Regardless of what you think of the media, you may have found this ongoing news story interesting. Here’s Newsweek’s overview:
Gina Rinehart, an iron-ore heiress worth $18 billion, recently acquired nearly a fifth of all shares in Fairfax, Australia’s largest media conglomerate, and is demanding the right to hire and fire editorial staff (in addition to three seats on the Fairfax board and the deputy chairman’s position). She is also adamantly opposed to signing the company’s charter of editorial independence. (Emphasis mine.)
Normally I’m all about strong women (I’m a strong woman). But I’m not so sure about this one. The Telegraph says:
The world’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has publicly threatened to sell her stake in Fairfax, Australia’s oldest media company unless she is allowed direct influence over editorial decisions. [She] has branded herself as a “white knight” trying to rescue the ailing … Fairfax Media. Mrs Rinehart recently moved to a 19 per cent stake in the company, just short of the 20 per cent mark at which she would have to launch a formal takeover bid. She has been vying for three board seats but has insisted that she should not have to abide by the company’s charter of editorial independence. (Emphasis mine.)
It’s turned into quite a slugfest. The Fairfax board of directors is refusing to allow her any seats on the board, let alone the three she is demanding. Australia’s acting prime minister, Wayne Swan, called on Rinehart to “explain to the Australian people what her intentions are,” adding that her position had “very big implications for our democracy,” according to Newsweek. And in the latest chapter of he said/she said, Rinehart says none of this has to do with a power grab; she just wants the stock price to improve.
Yes, it’s happening in Australia. But the death of an independent press diminishes all of us. Keep an eye on this one, kids. (Wonder if there’s an interesting novel in this?)
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