Federal government to introduce legislative powers to reduce misinformation and disinformation

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The proposed laws are expected to be legislated by the end of the year

The federal government and communications minister Michelle Rowland is planning on introducing new legislative powers that aim to reduce misinformation and disinformation on platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
The new laws give ACMA (the Australian Communications and Media Authority) the ability to retract information, request information such as data and complaints handling, and enforce industry standards from powerful tech companies.
The proposed laws are expected to be legislated by the end of the year, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

Rowland told the publication that misinformation and disinformation pose a threat to the safety and wellbeing of Australians and to democracy, society, and the economy.
“A new and graduated set of powers will enable the [Australian Communications and Media Authority] to monitor efforts and compel digital platforms to do more, placing Australia at the forefront in tackling harmful online misinformation and disinformation.”
Sunita Bose, managing director of DIGI – a lobby group for the tech sector – welcomed the plans.
“DIGI is committed to driving improvements in the management of mis- and disinformation in Australia, demonstrated through our track record of work with signatory companies to develop and strengthen the industry code,” Bose said.
Meanwhile, a round table hosted by attorney-general Mark Dreyfus next month will see him discuss press freedom reform with stakeholders and media organisations.
“There is agreement across the parliament and the community that improved protections for press freedom are needed. The Albanese government intends to progress legislative reform as a priority,” Dreyfus said.

Under the previous government and former communications minister Paul Fletcher tried to introduce similar laws but was unable to before the 2022 federal election.

See also: Communications minister Paul Fletcher: TV reforms, media code, and the future

Prior to entering Parliament in 2010 as the member for Greenway, Rowland was a senior lawyer specialising in competition and regulation in the telecommunications, media and technology sectors.

Rowland was appointed shadow minister for communications in 2016.

Top image: Michelle Rowland 

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