Australian news, and some related international items

The announced takeover of Fairfax by Channel Nine will change the news landscape of Australia altogether.

The cross-media rule gave Australia 30 years of media diversity. This merger was inevitable as soon as it was removed 

The kind of merger announced today between Channel Nine and Fairfax was bound to happen the moment the cross-media legislation introduced by the Hawke government 30 years ago was suspended.

The so-called cross-media rule gave Australia 30 years of media diversity, especially between Australia’s major television networks and its capital city print.

Those barriers in the wholesaling of news underwrote diversity of opinion, guaranteeing an altogether better informed and livelier public debate.

It is true that the technology has brought myriad voices to a public eager for diversity of information. But the atomisation of web-based content, much of it other than local, cannot in terms of impact, be compared with the big local media players, particularly in consolidations of the kind announced today.

The announced takeover of Fairfax by Channel Nine will change the news landscape of Australia altogether.

Notwithstanding the obvious disruption that international platforms like Google and Facebook have made to advertising and traditional media revenues, the answer for Australia is diversity of income streams for Australia’s majors and not a closedown in news and content with major print being taken over by major television.

This is an exceptionally bad development.

……… If in the announced arrangement Channel Nine has a majority of the stock, Channel Nine will run the editorial policy.

The problem with this is that, in terms of news management, Channel Nine, for over half a century, has never other than displayed the opportunism and ethics of an alley cat.

There has been no commanding ethical or moral basis for the conduct of its news and information policy.

Through various changes of ownership, no one has lanced the carbuncle at the centre of Nine’s approach to news management. And, as sure as night follows day, that pus will inevitably leak into Fairfax.

For the country, this is a great pity.

And, of course, if the government really had its way, Australia would face this much closed down and managed landscape without an ABC as it is today – an independent national broadcaster.

On competition grounds and those of the imperative of local diversity, the competition commissioner should put this proposal under high scrutiny.

Of course, the current managements of Nine and Fairfax will scream enhanced media diversity via the web – news and views everywhere. And some of this is true.


July 26, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media

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