Don't write off media laws: Conroy

AAP, with a staff reporter

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has dismissed complaints there has been inadequate time to consider the government's media reforms, saying it is too early to write off the support of key independents.

Senator Conroy is pressing parliament to pass the package by the end of next week - a result that now looks unlikely, with Craig Thomson and Rob Oakeshott expressing opposition to the changes, and other crossbenchers also raising doubts.

But the minister said it was "too early to make pronouncements about whether or not people are voting for the bill".

The government was listening to the issues raised by the minor parties and independents.

"The vote is next week, and there will obviously be a lot of discussions going on between now and then," Senator Conroy told ABC Radio.

A key concern of crossbenchers has been Senator Conroy's 'take it or leave it' rush to get the laws through.

But he rejected claims there had been insufficient time to review the proposed changes, saying there had been two major reviews of the media in recent years.

"We've had a public inquiry in the Finkelstein inquiry, we've had the Convergence Review that travelled around the country, took submissions, hundreds of submissions, hours of public consultation," he said.

"They produced their reports, they've been heavily debated.

"So for people to suggest that there hasn't been an effective debate around the country, they are just ignoring the facts."

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Yes there have been reviews of media. Yet, one issue is that the legislation - the exact wording - was to only be available a short period - insufficient for review. I heard Conroy say our media is more concentrated than in other countries as a reason for this review. Perhaps he is comparing Australia to the US with 15 times the population, another 140 years of European influenced development, with population not as concentrated into a few cities as in Australia. So one may expect more media concentration in Australia than other countries. Here is the rub: Conroy wants less concentration of media in a period where newspapers are under stress globally (and disappearing), where such concentration would aid in productivity and the survival of the news entities. So maybe a consequence of the laws would be to further reduce the number of newspapers in a city so then how does that help the diversity aims? Then there are the Business Spectators and Mummy Bloggers springing up around the place. Why doesn't the laws impact on the ABC which tends to be very supportive of the government? There is not much diversity there. Perhaps a better way forward is to remove the government funding of the ABC to help insure independence and diversity of media. Which countries support major media in their cities? Certainly not in the US.
Conroy just does not get how the relation between how the media and the general population works. If you as a reader read something - you have the right to disagree with it. That is how it should work - not the establishment of a panel - which can instill fear to print stories for fear of retribution - resulting in stories not getting printed. This is the big epic fail of the policy - they claim it won't filter news - but it will. This is the lie that is being sold and gobbled up. Its the same old story from the Labor Camp - instead of assuming that human beings are smart enough to make decisions on their own - you assume they aren't and make the decisions for them. The concept is based on mythology - that a govt appointed board would be independent is the first fairytail. Second the assumption that the board is smarter than the average Australian in their ability to make decisions. Fail on both counts.
Does Senator Conroy expect ANYONE to give ANY CREDENCE to his POSTURING "DON'T WRITE OFF MEDIA LAWS,' as you've summarised it? If so, his speechwriter must be the guy who wrote the classic Bubonic Plague scene from 'Monty Python and The Holy Grail,' ie. its immortal line "I'M NOT DEAD YET1"