Fairfax chairman urges government to take action on media reform

CorbettFairfax chairman Roger Corbett has again called on the government to move on the issue of media regulation arguing that the current system fails to meet the needs of the industry or community.

Fairfax has made its position absolutely clear, said Corbett. “The archaic media ownership restrictions currently in place in Australia are outdated and outmoded by technological change and shifts in how consumers now source their news and information,” he said.

“The legislation simply does not meet the current needs of the industry or the community. I will go further and say it restricts a modern media industry and fails Australian consumers.”

Corbett told the audience at the Fairfax annual general meeting that the current legislation needed to be revised and that the government should take leadership.

“We believe there needs to be decisive leadership shown by the government on this important issue,” he said. “The status quo is not good enough for the overwhelming majority of the industry – more particularly the Australian consumer – and therefore should not be good enough for the Australian Government.

“This is about doing the right thing for the country. There will be inevitable disinvestment in the sector if the legislation doesn’t change and that has potential consequences for the quality of information that flows to the Australian people.

“Australia will be left floundering well behind the rest of the world which is sprinting to keep up with global demands for better, faster and broader forms of media communication.”

Corbett is one of a number of major media figures who in recent months have called on the Federal Government to act on media reform. Others backing change include Nine CEO David Gyngell and ASTRA chair Tony Shepherd.

Corbett was today reelected chairman of Fairfax but confirmed that he would step down during his term. “I have informed the Board that if I am reelected at this AGM I would expect in the normal course of our succession plan to hand over the Chairmanship during this term and retire as a director,” he said.

Major shareholder Gina Rinehart voted against the reelection of director Todd Sampson, the remuneration bonuses for CEO Greg Hywood and also a bid by shareholder activist Stephen Mayne for the board of Fairfax.

Nic Christensen 


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