Monday, September 19, 2011

The Media Inquiry - 3

It is truly remarkable the extent to which the history of media policy or the economics of media can be misconstrued.

Today Bruce Guthrie asserts that the Keating/Hawke media ownership law changes were what permitted the Murdoch acquisition of the Herald and Weekly Times. This is sheer nonsense because Federal law doesn't control how much print media anyone can own - only how much electronic media they can own if they own print media.

The Hawke/Keating laws forced Murdoch to choose between newspapers and television in Australia, and he chose print. And despite the assertions that electronic media is more influential - it is through print that Murdoch wields influence. That's in part because a lot of electronic news is still news about what was in print.

Richard Alston shows he is all lawyer and nothing else when he writes;

There are no barriers to entry into the Australian print media, so there is no reason why Graeme Wood, with his fortune of $380 million, who gave the Greens $1.6 million at the last election, couldn't round up a few mates and offer a Brown/Green view of the world.

There are no legislative barriers to entry, but there certainly are commercial/economic ones, like the cost to establish a printing facility. As I've suggested creating a single shared printing (and distribution) facility could significantly reduce those barriers.

More interestingly Graeme Wood could approach News Limited to print a national paper and see what reaction he gets. Would there be a case like Queensland Wire in it?

But I think the prize has to go to Chris Kenny in the Oz who opines that it is not News Limited who are biased against the Government, only everyone else who is biased in favour of it.

I think the piece goes to far by saying of the ABC's Insiders;

A new arrival in Australia would have been left with the impression that Tony Abbott is an objectionable opportunist blocking a government's mandate to impose a carbon tax and send asylum-seekers to Malaysia.

The bad news is that much of his own party sees Mr Abbott as an objectionable opportunist. Mandate is a messy word - but trashing the traditions of the Parliament over "pairs" is an attempt to deny the Government its votes.

But the crushing point is that the Government failing to win a vote when pairs have been denied, or even losing a vote of confidence when pairs have been denied, would be insufficient for the Governor-General to withdraw the PM's mandate.

The media inquiry is doing two things. Firstly it is questioning whether there is adequate mechanism for redress about reporting in the print media. Secondly it is questioning whether there is anything Government can do to assist in ensuring an ongoing strong investigative media.

The first ToR would be unnecessary if Richard Alston had acted on his own side's recommendation to form a Media Complaints Commission. The second ToR is the complete opposite of threatening the media.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

No comments: