today, Stephen Conroy, Minister for the Digital Economy and other Buzz words, announced an independent inquiry with the following terms:
a) The effectiveness of the current media codes of practice in Australia, particularly in light of technological change that is leading to the migration of print media to digital and online platforms;
b) The impact of this technological change on the business model that has supported the investment by traditional media organisations in quality journalism and the production of news, and how such activities can be supported, and diversity enhanced, in the changed media environment;
c) Ways of substantially strengthening the independence and effectiveness of the Australian Press Council, including in relation to on-line publications, and with particular reference to the handling of complaints;
d) Any related issues pertaining to the ability of the media to operate according to regulations and codes of practice, and in the public interest.
Now, the interesting thing here isn't the focus on News Papers over broadcast media. To be a completely cynical bastard, the government isn't having the same problems with broadcast media that is with the print media. No the surprise here is the inclusion of "Online Publications" without any sort of definition of what actually constitutes an Online Publication for the purposes of the inquiry. It's this lack of definition that gives me the confusions.
I mean merely posting this post onto my blog could be considered publishing online. Posting to twitter is could also be considered publishing, facebook the same. Then we get into the whole world of podcasts, vlogs, comments on blog posts, forums and anything else that might have someone put up content. Are they all going to be considered online publications and therefor under the aegis of the Press Council?
Unless this is sorted out I can't see the inquiry doing anything to help Australias online media scene, in fact if it's not handled properly it could screw it up royally.