The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Brilliant Crikey editorial: media public interest test belongs in Russia/China (and our owners discuss editorial!)

Brilliant stuff from Crikey today. I wonder whether this is Bernard Keane...See also the vigorous debate on press freedom taking place at the end of my ABC Drum column today.

What’s the public interest?
Friday, 29 June 2012

Federal cabinet, we are reliably informed, is about to approve and present to Parliament “a tough public interest test for media ownership” which, apparently, will be applied to future media mergers and acquisitions.

Presumably this is intended to quash questionable characters who want to impose their unsavoury views on media they own, or want to own. Or on recalcitrant would-be media barons who won’t sign a charter of editorial independence crafted by well-meaning journalists who take editorial responsibility for what they write, but no responsibility for the commercial outcome of what they produce. Or media investors who have the temerity to discuss editorial matters in the company boardroom (like — dare we admit it — we do here at Crikey).

The mindless paranoia hovering over the current federal government about the state of the media is not just hollow and thoughtless, it also attacks the responsibility governments have for protecting democracy.

There are countries where governments regulate the “public interest” of media ownership. They are called Russia and China.