Rinehart would pass government test for media ownership

West Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart would pass a proposed public interest test for ownership of media outlets according to the Australian government's Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

The Australian reports that Senator Conroy made the statement as the government's convergence review recommends that a public interest test be made a key benchmark for the assessment of media ownership qualifications.

Rinehart is currently the largest stakeholder in Australia's Fairfax Media and holds a significant chunk of Ten Network Holdings, conferring her with influence in both the country's print media and free-to-air television.

Conroy said that Rinehart would only fail the public interest test if she acquired control of Ten Network Holdings on top of Fairfax, as both companies have interests in radio.

Rinehart recently expanded her influence over Fairfax Media, in which she holds a 15% stake, by successfully lobbying for the appointment of long-time friend and supporter Jack Cowin to the company's board.

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