Green Left Weekly's Fighting Fund: Emperor Rupert vs free internet content

Issue 

Since its launch in February 1991, the content of Green Left Weekly has been available on the internet free of charge. A full archive of every published article is available on its website

As a result, GLW has gained many new readers. about 10-15,000 log onto the website each day — many times the readership of its printed copy. The internet also gives GLW a global reach. Its readers and writers are brought together from all over the world.

The level or support and respect GLW has generated over the years was on show with the many messages of congratulations it received for the paper's 800th issue. It has become a global publication.
But unfortunately this does not help us pay the bills! The subscribers and individual buyers of the hard copy of the newspaper shoulder the main burden of keeping this important project afloat.

All publications face similar opportunities and challenges from the rise of the internet. But not all publications are responding to this challenge in the same manner.

About a week ago, News Corporation chairperson Rupert Murdoch announced that his media empire would begin to charge readers of the online versions of its newspapers later this year.

He was prompted by News Corp's US$3.4 billion loss this year (compared with a $5.4 billion profit in the financial year before).

The narrow profits-above-all-else outlook of a billionaire media emperor like Murdoch unavoidably points him in this direction. The only question is whether Emperor Rupert has the power to force other capitalist media corporations to follow suit.

The first Murdoch paper to start charging for online access, maybe by November, will be the British Sunday Times. Other News Corporation titles, including The News of the World and The Sun, will charge for web access within a year.

"I believe that if we're successful, we'll be followed by other media," Murdoch said on August 6.

Well, perhaps the other media corporations will follow Murdoch — or perhaps they won't.

But whatever those corporate money-grubbers do, GLW is not about to follow them. We want to help change the world, not make a profit.

Yet we also have to pay the bills. So what's our solution? We rely on the power of solidarity.

We are now running a drive for more subscriptions. If you read it on the internet, please consider donating regularly. Hard copy subs are also available.

Introduce GLW to a friend, workmate, fellow political activist or relative. Or you could help get GLW read at your university or municipal library, or your trade union or political organisation, by giving them a gift subscription.

About this time last year, we ran a similar campaign to encourage readers to buy a subscription for a friend. Our readers responded strongly. They boosted our subscription base a lot and introduced many new readers to GLW.

If you'd like to get a subscription or find out more about how to help GLW stay afloat, please email or phone +61 2 9690 1220 (outside Australia) or 1800 634 206 (free call within Australia).

Donations are also welcome. You can ring us on the same numbers to donate, or make a direct deposit at: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. You can also send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007.