Media Ownership: Truth, Bias and Our Democracy

WED 24 NOVEMBER 2021, 7.30-8.45PM | ONLINE

Australia’s media ownership is among the most concentrated in the world, with just a handful of major publishers controlling the news that we read, watch and hear. Critics, including former prime ministers from both major parties, say this undermines our democracy by entrenching bias and giving a single company too much power over public opinion.

For our last event of 2021, North Sydney Conversations hosted former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes, AAP news wire boss Emma Cowdroy and independent publisher and former News Corp deputy editor Peter Fray for an inside look at the modern Australian media landscape. The conversation was moderated by Lane Cove’s own Walkley Award winning journalist Alan Sunderland.


  • Judith Neilson Institute [link]
    The Judith Neilson Institute supports quality journalism and informed debate through grants and education programs for journalists. The Institute is non-partisan, governed by an independent board, and supported by an International Advisory Council that helps connect it with journalists and media experts around the world.
  • The Walkley Foundation [link]
    The Walkley Foundation has celebrated and supported great Australian journalism since 1956. It benchmarks the industry standard for excellence through the Walkley Awards, and works independently with all media organisations to enable Australian journalists to tell stories of our nation and strengthen our democracy.
  • Public Interest Journalism Initiative [link]
    PIJI is a philanthropically funded not-for-profit that was established in December 2018. It aims to achieve a robust and sustainable eco-system for public interest journalism in Australia by 2023. Noting that “an informed community is crucial to our democracy”, PIJI conducts research to inform practical policy solutions and public conversation on the importance of an effective and independent news media.
  • ABC Friends [link]
    ABC Friends is a national community group that aims to defend and promote the role of Australia’s national broadcaster, and to hold it to account to ensure its ongoing independence and integrity. You can join ABC Friends as a member to support its campaign for the ABC’s ongoing funding and independence.
  • Parliamentary Petitions about the News Media Bargaining Code
    In March, the Australian Government introduced a News Media Bargaining Code that requires large technology platforms like Facebook and Google to pay news publishers for reproducing or linking to their content. The code requires platforms to negotiate payment with publishers, but reports suggest that platforms have only dealt with a few larger outlets, to the detriment of small, independent publishers. There have been a number of petitions asking the Federal Government to intervene; two closed this month, and more may follow. You can read about some publishers’ concerns here.
  • Subscribe to a local media outlet
    Help support journalism by subscribing to media outlets. These are some great local outlets:

Published by

Business and technology journalist. Sydney, Australia.