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APN sale raises risk to diversity of opinions

5 November 2008

APN sale raises risk to diversity of opinions - Greens

Rumours that Fairfax may be interested in snapping up rival media company APN have raised concerns about the independence of New Zealand's news industry should such a deal go ahead, the Green Party says.

"Competition in the industry is vital and helps ensure a diversity of voices and opinions are heard," says Regional Economic Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford.

"If APN were to fall into the hands of Fairfax there is a very real possibility that New Zealanders would end up with only one primary news source for print and radio.

"There would then be a risk of an ever diminishing range of news and views, with journalists working to the same, limited pool of managers.

"The Greens are also concerned that with Fairfax having only recently cut numbers and centralised staff in a limited number of locations, there will be a threat of even greater job losses and a loss of local knowledge among radio, newspapers and magazines around New Zealand.

"While I hope that the Commerce Commission would step in should Fairfax make a bid for APN, I fear there is no guarantee it would stop the purchase. Until now the Commission has apparently taken a localised view on monopoly issues, rather than the national overview which would be required in this case.

"The Green Party hopes that the media outlets owned by APN will be bought by a local or at least an Australasian company or companies, and that Fairfax will not become the single dominant player for print and radio. Newsgathering in this country needs more diversity, not less."

ENDS

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