Anti-siphoning remains intact as Australian government details media law shake-up

Australia’s anti-siphoning rules concerning the broadcast of major sports events will remain intact under a major reform package unveiled by the government today (Tuesday).

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield described the plan as the “most significant media reform in Australian media in a generation”, as it scrapped two key laws.

The changes, which will be contained in a bill presented to parliament tomorrow (Wednesday), will abolish the reach rule, which prevents mergers between regional television networks and their metropolitan affiliates.

The two-out-of-three rule, which stops any proprietor from owning a newspaper, radio station and television network in the same major market, will also be ended.

However, the anti-siphoning list of sports events reserved for free-to-air television is unchanged. In recent years, Astra, the Australian group of pay-television broadcasters, has repeatedly urged the country’s Federal Communications Ministry to reform the anti-siphoning list.