Jeremy Sear reckons the Australian print media is not free because – wait for it – it is owned by shareholders:
The thing that strikes me as most absurd about it is that we don’t have a free press now. Does anyone really believe that journalists working for News Ltd are free agents, able to hold anyone to account, regardless of their commercial links with their employer, or their employer’s political view on a subject? Or those at Fairfax? Newspapers are owned by billionaires – and corporate shareholders whose stake is built on, for example, the superannuation of ordinary Australians, but where the interests of the board who make the decisions are quite distinct from those of those whose money they control. Can anyone seriously deny that the newspapers with the biggest reach push the interests of the establishment?
Presumably then the left-leaning ABC is the only free major media out there. No shareholders there!
It’d be lovely if we did have a genuinely free press to defend, but we don’t. They don’t call truth to power – they call power to truth.
Not true. In fact, one of Jeremy major gripes with the News Ltd papers is that he thinks they have been far too critical of the Labor-Greens federal government. Jeremy is fine with scrutiny of his beloved Greens – as long as that scrutiny is not highly critical of them.
If the public discourse is so dependent on being honestly informed of the facts, then why shouldn’t there be some standards to which these powerful organs of news be held?
The laws of defamation do protect individuals and organisations from attacks on their reputations based on untrue or unprovable assertions. Meanwhile no one can seriously deny that governments and political parties are able to defend themselves against criticisms. Governments in particular have influence over the Press Gallery, an army of spin doctors and access to taxpayers money in order to “inform” the voters.
This blog has already highlighted how Jeremy uses such weasel words and motherhood statements in order to promote and yet conceal the Green’s sinister agenda of licensing print media and imposing tough controls on their freedom. It appears that he’s at it again.
Moreover, it does not appear to have occurred to Jeremy that private media organisations need to give their readers what they want and are driven by that requirement precisely because they are accountable to shareholders and exist to make a profit. They cannot satisfy readers by actively protecting the interests of the rich and powerful.