The current Charter of Editorial Independence for the SMH and Age states that the owner / proprietor should not interfere in the decisions of the editors. In effect it makes the editor in chief the dictator of the contents of the newspaper. I’m not sure why such a thing is considered sacrosanct – is an editor likely to be less biased than a proprietor?
Anyhow, Gina could make herself the editor in chief at the combined SMH/Age and then be abiding by the Charter.
Victorian Labor MP Steve Gibbons wants the Government to regulate the newspapers – he says that they have failed in their social license to operate.
What rubbish – as mentioned in Catallaxy, the primary role of a newspaper is to maximise the profits for given risk. If the owners want to subsidise certain activities, that their business. But it is not the business of government.
The greatest threat to freedom of speech comes from the likes of Gibbons who has now lost his social license to be an MP.
Then Wayne Swan said of the failure to sign a Charter of Editorial Independence
I think that has very big implications for our democracy. I think we should all be very concerned at this turn of events.
Swan’s comments are a classic example of executive overreach. They are inappropriate and reflect poorly on his office. I guess that they are consistent with Gillard and Swan lecturing G20 leaders. That was a diplomatic disaster.