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Media Diversity Law

Australia and Germany Compared

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Edited By Georgios Gounalakis and Greg Taylor

This collection of essays compares media diversity law (including cartel law) in Australia and Germany. Both countries are liberal Western capitalist societies strongly committed to the rule of law, individual freedoms and democratic values and principles. They also face similar economic, social and technological challenges. Yet there also are important differences between Australia and Germany that make a comparison of how both countries regulate media diversity profitable. Australia has no constitutional guarantee of media freedom, but all relevant rules are federal. In both respects Germany is different. This book reveals that notwithstanding important differences, both countries have evolved broadly similar legislative regimes – but each can also learn from the experience of the other.
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Foreword

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This collection of essays owes its origin to a grant in the “Go8 - Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme” jointly operated by the Australian Group of Eight Universities1 and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst under the title “Approaches to Media Diversity Law: Australia and Germany Compared”. The contributing authors warmly thank those bodies for their generosity!

The project was conceived in the conviction that media diversity is of the first importance for democratic societies such as Australia and Germany that thrive on open discussion. Despite all recent technological developments, it is still the case that the ownership of media (print and electronic) brings with it substantial power in the marketplace of ideas. For this reason, both Germany and Australia have created mechanisms specifically designed to ensure that undue concentration of media ownership is avoided and to promote media diversity in general. If a diversity of viewpoints is not present in the media, the democratic debate will be severely compromised, as will public scrutiny of non-state actors with significant societal power such as big business, lobby groups and indeed media organisations themselves.

The project also was conceived with an eye to the similarities and differences between both countries. Both countries are liberal Western capitalist societies strongly committed to the rule of law, individual freedoms and democratic values and principles. Both countries also face similar economic, social and technological challenges. Yet there also are important differences between Australia and Germany that make a comparison of how Australia...

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