The Senate Will Investigate Murdoch Media Ownership In Australia
Australia's Senate will officially look into media diversity in the country following Kevin Rudd's record-breaking online petition.
The former Prime Minister suggested the Murdoch media ownership in Australia was too much and likened it to a cancer that is gravely affecting our country.
More than half a million people signed the petition and their names were tallied up and presented to parliament this week.
While Mr Rudd was wanting a Royal Commission into the issue, Australia's parliament has settled on a Senate inquiry.
It will officially look at 'the state of media diversity, independence and reliability in Australia and the impact that this has on public interest journalism and democracy' as well as 'the effect of media concentration on democracy'.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young was instrumental in getting the investigation approved and says former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull will give evidence.
Ms Hanson-Young told Guardian Australia: "It's clear from the half a million signatures on the record-breaking petition for a royal commission into media diversity that Australians are very concerned about the concentration of media ownership and the power and political influence of Murdoch.
"As a parliament, it was right that we acted on those concerns. The media landscape in Australia has been changing rapidly. We need to ensure we have a strong and independent public interest news industry to support our democracy."
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News Corp Australia's editors and commercial executives, as well as editors from independent and regional and rural publications will also speak about media diversity.
News Corp Australia's executive chairman, Michael Miller, said in a statement: "As always, we will continue to constructively engage in these important conversations."
The inquiry will be asked to report back by March 31 next year.
Mr Rudd's testimony will likely be scathing towards Murdoch's media empire. In his petition description, the former PM didn't hold back when he described the media landscape of Australia.
On his petition, Mr Rudd wrote: "Our democracy depends on diverse sources of reliable, accurate and independent news. But media ownership is becoming more concentrated alongside new business models that encourage deliberately polarising and politically manipulated news.
"We are especially concerned that Australia's print media is overwhelmingly controlled by News Corporation, founded by Fox News billionaire Rupert Murdoch, with around two-thirds of daily newspaper readership.
"This power is routinely used to attack opponents in business and politics by blending editorial opinion with news reporting. Australians who hold contrary views have felt intimidated into silence. These facts chill free speech and undermine public debate."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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