Gina Rinehart is a mining heiress and the wealthiest person in Australia. Her fortune is worth an estimated $18-20 billion.
She has started to amass a big shareholding in the Fairfax Media group, which publishes the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review. The Fairfax group is one of Australia's two big news media groups. The other is Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd (which already owns 70% of Australian newspapers).
Ms Rinehart has many strong political opinions. She did not want to pay the mining tax and, with other mining moguls, forced the Rudd government to back down. Shortly after, Rudd was removed.
She supports ‘Special Economic Zones’ in Australia’s north where cheap labour can be imported and mining companies can get tax breaks. One of her advisers, John McRoberts, was once also an adviser to Pauline Hanson.
Rinehart sponsored a 2010 tour by the British climate sceptic “Lord’ Monckton. In a talk to a Perth meeting last year Monckton suggested that the ‘super-rich’ should buy up media companies to get their free market message out. She seems to have got the message.
Australian political life will be permanently biased and unbalanced with two highly political owners of newspapers. Newspapers continue to provide the key coverage of politics on which radio, TV and online depend.
If Gina Rinehart moves to control the Age, the Herald and the Financial Review it is vital that the public support the independence of the journalists and their ethical codes. Sign the petition and send Gina a message.
Our letter to you arises from your purchase of shares in Fairfax Media.
We are disturbed by the motives suggested by your statement that you are interested in the news media ‘given its importance to the nation’s future’. There are many different views on the nation’s future and it would be deeply undemocratic for one view to be imposed on the newspapers and their journalists.
As a new investor in the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald you should be aware that the quality of news, opinion and journalism on these newspapers is governed by the Fairfax Charter of Editorial Independence, http://bit.ly/zJL01U, as well as
codes of ethics published on the Fairfax Media website.
Fairfax Media has a history of the editorial part of the company being independent from the business part of the company, including the political opinions of its owners and board members.
We call on you to publicly endorse these codes of ethics and the editorial independence of these newspapers.
Fairfax Charter of Independence: http://bit.ly/zJL01U
Age code of conduct: http://www.theage.com.au/ethicsconduct.html
SMH code of ethics: