The Billion Dollar Woman [BCM110]

As the battle for media ownership in Australia intensifies, one person has now made a push to battle for a say about the Australian economy and its direction.

This current major investment by mining magnate, Gina Rinehart is set to throw the debate about Australia’s economy into overdrive.

For those of you who don’t know about Gina, she is daughter of the late mining magnate Lang Hancock and has an estimated worth, recently announced by Forbes magazine of 18.1 billion dollars.

A very successful business woman in her own right, Gina has recently increased her share in Fairfax Media (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age) to over 14%  to make her the group’s largest non-institutional investor.

This decision to no surprise, has brought about intense media scrutiny, with both print, screen and citizen journalism discussing what this could possibly mean for the future of Australian broadcasting.

Evidently, Fairfax Media’s main rival New Limited (Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun) have been circulating news stories to discredit Ms Rinehart since her push to gain political clout in the pages of Australia’s leading newspaper.

With an active voice, could Ms Reinhart’s latest 300 million dollar investment be more about political power than we think?

Will Fairfax journalists be forced to write in the interest of Ms Reinhart’s opinions?

Former host of the ABC’s Media Watch program and renowned journalist, Paul Barry believes that “I would think that she’s most unlikely to be able to sway the editorial policies of the newspaper and to slant it in a different direction. I don’t think she’ll have that many friends inside the boardroom anyway, and I think there’s always been a huge tradition of independence at Fairfax newspapers, and any board is gonna find it difficult to tell the editor and the staff what to do. And I don’t think it’s gonna be united board behind Gina, frankly”

Even so. With media ownership on the Governments radar, a public interest test for future transactions is being considered.

What are your thoughts on this latest investment? Is the future of the Australian media in good hands?