Paul Keating on the Nine-Fairfax merger: Today’s merger means that in future, the big dogs of Australian media will operate as a pack

The kind of merger announced today between Channel Nine and Fairfax was bound to happen the moment the cross-media legislation introduced by the Hawke government 30 years ago was suspended.

The so-called cross-media rule gave Australia 30 years of media diversity, especially between Australia’s major television networks and its capital city print.

Those barriers in the wholesaling of news, underwrote diversity of opinion, guaranteeing an altogether better informed and livelier public debate.

The absence of those legislative barriers, in the media free-for-all, the Turnbull government is permitting, will, because of the broadly maintained power of those outlets, result in an effective and dramatic close down in diversity and with it, opinion.

It is true that the technology has brought myriad voices to a public eager for diversity of information. But the atomisation of web-based content, much of it other than local, cannot in terms of impact, be compared with the big local media players, particularly in consolidations of the kind announced today.

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Source: Paul Keating on the Nine-Fairfax merger: For the country, this is a great pity’