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Government to give pay TV to wrong operators



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COMM ONW EALTH PARLIAMEI4TARY LIBRARY MICAH

M ED IA R E L E A S E M E D IA R E L E A S E M E D IA R E L E A S E \fE D IA R E L E A S E M E D IA R E L E A S E M E D IA R E L E A S E M EDIA

SE N A TO R A U ST IN LEW IS .

D E PU T Y LEA D ER O F T H E O P P O S IT IO N IN T H E SE N A TE

SHADOW M IN IST ER FO R COMMON .

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GOVERNMENT TO GIVE PAY TV TO WRONG OPERATORS

"Provisions in the Telecommunications Bill 1989 will allow the early introduction of pay TV by side stepping the moratorium in the Radiocommunications Act," Senator Austin Lewis said today. '

"But the Government will be giving the right to provide pay TV to the wrong people.

"Under the provisions, people who are currently providing commercial broadcasting services will be able to provide pay cable television and the pay services will not be subject to the scrutiny of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal.

"Given the concentration of media ownership that has already occurred under the Hawke Government, the conclusion that must be drawn is that the Government's action are deliberate and aimed to further concentrate media ownership.

"This contrasts with the Coalition,policy which, while allowing for the immediate introduction of pay television, would restrict holders of television licences to 15% ownership in pay and cable television operations or joint

ventures. In addition, under a Coalition Government programmes will be subject to standards laid down by the Parliament and administered by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal.

"The provisions in the Government1s Bill would allow anyone who holds a licence or permit under the Broadcasting Act to operate a telecommunications network solely for supplying broadcasting or television services to members of the public. This goes far beyond the provisions in the existing

legislation which only allow the holder of a licence under Part IIIB of the Broadcasting Act to operate a telecommunications installation in accordance with the technical conditions of the broadcast licence warrant.

"If the Government has decided to allow the introduction of pay cable television, then it should also immediately lift the moratorium contained in the Radiocommunications Act to enable all interested parties the opportunity to provide pay

television services.

"What the Australian people need is more competition in the provision of broadcasting and television services, not more provisions to protect the special interests of minority groups."

2 May 1989 Further informations John Robertson (062) 77 3205.

K K H H P hone (062) 77 3135 F ax (062) 77 3169 ■

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