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ABC/Telstra content proposal cause for great concern.

ABC/Telstra Content Proposal Cause For Great Concern

 

Stephen Smith - Shadow Minister for Communications

 

Media Statement - 14 February 2000

 

Shadow Minister for Communications, Stephen Smith, today expressed his deep concern over the proposed ABC/Telstra content/production deal, some details of which emerged during Senate Estimates last week.

 

"I am greatly concerned by the detail of the proposed content/co-production arrangement," Mr Smith said.

 

"In particular, I am alarmed by revelations that the negotiations involve:

 

• various exclusive rights for the use of ABC material by Telstra;

• a proposed sharing between the ABC and Telstra of advertising and e-commerce revenue arising from the content deal;

• the co-production of content available exclusively to Telstra;

• specific conditions that require the ABC to spend at least a quarter of the base contract revenue producing material for Telstra;

• a co-promotional relationship which would require the ABC to promote Telstra products and services in ABC shops; and,

• Telstra taking the benefit of the ABC's datacasting expertise.

 

"It is appropriate that the Parliament investigate these proposals, and other commercial arrangements proposed to be entered into by the ABC, through the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology, given the degree of community concern that exists about this issue," Mr Smith said.

 

"As well, Labor will recommend that the terms of reference for such an inquiry also examine the reach and relevance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 and ABC Charter for the future, given the emergence of new technologies, such as the Internet and digital broadcasting.

 

"It is also appropriate that such an inquiry examine the current funding arrangements for the ABC, and the process of adequately funding the national broadcaster for digital broadcasting.

 

"Labor will formally move terms of reference for such an inquiry in the Senate later this week," Mr Smith concluded.

 

Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.