The Rinehart Herald?
5:03 PM (43 minutes ago)
This morning Fairfax Media announced a radical overhaul of its businesses, with an estimated 1900 jobs to be lost.
The news of the restructure comes at a time when the future of Fairfax is under threat from Gina Rinehart who just purchased some 142 million additional shares in Fairfax, as part of her campaign to obtain two seats on the company’s board. It brings her total stake to 18.6% – ever closer to the maximum allowed before a shareholder must make an official takeover bid.1
What’s so worrying about this? Even Rinehart’s closest advisors, including those who are tipped to join her on the Fairfax board, have revealed their vision for the company: that the way to increase profits is conservative editorial direction, not responsible and independent journalism.
We think Fairfax’s customers disagree. As the board considers Gina Rinehart’s bid for a seat on the board – and her vision for the company – let’s tell the Fairfax board: we buy Fairfax’s papers because of their commitment to editorial independence, and that independence must be defended:
Jack Cowin, a close advisor to Rinehart, her colleague on the Channel 10 board, and the person tipped to join her on the board of Fairfax if her bid is successful2, told ABC radio two weeks ago: “the Fairfax board should have the right to change the editorial direction of the company if it would increase profit” and “Gina Rinehart would have a stronger right-wing view than probably the average liberal journalist.”3
In short, Gina Rinehart’s closest allies think Fairfax should be about pure profit – and that the way to increase profits is conservative editorial direction, not responsible and independent journalism.
A press that is independent, not just from governments but from vested corporate interests, is essential to our democracy. The Fairfax board has strongly resisted moves by Gina Rinehart for board positions, but with every share she buys it becomes harder for them to deny her a seat on the board. The only way to match her billions of dollars is by making our voices as consumers heard. If we come together to tell the Fairfax board not to give in, to protect the independent Fairfax papers, we can help protect the quality journalism know and love.
Thanks for standing up,
The GetUp Team
1 ‘Rinehart confirms Fairfax raid’, Sally Jackson. The Australian June 18, 2012
2 ‘Gina Rinehart lifts stake in Fairfax to 15% as pressure for board seats builds’, Kirsty Simpson. Sydney Morning Herald June 15, 2012
3 Audio transcript “Just a matter of time before Rinehart on Fairfax board: Jack Cowin”, ABC, 5 June, 2012 6:51PM
GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you’d like to contribute to help fund GetUp’s work, please donate now! If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au. To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here. Authorised by Simon Sheikh, Level 2, 104 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010