Feb 28, 2013

Media ownership: ‘controlling the news’ in a fragmenting industry

Media ownership is a notoriously difficult issue -- both for politicians and the press. Bernard Keane explains why governments today face challenges their predecessors didn't have to deal with.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

At some point the endless succession of newspaper articles about media reform proposals going to cabinet “today” or “this week” or “in the next fortnight” may finally be proved correct and a media reform package might emerge.

Or, given the timing constraints of a September election, it might not: it will be very difficult to get any substantial legislation in this most controversial of areas through Parliament with only seven sittings weeks left.

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18 thoughts on “Media ownership: ‘controlling the news’ in a fragmenting industry

  1. Bill Hilliger

    Many people think Noos Ltd in all its forms is a pox on society. Fortunately, much of their product manages to alienate many who just stop buying their sh*tty products.

  2. el tel

    Very good summary of a complex issue, plagued with a lot of pre-existing positions.

  3. zut alors

    With skewed headlines such as “Conroy’s pitch to control the news” it looks pretty grim for diversified media.

    The one bright spark of hope is the example of Berlusconi’s vice-like dominance of Italian TV: eventually, not even a near-monopoly could save him. Press barons et al, you’re not on a sure thing.

  4. Hamis Hill

    On the subject of balance, all it takes for outlets to “control the news” on the government is to say that the opposition spokespeople were “unavailable for comment”.
    On the other hand this ploy is repeated when the opposition has something to say; then the government always, somehow, has “nothing” to reply.
    See, balance!
    So goes the “Belief Industry”. Out of control by regulation.

  5. Day Bliss

    The old media is interfering in our political process to unprecedented level, as their business mode is threatened by Labor’s NBN. The Dinosaurs will eventually die, but in the mean time what shape will out Internet Industry be in after the MSM get Abbott elected by be easy on the Liberals this year and a Wolf pack attacking Labor about everything.

  6. green-orange

    If News was prevented from providing content to Ten, or investing in TV, couldn’t they just sell their newspapers ?

    Its not that they’re any great prize anymore. Murdoch had no compunction about scrapping the Adelaide News or the New York Post.

  7. Suzanne Blake


    The Taxpayers own the ABC and they are allow to have their heavily left bias new reporting. It is lucky that their current affairs / insiders etc rating are falling, which is people walking with their remotes.

    On the Rooty Hill escapade. Gillard knows she has lost, and Rudd doesnt want it, cause he knows he cannot win the election. He is hell bent of seeing Gillard and Lanor get smacked so he can say I told you so.

    Its pretty to watch.

  8. Gocomsys

    “The old media (MSM/ABC) is interfering in our political process to unprecedented level …..”. Agree !
    By all means keeping this government (supported by Greens and Independents) on the straight and narrow is important but before publishing an article it is worth reminding oneself that there are potential undermining consequences for our nation and for an overall responsible progressive administration.
    I strongly believe it is obligatory for the few remaining journalists in the “free press” to take a stand, stop “fence sitting”, the “one bet each way” attitude and start making it plain to the electorate that there simply is no viable political alternative to choose from at present.
    I believe that it would be a travesty if a stumbling confused kid like Abbott and his underwhelming cohorts get into power. I fear that any gains achieved recently will be wiped out. Does anyone really think it necessary to relive the miserable destructive Howard years?
    The policy free LNP in its current state is dysfunctional and therefore unelectable. Also, if anybody thinks that someone like Turnbull using a magic wand will save the day is sadly mistaken.
    Note: The “Tea party” philosophy is dangerous and undermines democratic principles. Beware!
    Wake up before it’s too late.

  9. Gocomsys

    ‘Controlling the NEWS’? What news? To my mind there is no
    NEWS service available anywhere in OZ.
    I expect that at least the tax payer funded national broadcaster should be able to provide an hourly NEWS service on Radio National where:
    NEWS = researched FACTS presented by ABC staff (newsreader, reporters, correspondents). No need for anybody else to comment.
    what we are presently getting is mainly he/said she/said OPINION, gossip and spin. Often MSM headlines and tabloid talking points are copied apparently without a veracity check. Complaints to the ABC are either ignored or misinterpreted. In the run up to the election and in the name of so called ABC “balance” I am afraid every Tom, Dick and Harriet will be given a chance to spout their propaganda during the so called NEWS program. Apparently the flawed ABC charter insures that any garbage voiced is acceptable as long as an alternative view somewhere along the line is provided.
    That’s common practice during ABC opinion sessions, which I have been giving a miss for some time for this very reason.
    I expect the ABC to provide a professional NEWS service. I can get better Infomercials or Infotainment anywhere else.
    A terrible state of affair indeed.

  10. Gocomsys

    Good to see deep intelligent and well phrased commentary.

    “The Taxpayers own the ABC and they allow people walking with their remotes.”

    “On the Rooty Hill escapade Lanor get smacked!”

    “Pretty to watch.”

    Insightful contributions are so rare these days!

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