Conroy announces convergence review

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Conroy announces convergence review

Considers regulation of media and communications services.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has released draft terms of reference for a "comprehensive review" of Australia's communications and media regulation landscape.

The review will take "a fresh look at Australia's existing regulatory frameworks with a view to modernising them," according to the Minister's statement.

"Our intention is that the review will look at all content delivery platforms including broadcast, mobile and fixed telecommunications and the internet," he said.

To be conducted by three Government-appointed experts with support from a secretariat from the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, the review will formally commence in the first quarter of 2011 and conclude a year later with the delivery of a report to the Government.

Getting its terms of reference right was an important step and Senator Conroy encouraged "all players in the value chain" - from the creation of content to its purchasing, placement, transmission and viewing - to contribute their views.

The convergence review will cover "appropriate regulatory settings and legislative instruments to ensure the adequate reflection of community standards and the views and expectations of Australian citizens and consumers / audiences," but will duck the contentious censorship classification systems, which will be reviewed by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

However the convergence review will incorporate a statutory review of Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, which provides a scheme for dealing with prohibited content on the internet, and address copyright issues.

The Review Committee may make recommendations that impact on copyright law and policy, if implemented.

Public consultation on the terms of reference will continue until 28 January 2011.

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