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Media tragedy unfolds

 The impending trashing of safeguards against media aggregation is a tragedy for democracy in Australia, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
 
"The Nationals might think two out of three isn't bad, but I think people in regional Australia deserve protection for 100 per cent of their media diversity. Yet again the bush is being sold out for the big end of town," Senator Brown said.
 
"The bills open the way for the halving of the spread of ownership in Australia's capital cities where most people live. There will be far greater foreign ownership. There will be less diversity of opinion, editorial diversity and news gathering," Senator Brown said.
 
"The interests of millionaires are being put before the interests of the millions."
 
"It is a serious blow against the idea that information is the currency for democracy," Senator Brown said.
 
"Yet again we have the spectacle of last minute amendments being hammered out behind closed doors. If these amendments are in the public interest then there should be no problem negotiating them in the public spotlight. The parliament is the place for such negotiation, not the coalition party room."
 
"The media debate has been dominated by the issue of ownership, but the Greens think it is important to discuss the responsibilities of media owners as well. Now is the time to be debating restrictions on junk food advertising, greater provision of Australian drama and local content and the funding of the ABC and SBS – that's what real media reform is about. Any reforms should ensure greater diversity. These changes will result in less diversity of opinion and less local news in regional Australia," Senator Brown said.

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