Journalists' union says new Nine chair must wipe out 'toxic culture'

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 13 June 2024
Catherine West and Peter Costello.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) says the new chair of Nine Entertainment must act quickly to restore the confidence of editorial staff by enacting measures to make its newsrooms safe workplaces where the work of journalists is respected and supported.

Catherine West was appointed Nine chair on Sunday following the resignation of Peter Costello, who was involved in an altercation with a journalist from The Australian who was questioning him about the company’s workplace safety issues.

MEAA acting director for media Michelle Rae called on the new chair and senior management to work with union representatives to wipe out the "toxic culture of harassment, bullying, sexual harassment and favouritism that has made Nine’s television newsrooms unsafe workplaces, particularly for women".

“Nine has been far too slow to acknowledge and take seriously the concerns raised by editorial staff about the failings of management in providing safe workplaces,” she said.

“Poor management culture starts at the top, and the announcement of a new chair is an opportunity to reset by beginning to take the actions that the previous chair and senior management have been unwilling or unable to do.

“The journalists who work for Nine are the company’s biggest asset, and the first priority of the new chair must be to demonstrate through actions – not only words – that journalism is valued and respected at Nine.”

Nine's Sydney Morning Herald said that MEAA's initial response to Costello's behaviour was a "half-hearted condemnation" and that the union’s response would have been different if the journalist had been from the ABC.

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