Fairfax cuts a blow to democracy - EPMU

26 August, 2008

Fairfax's proposed redundancies will be a huge blow to already strained newsrooms and to New Zealanders' democratic right to be properly informed about their country's major issues says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union. 

The 160 redundancies were announced today and follow the Australian media giant registering a profit of AU$387 million - a 47% increase on the previous return.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the move will ultimately hurt New Zealand journalism and Fairfax's bottom line. 

"Fairfax claims these cuts are about adapting to new technologies and platforms but the way to deal with these changes is to increase the size of newsrooms and compete on the quality of news.

"Further reducing newsrooms will only mean more of their already overworked journalists will struggle to give properly researched treatment to their stories and as a result their readers will not get the information they need to make informed decisions in their day to day lives. 

"That this is happening in an election year is particularly disturbing as this is a time in which people need the best information possible to make important decisions about the future of New Zealand.

"A strong and well resourced fourth estate is a vital part of a functioning democracy but today Fairfax dealt a blow to all New Zealanders.

The EPMU will be taking the issue to its members to discuss its next move.

ENDS 

For further information contact Andrew Little on 027 551 3476 or communications advisor Rob Egan on 027 276 5146.