The damage one company can do to a democracy.
MAY 30, 2020
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The inherent danger of having so much of the nation’s news media controlled by one family, whose company is based in another country, is on full display.

The closure of more than 100 News Corp newspapers in Queensland and NSW — some completely, others moved to digital-only — is a cruel blow to the communities affected and the hundreds of people who are about to lose their jobs.

In regional areas the media is a force of social cohesion, a place where important conversations start. The even bigger tragedy here is, of course, the question of accountability: who will hold local councils to account, or attend the courts?

As Crikey noted this week, News Corp’s moves demonstrate the extraordinary power of one company — and one family — to decimate a large slice of a country’s news in a single media release. A company worth billions, run from New York, has wielded a knife through large swathes of Australian democracy. And, aside from a few murmurs from National MPs, law-makers have little to say about it and apparently no will or power to act.

The news business is tough, and News Corp is a business, not a charity. It is not the ABC. But these closures reveal just how fragile the news media is — and how vulnerable the fourth estate and all its public interest functions are to Rupert Murdoch, his family and their lieutenants.

Crikey has been writing about the danger of media concentration for years. Now, it is plain for everyone to see. We take no pleasure in seeing newspapers close. If anything, it makes us even more determined to ensure that with your help, independent media, such as Crikey, will be around for many years to come.

With that in mind, please enjoy a selection of the best of Crikey’s week, starting with our coverage of the News Corp decision. We hope you stay with us in this fight.

Have a great weekend,

Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

 
Dark day for journalism as Murdoch’s global empire sells democracy down the river

ERIC BEECHER and PETER FRAY 2 minute read

Today's News Corp cuts represent an enormous threat to Australian democracy ⁠— and a grim reminder of the power of a single family.

News Corp axes print titles, jobs as regional news media hits crisis point

GEORGIA WILKINS and AMBER SCHULTZ 3 minute read

More than 100 regional and suburban News Corp titles will no longer be printed under drastic cuts announced today.

Time to confront the truth of the dying news: it has never been in demand

GUY RUNDLE 8 minute read

News media has long believed its own myth: that it is something people desperately want but are now being denied.

The day newspapers died: don’t expect the survivors to last long

CHRISTOPHER WARREN 3 minute read

Despite News Corp's intentions to use digital news and state-based tabloids to balance regional closures, the initiative won't survive the disruption of news media.

Closures and cuts herald a black day in the bush. So where are the Nationals?
If this isn’t a cause that needs agitation from Nationals MPs, it’s hard to know what would be. The Nationals have proven adept at rorting regional grants programs in their own political interests. It’s time to apply some of that skill at manipulating taxpayer funding to ensure regional media continues to exist. — Bernard Keane

Regional media desperately needs more support from the Nationals, who have secured only limited funding compared to what’s available for other regional services.

Class Warriors

Revealed: how class action warrior Christian Porter fudges the facts to create a legal crisis

DAVID HARDAKER 6 minute read

In a three-part series, Inq reveals the powerful friends of government pushing for class action reform.

Pandering to the base leaves key facts by the wayside in class action battle

DAVID HARDAKER 4 minute read

The government's media and business allies say there's been an 'explosion' in class action litigation. The numbers paint a very different picture.

Some justice is better than none: the case for litigation funding

DAVID HARDAKER 4 minute read

While the government moves to restrict the activities of litigation funders, what alternative is there for the Davids who are taking on the Goliaths of the government or big business?

Royal commissions provide a clue on how to fix class actions

MICHAEL BRADLEY 4 minute read

Class actions consume much of the bandwidth of the court system. Is it time for a different approach?

 
When a media giant falls in the forest, everybody hears — and suffers

GLENN DYER 4 minute read

News Corp Australia has been in strife for a while. The COVID-19 pandemic has just been the final nail.

Hope comes in the form of a local terrier

CAROL ALTMANN 3 minute read

It's a dark time for regional media. But one small publisher has hope.

Don’t call it ‘slow TV’: The Beach is the meditative show we need

STEPHEN BROOK 4 minute read

Welcome to The Beach: three hours of meditative television, where so little happens — but so much.

Is working from home a craven surrender to capitalism or a subversive act?

BERNARD KEANE 5 minute read

Some say working from home is the ultimate expression of capitalism, as employers colonise our domestic space. But working from home also has the potential to send a deep shudder through capitalism.

Do we need to cut Australia’s immigration, even if that hurts the economy?

3 minute read

The coronavirus crisis has again raised the question of Australia's reliance on immigration. We ask our commentators whether immigration should be substantially cut, even if it hurts the economy.

Blunder? What blunder? Good news on JobKeeper opens ways for further stimulus

BERNARD KEANE 4 minute read

Put together in haste for a catastrophe that didn't quite eventuate, the overestimated JobKeeper program can now be adjusted to boost the recovery.

‘Unfit’, rinse, repeat: how the industrial relations debate ignores the evidence (again)

BERNARD KEANE 4 minute read

The biggest changes in the 'not fit for purpose' IR system have disadvantaged workers and empowered employers. Shame journalists keep forgetting that.

 
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