The Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, said that the loss of Sky News on WIN was another blow to media diversity in Mallee.
“In 2015, WIN axed its local news bulletins in Mildura and several other markets around Australia. This was a huge blow to the region, and the effects are still being felt.” Dr Webster said. “Local news is a vital component to an interconnected community, and a thriving democracy.
“Mildura is a unique regional city with thriving businesses, industries, sports, and arts. While our local papers do a fantastic job of covering breaking stories from across the region, a lack of television news means that our local stories, emergencies, and achievements, don’t get the full coverage they deserve.”
“The diversity of our local media will again be impacted by the loss of Sky News on WIN. Many people have contacted me to let me know of their disappointment about the recent loss of Sky News from free to air in Mildura. Those people frequently express their frustration at what they see as bias on the ABC.”
“Of course, we are all grateful for our national broadcaster, and their commitment to regional Australia, especially in terms emergency services broadcasting. However, many of us understand the need for a diverse range of views in public discourse. Whatever our view of local and national issues, diversity of opinion is essential to a healthy debate.”
“This week I spoke candidly to the CEO WIN Network, Mr Andrew Lancaster. We discussed the loss of our local news bulletin, and now the decision to axe Sky News in the Mildura market. I asked him to do everything in his power to divert more resources to our market, including journalists and camera crews on a more regular basis, and requested that he reconsider the decision on Sky.
“I also contacted the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, about our need for local news content and diversity of opinion. We talked at length about this important issue. He assured me he would look into the matter for Mildura.”
“Choice of news coverage is a luxury that city dwellers take for granted, but in smaller markets, the choice is not always attainable. Media diversity, freedom of speech, and a diversity of opinion from all sides of the spectrum, are crucial elements of our democracy that must be preserved.”