Those in any doubt that our major print proprietors are genuinely concerned that Labor could legislate some form of statutory press regulation before they’re tipped out of government by the voters need only scan the newspapers. The rush to forestall the establishment of any authority proposed by the Finkelstein inquiry or the Convergence Review is now verging on the frantic.

The Weekend Australian on Saturday carried a prominent ad seeking applicants for the new position of executive director of the Australian Press Council. But the copy spent almost as much time boasting about the council’s recently doubled funding and “strengthened” independence (surely close to a tautology) as it did on describing the job. In doing so, the APC has also confirmed its immediate empire-building intentions. Council personnel will be expanded to “a team of 7-8 staff”, and the executive director will oversee the activities of two new section heads — the “director of standards” and the “director of complaints”.

It’s revealing that the skills being sought for the council’s new chief executive officer are primarily managerial. The position “requires outstanding skills and experience in strategic planning, high-level negotiation, staff leadership and financial management”, but only “broad familiarity with print and online media”. The unspoken message seems to be that experienced media executives need not apply. –

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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