Senator Canavan wants media laws updated to stop ‘foreign takeover of our media’ by social media companies #Senator #Canavan #media #laws #updated #stop #foreign #takeover #media #social #media #companies #englishheadline


Nationals Senator Matt Canavan has called for Australia’s media laws to be updated, arguing social media censorship is akin to a “foreign takeover of our media”.

Senator Canavan spoke to Englishheadline Australia’s Sharri Markson about reports that the Albanese government was happy to allow tech companies like Facebook to censor content during the Voice to Parliament referendum.

“This is a backdoor to the foreign takeover of our media,” Senator Canavan said.

“We have very strict rules around foreigners owning our media, and now that people are mainly getting our media not through TV or newspapers but online, we’ve effectively opened the door to it being completely controlled by foreign interests.

“We’re good friends with the United States but I don’t think Silicon Valley should be dictating the political discussion that occurs here in this country.”

Facebook has already censored a number of ads opposing the Voice to Parliament over what it claimed was “misinformation” – such as the claim that the Voice would give “special rights” to Indigenous Australians.

In response, conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs wrote to Prime Minister Albanese arguing that provisions in the Broadcasting Services Act should be extended to cover social media companies.

The provisions ensure political parties have “reasonable opportunities” to broadcast election material.

“This standard should be applied to the forthcoming referendum, and expanded so that digital platforms are subject to the same rules as broadcasters,” the  IPA’s Morgan Begg said wrote in the letter.

The IPA also argued the laws should she be amended to “clarify that censoring, shadow banning, or posting misinformation warnings in respect to referendum material is unlawful.”

Daily Telegraph editor Ben English agreed with calls to update Australia’s media laws.

“The mainstream media is subjected to very strict guidelines in terms of our coverage of these sort of issues,” English told Englishheadline Australia.

“The same sort of rules should be afforded to the tech titans who still laughably claim they’re not publishers.”

English, whose paper broke the news of Facebook censoring the No campaign, said social media censorship was “outrageous.”

“We’ve seen several occasions, and very critical occasions, in recent history the tech platforms have influenced the outcomes of elections,” he said, citing the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story as a key example.

English said it was incumbent on the Albanese government to front up to these tech giants and ensure Australians get a fair go.

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