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Interview with SBS World News

26 July 2018

E & OE

RICARDO GONCALVES:
We have Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

Minister, are mergers the only way quality media organisations can exist now?

FIFIELD:
Well Riccardo, in the era of the internet Australian media organisations have faced unprecedented challenge from global media online platforms. What we want to do is to see good strong Australian media organisations. Through our media reform changes we've given them the opportunity to combine in ways that will enhance their viability and see them survive.

GONCALVES:
Do you then expect further movement on the media landscape?

FIFIELD:
It's a matter for individual media organisations. But what we want to see is Australian media organisations thrive. We want to see them survive. When they survive they can employ Australian journalists and they can continue to create Australian content that tells our stories in our voices. We can't pretend that it's still 1988. The internet exists. And our media businesses have got to deal with that reality. And what we've done is to put them in a much stronger position to compete with the global giants.

GONCALVES:
Minister, final question. What's your message to the end user, to the consumer, worried about quality and independent news.

FIFIELD:
We do have important diversity protections. We have a number of control laws which remain in place. And we do have $1.3 billion each year which we put towards the ABC and SBS. And that's a really important underpinning of media diversity and also civic journalism. So we want diversity and we we've put measures in place to underpin and ensure that.

GONCALVES:
Ok, Communications Minister Senator Mitch Fifield, thank you very much for your time.

[ends]