Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy has played down comments made on ABC radio that it wasn’t possible to regulate the internet, saying the comment did not apply to content types other than internet television.
Senator Conroy (pictured) made the remarks on the ABC’s breakfast radio program early yesterday.
By the afternoon, a snippet of the interview was posted on YouTube and his comments turned into posters circulating the internet.
“Internet television is available now on some subscription basis from telecommunications companies, and as the national broadband network rolls out over the next two years this level of competition is going to put massively put pressure on the commercial TV [networks] because of the cost model involved,” Conroy said.
“These competitors – you can’t regulate the internet – in terms of local content – these competitors will be pouring overseas content into Australian TV rooms.
“And if you want to maintain a viable, successful, local production, local Australian stories, we need to look at what’s happening worldwide.”
When contacted by iTnews, Conroy's office said his suggestion that the internet couldn’t be regulated for one content type did not preclude regulation of others.
“The Government cannot impose Australian content quotas on internationally hosted Internet Protocol Television services (IPTV),” a spokesman for the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said.
“However, we can block identified URLs leading to Refused Classification (RC) content coming into Australia at the ISP level.”
The spokesman said it was “important that the comment was heard in the context of the full interview".
“The transcript makes it clear that the minister was discussing Australian content levels and not internet regulation generally,” the spokesman said.