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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Free trade and Media « Previous | |Next »
March 25, 2004

The Howard Government is now under an obligation to shape its economy and mode of governance to fit in with the Americans. The Americans see the Free Trade Agreement as opening markets to the benefit American businesses. That increased access means a more open competitive economy, less barriers to American firms, greater business integration and removing state monopolies and state enterprises.

So what does that mean for the media? It means a more rigorous competition policy. What does that mean in this context?

It would mean dismantling the restrictive cross-media laws which stop companies owning newspapers and a television network in the one capital city.

We can gain some some further insight into this from a story in the Australian Financial Review by Jennifer Hewett and Toni O'Loughlin(subscription required, 25 03 04, p. 1) it means forcing Telstra to diverst itself of its 50% share of Foxtel and allowing Murdock (News Corp) and its PBL partner to acquire that share and gain control of a pay television monopoly in Australia. So there would be greater concentration of media ownership as the two main players get bigger and bigger and dominate the content side of the media.

Is not the alliance between News and PBL the antithesis of competition?

Labor has previously blocked these big moves by the Howard Government in the Senate. Australia has successfully blocked Murdoch's expansion into the electronic media with the exception of the 25% ownership of Foxtel.

But would Labor deliver on the big media moves when it is in Government? Will it allow the cross media laws to crumble?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:00 AM | | Comments (4)


So, is the word on the street correct? Are you working for Meg Lees or her party?

You don't need a weather man to tell you which way the wind blows.

According to your mob living out on desolation row they reckon I'm a member of the public service and the new ambassador to the US.

Just as well we have the Internet. Can you imagine living in Australian cities and towns, other than Melbourne and Sydney, and only having access to one daily newspaper - one owned by News Corp?

Okay, Gary. I don't know exactly what that means, but I'll take it as a "yes".

As for living on desolation row ... you live in Adelaide, right?