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[FYI] Der australische Kampf gegen die innere Natur des Internet

[In Australien scheinen sich gerade die Ultrahardliner der "Wir-
regulieren-das-Internet-wie-den-Rundfunk -Fraktion durchzusetzen.
Hoffentlich breitet sich diese Denke nicht weiter aus.    --AHH]


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NR 101/1999  

29 October 1999  

Broadcasting, co-regulation and the public good  

"National parliaments and industry bodies must work together on 
schemes of self-regulation and co-regulation for the Internet which 
sit within a broader framework of international cooperation," said Mr 
Gareth Grainger, Deputy Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting 
Authority today.  

Mr Grainger was delivering the 1999 Spry Memorial Lecture in 
Vancouver, Canada. Graham Spry was a champion of public broadcasting 
in Canada and the Graham Spry Fund for Public Broadcasting was 
created in 1996 in recognition of his work. The purpose of the 
endowment which created the fund is to sponsor an annual public 
lecture and related academic activities relevant to the promotion of 
public broadcasting in Canada. Mr Grainger will also deliver his 
address in French in Montreal on 2 November.  

"Broadcasting and now the Internet make use of public property, the 
airwaves and bandwidth. Broadcasting remains, and the Internet is 
clearly emerging as, a means of mass communication of a particularly 
intrusive nature. They enter our homes and workplaces, exercise 
important influences on public life and national cultures. Their 
content has been and remains, the latest research confirms in 
relation to the Internet, a matter of considerable concern to the 
public who wish to see national cultures preserved and enriched and 
to see young people protected from inappropriate material," Mr 
Grainger said.  

"It is essential for policy makers and legislators, as they review 
existing and prepare new rules for broadcasting and the Internet, to 
revisit and restate the public interest objectives they believe 
should apply to those industries and their governance. Sweeping 
references to ‘the public interest’ may be less effective than a 
clear articulation of the process concerns that legislators are 
seeking to advance."  

"National parliaments in democratic systems such as those of 
Australia, the UK, and Canada provide the one legitimate 
constitutional outlet for public concerns and it is entirely 
appropriate that, even in an age of increasing internationalisation 
of broadcasting and now the Internet, it be national parliaments 
which set the rules for the regulation of these matters within 
national borders. However, it is equally clear that activities such 
as the Internet which are heavily transborder in scope must be 
governed by rules which reflect major developments taking place 
elsewhere in the world. International discussions are needed, and are 
occurring right now, to allow governments, industries, users and 
communities to help shape suitable rules for new media such as the 

"Co-regulatory or self-regulatory schemes for dealing with these 
issues seem to require the existence of an umpire to oversee the 
efficient and effective working of these schemes and to deal with 
public complaints. It is appropriate for such umpires to be given 
discretion to interpret the public interest objectives of such 
schemes to decide their application to particular circumstances. Such 
bodies will be assisted by the clear articulation of the 
legislature’s public interest objectives to guide the regulator in 
its efforts to allow the public good in specific cases."  

"In relation both to broadcasting, a highly mature industry, and the 
Internet whose usage is so diffuse, it is apparent that the most 
appropriate means for dealing with governance issues is through the 
healthy consultative interaction of governments, regulators, industry 
and the community in schemes of self-regulation or co-regulation. 
While legislators may well see industry self-regulation as the 
sensible direction for communication industry governance to take, it 
is difficult to see how such schemes will be genuinely effective 
without some provision for industry umpires and for the safety valve 
of public complaints processes.  

"Whereas in the United States the US Constitution First Amendment 
allows the free speech lobby to dominate discussion about self-
regulation, other countries with healthy democratic systems and 
vibrant processes of open expression are able to seek a more 
appropriate balance between the right to free expression and the 
right of communities to nurture national and local cultures and to 
protect children from harmful content. There is no one right way for 
any nation to approach the manner in which we move forward in these 

"In Australia we are now endeavouring to place online services on the 
same footing as broadcasting and are applying a co-regulatory 
framework governed by important public interest considerations. I 
believe this has much to commend it. Other nations will make their 
own decisions on what best meets community and industry needs for 
this activity. However, I am absolutely convinced that at the end of 
the twentieth century it is time for all of us who care about these 
issues to reaffirm our faith in the overriding importance of the 
public interest to ensure that healthy vibrant communications 
industries are conducted for the public good."  

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