#australia #media – Fwd: Growing concentration of ownership “toxic” to the media – WA Senator

Growing concentration of ownership “toxic” to the media – WA Senator

Media Release: Senator Scott Ludlam, Tuesday January 31st, 2012

The Greens today warned that the growing concentration of media ownership was dangerous to the integrity of public debate in Australia in the wake of billionaire Gina Rinehart’s attempt to gain a greater share of Fairfax Media.

The Greens communications spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said the mining magnate’s ten percent share of Channel Ten combined with a 14 percent share of Fairfax would give her “a potent degree of influence over public debate”.

“Gina Rinehart already has a seat as a director – along with Lachlan Murdoch – of Channel Ten. If successful in this bid she will add a boardroom seat at Fairfax to her collection.

“Mrs Rinehart campaigned fiercely against the Mining Tax and, to protect her own commercial interests, helped derail a policy that would have benefitted Australian small businesses and the general public.

“Mrs Rinehart has reportedly indicated a desire to have more influence over national affairs. After taking a bite out of Channel Ten, a statement from her company Hancock Prospecting declared it was ‘interested in making an investment towards the media business given its importance to the nation’s future’. Her intentions seem clear.

“Australian laws against concentration of ownership in the media were gutted by the Howard Government and are now far too weak. This trend towards a handful of individuals owning vast swathes of the fourth estate is unhealthy for democracy. The Australian Greens will be working hard to get this phenomenon in check.”

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

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