19 Jun 2012

Mining magnate warned over Fairfax move

2:05 pm on 19 June 2012

Questions have been raised over the role of Australia's richest woman, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, as she battles for control of the boardroom of Fairfax Media.

The announcement on Monday that Fairfax in Australia was slashing 1900 jobs and downsizing its metropolitan broadsheets was accompanied by Ms Rinehart's confirmation that she now holds nearly 19% of the company's shares.

Ms Rinehart has reportedly asked for three Fairfax board seats and the right to hire and fire editors and have her say on general editorial matters, the ABC reports.

Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has warned Ms Rinehart not to compromise Fairfax's editorial independence if she wins a seat or seats on the troubled media company's board.

Mr Conroy said Ms Rinehard needs to honour Fairfax's charter of editorial independence.

"She should be aware that that charter is something that the readership of the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, believe in, and have supported over many, many years," he told the ABC's Radio National.

The Australian Financial Review reports that Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett will only offer two seats, on condition she did not interfere with editorial matters.

Meanwhile, Fairfax rival News Limited is expected to announce a shakeup shortly with 1500 job losses.