Journalists union welcomes draft decision to reject NZME-Fairfax merger

The journalists’ union, E tū has welcomed the draft determination by the Commerce Commission, rejecting the merger of NZME and Fairfax.

The draft determination says the Commission is not satisfied the merger wouldn’t substantially reduce competition in the New Zealand media market; nor that it would be in the public interest.

The Commission also cites concerns the merger would drive up prices for newspapers and advertising, and could compromise content quality.

The Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry said the merger would result in a media entity which controlled nearly 90% of New Zealand’s print media market – making this the second highest level of print media ownership in the world, behind only China.

E tū’s National Media Organiser, Paul Tolich says the concerns raised by the Commission echo E tū’s submission on the merger.

That includes the issue of reduced competition, which E tū’s journalist members believe could drive down quality and reduce media diversity, which is not in the public interest.

“Our members believe they made a strong case for rejecting this merger and now they feel they’ve been heard,” says Paul.

Paul says the comparison with China, in the event of any merger was also telling.

” A very powerful position has been stated about the Fourth Estate and the role of a free press to hold the powerful to account in our society,” he says.

“Our submission recognises that competition strengthens the news business, as does this draft determination.”

ENDS

For further information, contact

Paul Tolich E tū National Media Organiser ph. 0275 93 55 95