In the frenzy over the corona virus in the media over the last two months, one could be forgiven for missing an important announcement that AAP (Australian Associated Press) was to close in June of this year.
What is AAP I hear you say?
AAP is an Australian news agency that was established by Sir Keith Murdoch (Ruperts daddy) in 1935. It employs approximately 170 journalists in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Its prime purpose is to provide unbiased (breaking) news stories for news outlets in Australia. All major papers including the Shepparton News use AAP stories and photos on a regular basis.
Below is a link to an opinion piece by Ross McPherson on AAP's demise.
In early March the owners of AAP, (News Corp 45%, Nine Entertainment Group 47% and Seven West Media 7% ) announced that AAP was to be shut down on 26th of June this year. This news coming on top of the fact that over the last couple of years approximately 2 newsrooms per week around the world have been shutting their doors, the takeover of Fairfax (publisher of "The Age" and "Sydney Morning Herald") by Channel 9 and the effective closure of many regional papers (such as the Sunraysia Daily) is a dangerous escalation of the concentration of media power into the hands of a few big operators.
I know that many people now get their news from Facebook, Google, You Tube etc. but these online platforms are poorly regulated and the source of much of what the "Pussy Grabber" calls "Fake News".
In Australia approximately 70% of the country's media is controlled by the climate denying, conservative behemoth that is News Corp.
In Queensland most major papers are News Corp publications. The Courier Mail, Sunshine Coast Daily, Townsville Bulletin, Cairns Post, Toowoomba Chronicle to name a few. No wonder Queenslanders vote for the likes of George "the member for Manilla" Christiansen, Bob Katter, Pauline Hanson, Malcolm "empirical evidence" Roberts, Matt Caravan and Clive Palmer.
The dominance of News Corp, the dumbing down of once proud mastheads like The Age, the death by 1000 cuts of the ABC and the closure of many regional papers is a very serious threat to our democracy.
When the ABC is gone (and believe me the LNP are working very hard to ensure that), your regional paper goes under and your national media is dominated by one player who is going to report on
- the latest Border Force push to further curtail your freedoms,
- the colourful crooks in your town,
- the sensitive court cases,
- the dodgy dealings in your local council
One day we will wake up and think " How did we get here?"