Let’s drop the pretence that there is freedom of the press in Australia.
Let’s also recognise that the Rupert Rinehart media future is anti-democratic and a threat to our collective rights as citizens to have freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
Make no mistake, the Rupert Rinehart media want it all for themselves. Their freedom of the press comes at the expense of our freedom of thought and our freedom of action.
It is a nonsense to pretend that a Gina Rinehart controlled Fairfax represents the exercise of free speech just as it is bullshit to argue that New Limited is a paradigm example of freedom of expression in action.
Murdoch sets the tone at News Limited and it is he alone who has freedom of speech across his newspaper titles. His minions either carry out his wishes or find themselves another job.
If Rinehart gets her way – and she will – then it is she who will set the editorial tone across the Fairfax titles. Her interest in Fairfax is not commercial, its political. The idea that she is a white knight who will turn around the fortunes of the failing company is a fairy tale.
‘What’s the problem?’ the free speech fundamentalists will ask. They will answer for themselves. The owner of the business, or in Gina’s case, the major shareholder, has the right to set the editorial line.
‘After all, it is their paper to command.’ The fundamentalists will then cross their arms with a smug smile of the self-satisfying undergraduate mass debater plastered across their chops.
Unfortunately, this argument is jibber jabber of the worst order.