Oz journos worried about Fairfax's editorial independence post mining magnate stake
Sydney, June 19 (ANI): Australian publisher Fairfax Media's journalists have made public a letter sent to mining magnate and the world's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, asking that she commit to upholding the media organisation's editorial independence.
Senior journalists from the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times raised fears that they will become 'propagandists for the mineral council' if Rinehart joins the Fairfax board without signing the media company's Charter of Editorial Independence.
The letter noted media reports that Rinehart, who now holds 18.67 per cent of Fairfax, had been refused a board position because she would not sign Fairfax's Charter of Editorial Independence, News.com.au reports.
"The reports suggesting you might not support the Charter of Editorial Independence have caused considerable disquiet among staff," the letter dated June 7 said.
"We would like you to give us an assurance you do support the principles set out in the Charter of Editorial Independence and, in the event you join the Fairfax board, you will agree to uphold them," the letter said.
"Such an assurance would go a long way to reassuring the staff who produce the publications in which you have such a substantial investment," it added.
The independence charter, which was created in 1988, says that any proprietor allow journalists to report regardless of the political, personal or commercial interests of proprietors, shareholders or board members.
The move came after Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Rinehart is entitled to turn the Fairfax newspapers into 'the mining gazette.
He, however, warned her not to 'trash' the Fairfax Media brand for other shareholders. (ANI)
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