Fairfax and NZME should accept regulation

The Editor,  The Sunday Star Times,  Auckland

16 May, 2017

Dear Business Editor:

Business Editor Jane Atherton (7 May) notes that the rise of Google, Facebook and other social media have led to crippling declines in advertising revenue for print media. This seems to imply that media businesses like Fairfax and NZME should be able to overcome this threat by reworking their emphasis out of print and into digital.  But this fails to take into account that social media revenues are not primarily going to media companies but to big communication such as Google and Facebook which are not in the business of journalism.

Journalism is of great usefulness to democracies. But the journalism of Fairfax and NZME can only be considered both useful and businesses if there is competition.  In this situation both media companies and governments must work together to decide what kind of regulation will enhance that; a time honoured tradition actually.  To suggest ‘wholesale nationalization’ is the alternative, as Ms Atherton has done, reveals a tendency to view things as an authoritarian.   An authoritarian approach will end up leaving the play to the global giants like Google.

Richard Keller



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