Australia’s regional areas are continuing to suffer a loss of news availability, to the point where at least four regional areas of the country are now surviving without either a local publisher or radio news outlets.
A total of 32 local government areas have been identified as having no local print and digital publisher outlets.
These are the disturbing findings of the latest Australian News Data Report published in December 2022 by the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI), a specialist think tank advancing a sustainable future for public interest journalism in Australia.
Through its original research and advocacy work, PIJI seeks to stimulate public discussion and establish optimal market pre-conditions in investment and regulation that will sustain media diversity in the long term.
Its findings support the need for a strong and independent ABC to continue to serve remote and regional Australia, particularly during natural disasters and national emergencies.
The Australian News Data report and its monthly collection and analysis of information about local news production is part of PIJI’s commitment to ensuring an evidence-based approach to building sustainable public interest journalism production across Australia.
It will form a central reference point for a consultation process recently launched by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) on news diversity and localism.
In early January 2023 ACMA released a consultation paper seeking feedback on a ‘news measurement framework’ to monitor levels of diversity across Australia’s contemporary media landscape.
The ACMA is seeking views from relevant stakeholders including media companies, digital news and social media platforms, government bodies, academia and consumers on the suitability of our proposed framework. The consultation period will be open until 18 March 2023.
This work will hopefully provide a better understanding of media diversity in Australia and help identify possible areas of concern.
PIJI has welcomed the ACMA review and is encouraging industry, academic and community feedback on all aspects of its data to ensure consumers achieve a robust and thorough understanding of contemporary Australia’s news demand and supply.
If you want to contribute to the conversation or comment on their findings, you can email PIJI on [email protected].
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