Crikey’s journalists are banned from entering the federal Budget media lock-up because, in the words of the Treasurer’s office, Crikey is not part of the “mainstream media”.

Crikey’s website and email editions are banned from staff access by Australia’s biggest media company PBL because, in the words of PBL chairman James Packer yesterday, Crikey has a lower burden of proof than the rest of the media, publishing whatever it pleases and claiming bankruptcy when challenged in the courts (a claim that is factually wrong).

A small number of powerful people in Australia say they’re in favour of media diversity. The federal government has even introduced new laws it claims will enhance and protect it. But what these people – the country’s government and the country’s biggest media company – really mean is they’re in favour of media diversity as long as it’s their media diversity.

Banning journalists and journalism isn’t just a bad look. As practised by governments and media moguls it is the antithesis of freedom.