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The draft bill would require social media companies to toughen their policies on “false, misleading or deceptive” content (Bigstock)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese defended Labor’s social media disinformation bill yesterday, explaining it addresses concerns of media organisations about misinformation on social media. Source: The Guardian.

The draft bill would allow the Australian Communications and Media Authority to require social media companies to toughen their policies on “content [that] is false, misleading or deceptive, and where the provision of that content on the service is reasonably likely to cause or contribute to serious harm”.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has warned that the bill “could be used to portray the Church’s communication of its teachings as a form of public misinformation”.

That comes after warnings from the Australian Christian Lobby that the proposal will “cancel Christian posts online” including where churches “express an alternate view to the prevailing woke culture on gender and sexuality and for those who want to speak out against abortion”.

The ACBC noted that many religious services are delivered online, and argued that “communications of religious belief” should not be included in the bill.

The Freedom for Faith group, representing the Baptist Ministries, Christian Churches, Sydney Anglicans and Seventh-day Adventists, called for a similar exclusion.

In June 2021 ACMA asked the Morrison Government for “reserve powers” to force social media to toughen their misinformation rules, which the Coalition committed to introduce ahead of the 2022 election.

But yesterday, the shadow communications minister, David Coleman, said the proposed bill is a “capital-D disaster”. 

Mr Albanese said the bill “arose from the former Coalition government, and … every mainstream media organisation, whether it’s News Corp or Nine News or other media organisations, [has] expressed concern for some period of time about some of the misinformation which is out there on the internet.

“So this is quite strange that the Coalition, which initiated this process, are now once again [against it].


‘Quite strange’ for Coalition to reject disinformation crackdown it originally proposed, Albanese says  (By Paul Karp, The Guardian)