Media diversity and the Australian Content Innovation Fund

Announced by WikiLeaks Party’s lead Senate candidate for Victoria Julian Assange during the Can we trust the media? forum at Splendour in the Grass, 26 July 2013.

If elected the WikiLeaks Party will implement the following policies, to support all Australian creators of content, and to substantially increase the funding to Australian journalists.

1.  We will oppose any attempts to privatise the ABC and SBS, in part or in full. Tony Abbott denies that this is on the Coalition agenda, but, as we all know, he answers to Rupert Murdoch.

2. We will push for measures to help non-profit media and non-profit news organisations. The print media still dominates the way political information is originated in Australia, even online. But with the exception of Sydney and Melbourne, no other large Australian city at present has more than a single daily newspaper.  For a medium-ranking democracy, Australia’s 98% print media circulation being in the hands of just three corporations puts it into a special category of its own, and not a good one. We badly need diversification of the Australian media.

To assist with this, we will make donations to independent Australian media organisations tax-deductible. This was a measure introduced in the United States, and there it helped to substantially increase the number of not-for-profit media organisations, from ‘Democracy Now’ to ‘Pro-Republic’.

3. We will revolutionise Australian media and music innovation by establishing an Australian content innovation fund, easily accessible to all Australians, a fund that bypasses the traditional inefficient, politicized and bureaucratic funding mechanisms.

The model will be based upon the successful Australian Public Lending Rights Scheme, which grants Australian authors a small fee for every library book borrowed. We will massively expand this program so that it covers the internet, so it is accessible to all Australians, across all formats and double the amount returned to Australian authors.

We will do this by conducting a statistical survey throughout the year to determine the 100,000 most nominated works authored by Australians across music, journalism, online books, reference works, blogs, videos and other content.

Each Australian making the list will be paid ‘dividends’ from its budget in proportion to the frequency discovered by the survey over the last year, capped to a total of two times the medium wage per author.

The money will come from a small fee on the defence budget, because projecting popular Australian content to the world makes the world care about the fate of Australians and is a very effective contribution to our defence. We must have a strong defence and that means an efficient, clever and creative defence.

Download the WikiLeaks Party Platform statements as a print ready .pdf