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Media ownership reforms before parliament

AAP logoAAP 31/08/2016

Archaic media regulations that restrict growth and takeovers in television, radio and newspapers would be scrapped under new ownership legislation before the federal parliament.

The government reintroduced the reform package on Thursday, after the federal election stalled earlier progress.

Government frontbencher Paul Fletcher said the changes would allow media businesses to gain the scale necessary to compete in an increasingly fragmented market.

"While traditional commercial television and radio platforms are still well loved by Australians they are not the only sources of video, audio and news content," he told parliament on Thursday.

The package scraps the rule that prevents a company controlling more than two of the three media types - radio, television or newspapers - in an area, and another rule that prohibits a proprietor from controlling a TV licence reaching more than 75 per cent of the population.

Mr Fletcher said those rules no longer made sense in the digital environment.

Labor supports scrapping the reach restrictions, but is yet to take a formal position on axing the two-out-of-three rule.

Former communications minister Stephen Conroy says the issue hasn't gone to shadow cabinet.

Broadcaster-turned-senator Derryn Hinch was also waiting to see what's in the government's legislation.

"I sound like a politician, I haven't formed an opinion," he told reporters.

"But hey, I'm a journo and the less regulation in media in my view the better."

Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm will wait to see the details but is also sympathetic to deregulation.

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