‘Broken concepts’ – regulation from pre-internet times | ACMA

‘Broken concepts’ – regulation from pre-internet times

ACMA media release 85/2011 – 29 August 

Convergence has broken or is straining many of the constructs and concepts that form the building blocks of current communications and media regulation, according to analysis released today by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The new paper Broken Concepts: The Australian communications legislative landscape highlights the ever-increasing strain on old concepts struggling with new technology.

'The constructs for communications and media that worked 20 years ago no longer fit present day circumstances, let alone the next 20 years,' said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

Of the 55 legislative concepts analysed in the paper, the majority are either 'broken' or under significant pressure from the effects of convergence. These 'broken concepts' are symptoms of the deeper change of digitalisation breaking those now outdated propositions, including that content can be controlled by how it is delivered.

'As Australia's converged regulator for broadcasting, telecommunications, radiocommunications and online content, the ACMA deals on a daily basis with the rapidly changing communications and media environment,' Mr Chapman said. 'Its current responsibilities cover 26 Acts and more than five hundred pieces of subordinate legislation. And yet the majority of the legislation the ACMA administers was made before the internet was even in use in Australia.'

The ACMA also today published an occasional paper, Converged legislative frameworks: International approaches. It examines the approaches to date of a number of overseas jurisdictions in the move to a converged legislative framework for media and communications.

The paper concludes that to date there is no single approach to dealing with these issues, with converged legislation demanding an evolutionary approach to regulating for communications and media.

Both papers have been provided to the Government's Convergence Review to help inform their consideration of the design of future regulatory frameworks.

An interactive presentation of the changing digital landscape is available on the ACMA's Engage website.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

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The ACMA is Australia's regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA's strategic intent is to make communications and media work in Australia's public interest. For more information: www.acma.gov.au.

Last updated: 20 May 2016