It is a tragedy that the Fairfax group have fallen on hard times and seem destined to be run by the right-wing philistine Gina Rinehart. The Fairfax press – despite imperfections associated particularly with The Age – still represents the best quality media in this country. This will mean that most of the print (and a large part of the electronic media) in this country will express the views of NewsCorp and Gina Rinehart. Newscorp’s The Australian and The Telegraph see Andrew Bolt (and his feeble-minded ilk in the IPA) as a major force for social intelligence in Australia. Rinehart sponsors the mad Lord Monckton to deliver his version of climate change denialist madness to the Australian people. A society which informed by the ignorant will necessarily fail to realise its potential.
We need to somehow preserve freedom from government control of the media but simultaneously insure that a diversity of media views based on rationality (not narrow right-wing prejudice) are expressed. Its a tricky one but the moves now in play with repeat to Fairfax and Rinehart will mean that very soon the Australian media will be ruled by a bunch of buffoons who espouse crass ignorance. We need intelligence and diversity. I would introduce laws now to thwart Rinehard’s ownership ambitions and introduce policies which encourage competition and diversity in this vital sector of the economy. (1475)