If you have been paying any sort of attention to the media or pub talk over the past week or so, you could easily be forgiven for think that we have a free and independent press in this country, and that a shareholder wanting to have a seat on the board is one of the greatest threats to democracy this country has ever seen.
Though is it really?
First of all, it shouldn’t be too strange to see that most of this is coming from the media itself, mimicked by boffins in government who like the things the way that they are. After all it is only the media themselves who believe that they are the Fourth Estate, boasting that the media’s function is to act as a guardian of the public interest and as a watchdog on the activities of government.
Putting aside any personal opinion that you may have of Gina Rinehart and her desire to get a seat or seats on the Fairfax board, lets look at this objectively and from another angle.
With the exception of the taxpayer funded ABC and SBS, and privately owned 9 Network, the other media outlets in this country are publicly listed companies. 11 out of 12 of Australia’s capital city daily newspapers are owned by either News Limited or Fairfax.
Why should we treated these media companies any differently than those other companies that are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange?