Murdoch attacks ABC and SBS to further aim of complete control of media

Photo by Jason Reed – Pool/Getty Images: Rupert Murdoch


Contributed by Jim Hayes

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has lifted its war on the ABC and SBS, by pushing for the Australian government to review the charters by which the two operate.

The rational. The media monopoly insists that the two public broadcasters unfairly compete with its empire of newspapers, television and radio stations and websites.  The second reason, is that by taking up a section of the market, New Corp is denied an avenue to make profit.

It is all in a submission into the government established inquiry into the competitive neutrality of the national broadcasters. An inquiry that  had been pushed by News Corp and the Liberal Party connected Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which has made no secret of its ambition to have the two broadcasters defunded and privatised. Pauline Hanson had put in her bit, by insisting on it, as a condition for supporting other government policies.

The inquiry is supposedly briefed to pinpoint barriers to competition. But this will remain a farce, unless there is an examination of all media. Australia is burdened with the most monopolised private media in the world. News Corp controls the bulk of it. This means that talk of a competitive industry is nonsense, unless the main focus, is on taking on News Corp’s own capacity to exclude others and substantial control over the news and information made accessible to the Australian public.

In this context, there is something for the argument that the funding of the ABC and SBS, rather than restricting competition, actually enhances it by mitigating monopoly control.  Unfortunately, the Inquiry is not looking at this bigger picture.

Another and important part of News Corp’s IPA assisted campaign, is to place itself in a position to extend its monopoly into digital media. It is the ultimate prize. To help this along, there is a call to bar the public broadcasters from publishing its stories online using Google ads. This means that they would not be able to buy search terms to market these stories. There is a further call, to ban public broadcasters selling their stories to third parties and advertising its content.

The Inquiry is being conducted by the pro privatisation Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, economist Robert Kerr, commercial television lobbyist Julie Flynn and former ABC TV executive and producer Sandra Levy.  The panel has been stitched up with members likely to sympathise with News Corp.

Considering of monopoly control over Australian media should be at the forefront, and the aim of any inquiry should be to come up with recommendations to counter monopoly control and its negative impacts on media and Australian society.

This would inevitably come up against another matter, and this is the democratisation of the media. A big problem is that having a voice requires a hell of a lot of money and having access to a platform.Those who do not have these things are, by definition, excluded.

The existence of and proper operation of public broadcasters provides part of the answer. How can this be extended? Perhaps by guaranteeing through law, forms of access to commercial media. Maybe News Corp and that small portion not under its control can be made to share their resources?

By this means, media in Australia can be democratised, and hold back its use by a very few, as a tool for political manipulation for very narrow interests. A democratic media is crucial for a truly democratic society.


8 Comments on "Murdoch attacks ABC and SBS to further aim of complete control of media"

  1. R Murdoch is a corrosive foreign influence on the “Australian fair go” ethos of old. He has it on the ground with his boot on its throat and all to protect his foreign Corporations profits. His accomplicers are the Liberals, IPA, BCA, Minerals Council and the Country Party, (now the “National” open cut Coal and Fracking Party.)
    I call it TREASON.

  2. M Medigovic | 26 July 2018 at 2:46 am | Reply

    Why does Murdoch have a say in Australian politics if he isnot an Australian citizen? Why does he always support the Liberal Party policies predominantly if he is an independent view? Why is he allowed to own so much of Australia’s media outlets?

  3. Mr Murdoch When your media empire can provides us, the ABC / SBS viewers, with quality and unbiased programs then maybe AUSTRALIAN viewers might watch or read your papers etc.
    Apparently for a man who made his money from the media doesn’t seem to understand that most of us Australians do like quality TV progs that we get on the ABC / SBS. I find it hard to believe that you are blaming the ABC / SBS for the reason they don’t your read/watch media stuff. Unbelievable!

  4. The people of Australia should join together, and fight to the bitter end, any or all attempts by scoundrel Rupert Murdoch to damage the ABC image, and this goes for SBS,too!
    The demented old man will not be happy until he controls all of the media in this country,..
    … and he’s AMERICAN!
    The ABC is far,far,more Australian than Murdoch is, and his gestapo tactics must be read early, and blocked!
    Our ABC will live and continue to serve Us, long after Murdoch has died!
    Murdoch may control this current Liberal government, and the weak lot of bastards that comprise it, but he doesn’t have control of The Australian People!
    Unite and Fight, Australian Friends!

  5. Even his own mother disliked his policies .The mongrel is not working for anyone’s interest but his own aided any abbeted by the Liberal cronies.

  6. Fr. Theo Lewis | 27 July 2018 at 9:27 pm | Reply

    Hands off the ABC, you greedy old bastard!

  7. Joan Naismith | 28 July 2018 at 3:45 pm | Reply

    I agree Bob Elston and Mr Turnbull is doing everything he can to help Murdoch achieve what he wants . They are cutting the ABC to the bone they are a disgrace .

  8. George Georgiou | 29 July 2018 at 9:54 am | Reply

    Is privatisation necessarily always a good thing for the average Australian?
    Let us use a few examples such as Privatisation of the SEC, Gas and Fuel Corp and Telstra.

    Has the consumer/average Australian really benefited.

    Who is privatisation of the ABC and SBS really going to benefit. As a regular viewer/listener I really don’t see a need to change something that works. I am happy for my taxes to keep paying for these services.

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