New content rules should not come at cost of children’s and Australian stories


New local content rules for digital platforms and streaming video services are needed, but should not come at the cost of releasing commercial television networks from their current obligations, says the union for Australian performers and screen workers.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance notes comments by Communications Minister Paul Fletcher that the government is looking at new content regulations for digital services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.

MEAA has been campaigning for updates to content rules as part of the Make It Australian coalition.

But the extension of content rules should not be a trade-off to release commercial broadcasters from their obligations to produce children’s programming and local drama.

“Changes in viewing habits mean there must be reform of content rules to ensure that Australian stories are shown on global streaming services that want access to Australian audiences,” said MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy.

“There needs to be a level playing field regardless of the platform that audiences view programs on.

“But that should not release free to air television from its own requirements to produce local and children’s content.”

MEAA also called for appropriate consultation on proposed changes.

“Changes to content rules have the potential to have huge impact on the creatives, performers, technicians and businesses who make up the Australian screen production industry.

“The government needs to make sure any proposed changes won’t be a wrecking ball to an important industry that is in many ways Australia’s voice to the world.”

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