Dear Sole Subscriber,

As a few members of the National Party
kick up against the government’s plan to overhaul the media laws that
will reduce diversity of ownership, the public is making as much noise about this
momentous policy change as a public servant tasked with giving John Howard news about AWB bribes.
While Communications Minister Helen Coonan is apparently determined to
introduce media “reforms” whose cornerstone is the abolition of the
cross-media laws that ensure a semblance of diversity of media
ownership in what is already the most concentrated media ownership
environment in the developed world, the political response has been
muted and the public response has been mute.

As Crikey
points out today, Australia’s major TV networks and publishers are in
the process of gutting their staff of journalists. The government
apparently believes it is good public policy to introduce legislation
that guarantees there will be fewer media owners and, as a corollary,
fewer journalists and, as a further corollary, weaker journalism and,
as the final corollary, less journalistic scrutiny, debate or
perspectives.

If this was a World Cup game, the scoreline would be as convincing as Monday’s: Proprietors 3, Democracy 1.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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