This week, Green Left Weekly’s Jay Fletcher interviewed me about the big job cuts and changes in the Australian corporate media.
In the interview, I talk about how the biggest shareholder in Fairfax and richest woman in Australia, Gina Reinhart has refused to sign the Fairfax Charter of Editorial Independence.
Here is what the Charter says:
1. That the proprietor(s) publicly declare a commitment to the fundamental and longstanding principle of editorial independence.
2. That the proprietor(s) acknowledge that journalists, artists and photographers must record the affairs of the city, state, nation and the world fairly, fully and regardless of any commercial, political or personal interests, including those of any proprietors, shareholders or board members.
3. That editorial staff shall not be required to work other than in accordance with the Australian Journalists’ Association code of ethics.
4. That full editorial control of the newspapers, within a negotiated, fixed budget, be vested with the editors of the papers and that the editors alone shall determine the daily editorial content of the newspapers.
5. That the editors alone shall hire, fire and deploy editorial staff.
6. That the editors shall not sit on the board of the owning company or companies, or any non-publishing subsidiary companies, and shall not be directly responsible to the board but to its appointed management.
7. That the editors must at all times carry out their duties in a way that preserves the independence and integrity of the mastheads.
Adopted by Age staff, March 28, 1988
Adopted by the Board of John Fairfax Limited, May 2, 1988
Adopted by Sunday Age staff, December 1990
Adopted by The Sydney Morning Herald, Sun-Herald and Australian Financial Review staff, February 21, 1991