Why media execs join forces to show reform matters

IN A never-before-seen show of solidarity, Australia's top media executives will converge on Canberra tomorrow to convince the Senate that media reforms are vital to the future of the industry.

More than 25 chief executives from Australia's major commercial and subscription TV, newspaper and radio companies will gather to argue the need to modernise media laws to preserve the viability of the sector.

Regional newspaper editors will be among the group as News Corp, the owner of this paper, pushes the point that change will help ensure the future of titles in towns and cities across the nation.

News Corp regional editorial director Bryce Johns said the changes proposed were the best way smaller towns and cities could be guaranteed their local mastheads would survive longer term.

"The playing field needs to be levelled if we want to continue to fund the great journalism that goes on outside metro-land," Mr Johns said.

"The industry is making an unprecedented show of support to send a strong message to parliament that urgent changes are required to make us competitive in this new media environment.''

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield will address the media summit.

They will hear from Foxtel chief Peter Tonagh, News Corp Australia executive chair Michael Miller, Seven West Media chief Tim Worner, Fairfax Media head Greg Hywood and Macquarie Media's chief Adam Lang.

Seven's David Koch will host the event.

The package is expected to go before the Senate during one of the winter sittings, likely in June.

The key changes proposed are:

  • Repealing the "two out of three rule" that prohibits one company owning a TV station, radio station and a newspaper in the same media market
  • Abolishing the rule preventing any single TV network reaching 75% of the population
  • Reducing licence fees for free-to-air television stations
  • Trimming the anti-siphoning list of events that must be offered to free-to-air networks first, allowing Foxtel and pay TV stations to bid for more sporting events

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