So what should be done about the rolling crises washing over what remains of the Australian media? Rupert Murdoch has been up to his neck in the elevation and removal of Australian prime ministers for the better part of a decade. The ABC has seen the conservatives politicise its board, demolish its funding and pressure its management to get rid of troublesome journalists. And now we face the prospect of the disappearance of Australia’s longest, independent print masthead (Fairfax) as it is consumed by a television company (Nine) which is chaired by Peter Costello.
If ever there was a case for a full royal commission into the abuse of media power in Australia, it is now. A free media is the lifeblood of a democracy. But media freedom in Australia is now under structural threat from a combination of extreme ideological conservatism, fuelled by rampant commercial interests.