The administrator of the National Indigenous Times is hopeful the publication will survive, telling Crikey there have been several expressions of interest into buying the paper, and its current directors are still keen to try to buy back the company if they can.
“Various options are available and various people are interested,” Liam Bailey of O’Brien Palmer said yesterday after parent company Destiny Publisher’s first meeting of creditors. The company was placed into voluntary administration nearly a fortnight ago in order to avoid a wind-up order filed by high-end law firm Gilbert + Tobin over unpaid an unpaid legal bill. Administrators are hopeful of paying this bill “in due course”.
Two other legal actions led to the company being placed into administration. The first was an unfair dismissal case against the company by former editor Stephen Hagan, with Gilbert + Tobin hired by Destiny Publications to defend the case. The second was a defamation case heard in the Western Australian Supreme Court.
The first edition of the paper for 2015 is due on Monday, and barring delays of “a day or two”, it will be published as usual with its regular contributors and editorial team. “It’s still our intention to publish,” Bailey said. “The publication’s going ahead — business as usual.”
Destiny Publishers holds a small amount of debt — some of it loaned to the company by director and owner John Rowsthorne, and the rest owed to trade creditors who weren’t paid as the company struggled to meet its legal costs. But it does make a profit, and Crikey understands its current owners are still keen to retain ownership if they can, either through a deed of company arrangement or a buyback offer.
The National Indigenous Times is Australia’s most awarded indigenous publication, having won a Walkley Award for indigenous coverage in 2005 as well as a Walkley high commendation the year before. In more recent years, it’s received several gongs from the Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards.