Malcolm Turnbull.
Malcolm Turnbull. Cade Mooney

Regional news safe in reforms

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised regional Australians their local news coverage will not be affected, as he seeks to reform media ownership laws.

Mr Turnbull penned an opinion piece in The Australian yesterday arguing that any potential changes to the "reach rule" in ownership laws would not affect local television news.

The reach rule, which dictates no single company can own broadcast licences over more than 75% of the country, was discussed during a high-level media roundtable with Mr Turnbull last week.

But as senior Nationals MPs and rural Liberals privately voiced concerns about changes, Mr Turnbull sought to dispel any fears over local news broadcasts.

"Everyone is concerned that regional communities around Australia have

access to news, presented by journalists who understand their local area, their people and their issues," he wrote.

"Yet there are commercial incentives for regional broadcasters to provide local content and on occasions to exceed the minimum requirements where they are in place."

Mr Turnbull wrote that all political parties had last year agreed local content should be safeguarded.

"The reach rule therefore does not have anything to do with local content."

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