Fair Go Fairfax

Fair Go Fairfax

image of Fair Go Fairfax

Nine Entertainment Co.’s proposed $2billion-plus takeover of Fairfax Media will change the face of Australia’s media forever.

It will create a cross-platform media behemoth that reaches every corner of our nation, and which controls newspapers, television and radio stations in our two largest cities.

The Federal Government’s changes to media ownership laws in 2017 mean that media companies now have few barriers to takeovers. The result imperils our what is left of media diversity, with fewer voices, especially in the area of Australian and local content.

There is no question that the Nine takeover of Fairfax will ...

Nine Entertainment Co.’s proposed $2billion-plus takeover of Fairfax Media will change the face of Australia’s media forever.

It will create a cross-platform media behemoth that reaches every corner of our nation, and which controls newspapers, television and radio stations in our two largest cities.

The Federal Government’s changes to media ownership laws in 2017 mean that media companies now have few barriers to takeovers. The result imperils our what is left of media diversity, with fewer voices, especially in the area of Australian and local content.

There is no question that the Nine takeover of Fairfax will reduce diversity in Australia’s media, which is already one of the most concentrated in the democratic world.

There are also genuine concerns about what it will mean for independent journalism, for the future of 160 community, regional and rural publications around Australia, and for the jobs and conditions of thousands of Fairfax employees. Under the takeover, it is not even clear what the future will be for the Fairfax metropolitan titles like the Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age, or the Australian Financial Review.

For these reasons, MEAA has been calling for a robust and transparent public inquiry into the takeover.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is conducting an “informal review” of the to determine whether it complies with section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (read more here).

The ACCC is giving all Australians an opportunity to comment on the takeover. Submissions are due by September 7.

Given the ramifications of this takeover, it is important that the ACCC hears from the audiences and consumers of Nine and Fairfax’s products.

To help with your submission, MEAA has created this portal where you can record your comments. When you click submit, your comments will be forwarded to the ACCC as an email.

Fair Go Fairfax is a campaign of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

 

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Petition to the CEO of Fairfax Media

Sign a petition to the CEO of Fairfax Media to show you support local journalism.

Dear Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax Media,

As readers and supporters of vibrant local newspapers, we condemn the announcement by the Australian Community Media arm of Fairfax that it intends to cut 37 positions from The Newcastle Herald and 46 editorial positions in total from the Newcastle region.

Local communities need strong local media outlets; and that requires investment in quality journalism. The Newcastle Herald has a long and proud reputation for informing and advocating for residents of Newcastle and the Hunter region.

Just two years ago, the hard work and commitment of Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy, and the support from the Newcastle editorial team, was instrumental in the establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sex and the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into matters relating to certain child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. Joanne’s work won her the top honour in Australian journalism, the 2013 Gold Walkley.

In that light, it defies belief that the company intends to go ahead with such a short-sighted cost-cutting exercise that can only weaken the quality of the journalism currently being produced by journalists at the masthead. The severity of these cuts is devastating, both for the Newcastle readership and for the talented, dedicated news staff losing their jobs.

We call on the company to act smarter, to engage with staff to find sensible ways to reduce costs and work better without undermining the newspaper. Weakening a masthead is a grave disservice to the local community and only goes to make a bad situation worse. The Newcastle and Hunter Valley editorial staff, journalists and photographers and production staff, have years of experience that is a valuable resource that should not be blithely dismissed.

We call on Fairfax to reaffirm the company’s commitment to quality journalism by ensuring these newsrooms are adequately staffed and resourced to do their job – the pursuit of independent, ethical, quality journalism relevant to their readership.

We call on the company to consult in good faith with members at the Newcastle mastheads affected by these cuts and to work with staff to draft a sustainable business model that delivers for the Newcastle community and that invests in quality journalism and secures the future of the Fairfax brand.