For a group of people who expend thousands of working hours each day holding every other industry and public figure to account, the “quality newspaper” industry has a deeply hypocritical view when it comes to its own accountability.

In its main editorial today, under the heading “Inquiry a dud from day one”, The Australian Financial Review comes out swinging against the current government media inquiry, which has been running for barely one day. Claiming “there is no pressing public policy problem with the media” the AFR’s sage advice to the head of the inquiry, former judge Ray Finkelstein, is to “end this charade and shut down the inquiry …”

The AFR joins its stablemate The Sydney Morning Herald (“we believe [the inquiry] to be unnecessary and ill-conceived”) in attacking the very idea of an inquiry into the state of an industry that has more influence on the public debate than any other, yet wallows with car salesmen and other hucksters in its public credibility rating.

If they genuinely believe there are no pressing issues with the media, we suggest the Financial Review should conduct one of its estimable high-level round-table interviews with any 10 leading business figures and ask them a simple question: “Do you hold the Australian media in high regard and are you confident in the media’s ability to self-regulate?”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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