The Global Network Initiative (GNI) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the exposure draft of the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combating Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023 recently published for comment.

GNI welcomes and appreciates the Australian government’s commitment to addressing concerns about digital content and conduct and acknowledges commitments to freedom of expression in the Bill and accompanying guidance note. In this submission, we detail some of the key concerns with the current approach — including the broad scope of companies and content in scope, privacy risks associated with information-gathering powers, and the need for additional transparency and oversight of the Australian Communications and Media Authority  (ACMA) in establishing new rules, registering codes, and putting forth new misinformation  standards.  

We encourage the Government of Australia to consider these recommendations a they revise and update the Communications Legislation Amendments. GNI hopes that this feedback will be useful and remains eager to engage with Australian authorities, industry associations, and civil society to ensure that Australia’s approach to online safety is consistent with the country’s long-standing commitments to international human rights principles, including through its engagement in the Freedom Online Coalition and the Declaration for the Future of the Internet.

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