Katter calls for audit of local TV news content

Aug 10, 2021

Katter calls for audit of local TV news content

Aug 10, 2021

IN recent months, two of the three local TV news services in North Queensland (Townsville) and Far North Queensland (Cairns), have been cutback in staff or cancelled altogether.

While 7 News is still providing a full half hour of local news, WIN News has been cutback to a state-wide bulletin and Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) is providing no local news bulletin.

Kennedy MP, Bob Katter, believes that some of the TV stations may no longer be meeting their local content quota under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

Mr Katter has contacted Federal Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, and requested that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) conduct an audit of local TV News in North Queensland.

As a regional broadcaster, you gain points for each minute of locally significant material you broadcast.

                You gain 2 points for each minute of news that ‘directly relates to a local area’.

And you gain one point for each minute of:

  • news that ‘directly relates to the licence area’.
  • other material that directly relates to the local area or the licence area, such as a community service announcement.

You must meet the quotas in each of your licence areas for material of local significance. This is at least:  90 points per week and 720 points per six-week period.

Kennedy MP, Bob Katter, said it was unfair that one channel was meeting its obligations and employing local journalists and camera operators, while others were potentially not meeting its obligations.

“Five percent of Australia’s population lives in North Queensland and we deserve to have our stories told,” he said.

“Politicians and local government will believe they can get away with anything if we don’t have a strong local media.

 “In the 1980s elements of the Queensland Police Force were corrupt and committed 42 murders. It wasn’t until the media uncovered what was going on that the Fitzgerald Inquiry was established, and the murders stopped taking place. That is the power of the media.

“We need more reporters on the ground in North Queensland and that can only happen if the regulator, ACMA, enforces the local content requirements of broadcasters. If they can’t meet those requirements, then someone else should be given the opportunity to hold the broadcast licence.”

Traeger MP, Robbie Katter, said a decision to audit regional TV news content would be a win for regional communities in North Queensland neglected by the media monopolies. ‘

“The KAP’s Regional Journalism Rescue Plan will ensure local news is reported on and shared by local journalists who understand the communities they work in,” he said.

“The networks are obviously conducting themselves in a way which disregards the regulations that have been put in place for a reason, this is the first step towards pulling them into line and restoring quality localised content in regional and rural Queensland.”