Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam today launched a campaign urging the Government to strengthen media cross ownership laws and protect diversity in the Australian mass media.
Senator Ludlam said the recent Fairfax raid by mining billionaire Gina Rinehart was just an example of the ongoing concentration of media ownership in Australia.
"This is not about Mrs Rinehart's personal world view. It's about the mass media in Australia being run by a tiny handful of people which is getting smaller and smaller."
"Eleven of Australia's twelve capital city daily papers are owned by either Fairfax or Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd. The remaining newspaper is effectively controlled by the owner of Channel Seven. It stands to reason that the concentration of media ownership in this country has gone far enough."
"Disturbingly, Australia is already ranked 30th in the world for press freedom. By comparison, Canada is 10th and New Zealand is 13th." (Reporters Without Borders - Press Freedom Index 2011/2012)
Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has bought almost 14% of Fairfax Media, adding to her 10% stake in Channel Ten. The reach of Fairfax extends beyond the city mastheads the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age into regional towns right across Australia.
"The weakening of Australia's media ownership laws by the Howard Government has had a negative impact on the integrity of public debate in Australia, a situation that will worsen if further concentration of ownership is permitted."
"With the support of the Australian Greens, the Government can take the urgent action required to protect diversity in media ownership in Australia. We have asked the Australian people to write to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy through our website - http://www.greensmps.org.au/media-ownership - to urge him to take action before it is too late."
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302