“The government and opposition must reject the outrageous attack on freedom of speech recommended by the Chair of the Independent Media Inquiry, Ray Finkelstein,” said Chris Berg, a Research Fellow with free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
Mr Berg appeared before the inquiry in November 2011 and is the author of a forthcoming book on freedom of speech.
“The proposals are an unprecedented attack on freedom of speech in Australia.
“The practical effect of Finkelstein’s proposals is to licence newspapers, magazines, and blogs. This is a massive intrusion on what we can read and write.
“His proposed ‘News Media Council’ would be empowered to censor – to force media outlets to remove material from the internet.
“Finkelstein recommends that the print media be regulated in the same way as broadcasting. But similar broadcasting regulations have been used as weapons to try to censor political speech,” said Mr Berg.
“It is shameful that the Media Inquiry has recommended such a massive expansion of regulation. Even ‘news’ websites that have as few as forty visitors a day would have their freedom of speech regulated.
“The government must reject Finkelstein’s proposals out of hand,” said Mr Berg.
The Institute of Public Affairs made a submission to the inquiry.