Self- and co-regulation have become important components of the framework used to regulate the Australian communications industry. This is likely to increase as convergence of communications platforms puts pressure on existing regulatory structures. Indeed, in the Final Report of its Digital Platforms Inquiry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proposed new co-regulatory codes of practice for designated digital platforms such as Google and Facebook, as well as a ‘disinformation’ co-regulatory code for digital platforms generally.
Self- and co-regulation usually involve some aspect of consumer and public engagement in the processes the industry employs to formulate rules. However, research on this topic is limited, and there has been no attempt to map the mechanisms industry bodies and schemes use to engage with consumers and citizens to assess how such participation can best be deployed to ensure self- and co-regulation within the sector (both now and in the future) is responsive and effective.
This project has started that analysis.
Our report was published by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) in December 2019 and is available to download.
- sets out the different regulatory contexts in which 20 industry schemes in the advertising, telecommunications, media and online service sectors operate. It highlights the varying levels of government involvement in their rule-making processes.
- identifies the mechanisms of public engagement that are used by the 19 schemes for which we were able to prepare summaries.
- presents our proposal for the classification of these mechanisms, taking into account classification schemes that have been developed by researchers in other industries and jurisdictions.
- provides some observations on the use of the Australian mechanisms, following our approach to classification
- sets out our 14 recommendations for reform.