On 1 September 2018, the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Foreign Media Ownership, Community Radio and Other Measures) Act 2018 (Cth) (the Act) came into force. The Act introduces new registration requirements for foreign stakeholders who own at least a 2.5% interest in traditional Australian media assets.

The Act has introduced the following key amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA):

  • The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is required to maintain a Register of Foreign Owners of Media Assets; and
  • Foreign stakeholders are required to notify ACMA of company interests in Australian media companies for any interests of 2.5% or more in any:
    • commercial television broadcasting licensee
    • commercial radio broadcasting licensee
    • constitutional corporation publishing a newspaper associated with the license area of a commercial television broadcasting licensee or commercial radio broadcasting licensee.

Penalties may be incurred for non-compliance with notification requirements. The amended BSA provides that a separate contravention occurs each day whilst the contravention continues with civil penalties up to a maximum of USD 63,000 for companies or USD 12,600 for individuals, per contravention. The ACMA may also issue warnings and infringement notices for USD 12,600 for companies or USD 2,100 for individuals.

Notifications of existing interests must be made to ACMA by 28 February 2019.