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10. Catching up with Convergence

The way we watch television, read the news, make phone calls and do anything media related is changing. Printers became faxes, then television became computers, computers became televisions and now cellphones have become pretty much anything you could imagine, even the remote to open your garage door. This is 'convergence of technologies'.

convergence.pngMedia technology is converging especially rapidly and the effects are huge. Newspapers, television, magazines, film – whole industries including some of the world's largest companies, are under threat. But some things don't change:

  • we still need public service media
  • we still need censorship
  • we still need to protect intellectual property
  • we still need to protect against bullying, defamation, illegal activity and loss of human rights

The rapid changes have negative impacts - porn is accessible to children, online bullying is a problem, loneliness is on the rise and defamation has reached new heights. Almost every week a new problem emerges as a result of convergence and our government needs to be ready to respond to each problem. But it is far from ready. Currently government departments and regulations are out-of-date, and there are gaps, loopholes and anomalies. While government ministers and their ministries work out who's responsibility is what, the backlog of problems keeps building.

For the sake of efficiency and effectiveness, the CBB supports the extension of the role of the Telecommunications Commissioner to include broadcasting and related content forms.

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