On relaxing cross-media laws

“Because media power needs to be dispersed to ensure various opinions are made public.”

“I think there will be a stronger threat of a single major player
monopolising particular regions under these proposed laws, which will
limit both the amount of information being reported from those regions
and the perspectives presented by those stories.”

“It
will end up being one big owner with 90+% of the market and fragmented
smaller ones that will become weaker as time goes on.”

“Diversity will be threatened.”

“I believe cross-media ownership will be good for newspapers and thus good for newspaper journalists.”

“Let the marketplace rule.”

On relaxing foreign ownership restrictions

“Australian broadcasting should not be just about business and profit – there are public interest issues at stake.”

“The
idea of foreign ownership makes me very uncomfortable because someone
will be wielding power from a distance, without any personal investment
in Australia and its prosperity.”

“Prefer to have a boss who understands the culture of the country we work in.”

“We are already subjected to too much cultural imperialism.”

“Australian television suffers enough from too much overseas content without it being dominated completely.”

“Australian content is at an all time low on television and would fall further under foreign ownership.”

“Once
again I think Australia is too small a country and we need more
investment in media – hopefully it might raise some standards, but then
again…”

“Free to Air TV in Australia is of a poor standard. Anything to open up that industry should be welcomed.”

“Increased capital should allow better media operation.”

On working for Australian media companies

“Fourteen
years with News Ltd proved constantly that there is a regime of fear.
For survival you simply don’t write anything critical of News Ltd’s
interests.”

“As a freelancer for West Australian Newspapers I
made the fatal mistake of complaining about a decision by a Features
Editor and was blackballed. If you fall out with the only newspaper in
WA you’re stuffed.”

“Fairfax are paranoid about their own
reporters writing about them. There are always complaints from
management if they see some even slightly negative coverage of Fairfax.”

“As
I’m in a junior journalist role I can’t really be critical of anything
which goes on in the workplace. Some of my producers prefer a slant on
stories which involve American leaders.”

On the political power of media companies

“Kerry
Packer gets a state funeral. Politicians accept hospitality from the
Packers – stay on his boat and houses. And now Channel Nine is being
protected by no other TV licence being offered.”

“Packer and Murdoch
have open access to PM etc; the way PM et al kowtow to Alan Jones and
others is not only nauseating but downright immoral.”

“The
media should be the politicians’ watch dog … not its lap dog.
Political decisions are often made in this country in favour of Big
Business, which draws votes rather than what’s in the country’s best
interest.”

“Murdoch and Fairfax have commercial reasons for
wanting the Howard government returned and the NSW government removed.
Their efforts to achieve these ends are laughably obvious, yet most
people naively imagine what they’re reading in the major
newspapers.”

On how media companies influence voting intentions

“The electorate is not stupid: Voters make up their own minds.”

“I think journalists especially give themselves far too much credit for swinging voters one way or the other politically.”

“The journos employed by the companies have very strong views and are allowed to twist the voters.”

“Companies
such as my current employer, Rural Press, certainly try to exert
influence over readers but I haven’t seen any data quantifying the
effect (if any) that such political stances have on elections. If any
research has been done I would be very interested in it.”

“I
think the fact that the Coalition has remained in power for over 10
years, despite being caught out lying repeatedly – and even assisting
an enemy of our allies in order to wrangle wheat contracts – is
evidence of the supreme power of the media.”

“The vast
majority of Australian people are very stupid, and very lazy. They
watch TV and they might read a paper, but that’s all the information
they ever get about politics.”

On maintaining the current limit of three free-to-air commercial TV networks

“In a commercial market, consumers benefit from more choice.”

“Fails
to exploit the opportunities the technology represents; is
anti-competitive; cosies up to existing media players without allowing
for innovative new players to enter the market.”

“I would like
to see the FTA TV market opened up so that independent players could
progress on to the scene in each capital city. Three networks do not
always bring balanced and diverse coverage.”

“Prohibits diversification.”

“Talk
about protecting the sacred cows! The move is blatantly
anti-competitive, and denies the viewers greater choice in the crap
they can choose to watch.”

“We need more voices, not fewer.”

Peter Fray

A lot can happen in 3 months.

3 months is a long time in 2020. Join us to make sense of it all.

Get you first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12. Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

12 weeks for $12