The Australian Greens have written to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Opposition spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull proposing that Parliament legislate to prevent media proprietors interfering in the editorial line of their media platforms.
"Both the Minister and shadow Minister have floated the idea that Ms Rinehart should sign a charter of editorial independence. In an age in which a tiny handful of powerful interests control a shrinking number of media voices, the question is why this should apply to Ms Rinehart only," said the Greens communications spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam.
"We concur with Senator Conroy and Mr Turnbull that Ms Rinehart's tilt at the Fairfax board presents a threat to the independence of the mastheads. There is a principle here that working journalists should not be forced to adopt the editorial line of their proprietor. We believe this principle should be applied fairly across the board."
"I don't want to wake up in Melbourne each morning to find my newspaper choice is between the views of Gina Rinehart and the views of Rupert Murdoch. Editorial independence needs to be protected by law," said Greens Deputy Leader and Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt.
Senator Ludlam said "a diverse and independent media is vital for a democratic society. A small number of individuals owning the vast proportion of our media and contorting the message in their own interests is unhealthy for democracy".
"The issues of concentration of ownership and editorial independence would have probably been confronted in the course of enacting the reforms in the convergence review, but Ms Rinehart's raid on Fairfax has forced the issue. There are a number of ways that this measure could be brought into effect, and the Greens are willing to work carefully with all parties to regulate in the public interest."