Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood has welcomed the federal government’s proposed media reforms over the weekend, however, he has a veiled dig at both sides of politics suggesting the policies should have been implemented a decade ago.
Writing in an opinion piece for Fairfax over the weekend (he probably needed to fill some space considering his journalists are all on strike), Hywood praised the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, for getting the reforms in front of parliament, but added the fact they’d taken so long showed Canberra “was out of touch”.
“The very fact it has taken 10 years for politics to catch up demonstrates what a gulf now divides the worlds of media and public policy-making,” Hywood penned in his opinion piece.
“Where media companies without exception grapple with structural changes that threaten their very existence, our policy makers seem to have little sense of the changing world,” he said.
Hywood argued the dilly dallying by politicians had meant that when the global players entered the Australian market over the past few years, the industry was ill-equipped to deal with their arrival.
He also used the piece to have a less than subtle dig at the new players, with particular venom for Facebook and Google.
“Google and Facebook hoover up the lions share of advertising in the Australian market, create no local content and pay little in taxes,” Hywood said. “By futzing around with notions of ‘diversity’ that were made irrelevant by the emergence of the internet in the 1990s our policy makers across all parties have threatened the depth and breadth of local news, information and entertainment in the years ahead.”
While praising the Turnbull government, Hywood savaged New Zealand’s government’s anti-competitive stance, namely Fairfax’s proposed merger with NZME.
And his striking journalists weren’t forgotten either, Hywood inferring that media ownership laws had restricted his business and forced them to cut staff. “Media companies want to produce more content not less, employ more journalists, developers, producers, actors, artists, not fewer,” he said.
You can read Hywood’s opinion piece in full here.