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AFP
October 14, 2020

Thousands back probe into Murdoch’s media ‘monopoly’

World

AFP
October 14, 2020

SYDNEY: More than 180,000 people have signed a petition launched by former prime minister Kevin Rudd calling for an inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s dominance over Australian news media.

The petition caused glitches on the Australian parliament website on Monday as it experienced a 500 percent spike in traffic. It urges the conservative government to establish a Royal Commission -- the top level of inquiry in Australia -- to "ensure a strong, diverse" media.

The Australian arm of Murdoch’s New York-headquartered News Corp is the country’s largest news organisation, with papers in nearly every major city as well as cable television networks and magazines. Announcing the petition’s launch Sunday, Rudd decried the group as a "cancer on our democracy" that operated an effective "monopoly" over Australia’s press.

"This power is routinely used to attack opponents in business and politics by blending editorial opinion with news reporting," the petition states. "These facts chill free speech and undermine public debate."

Rudd, who was prime minister from 2007-2010 and briefly in 2013, has long been critical of what he says is the media organisation’s "vicious" campaigning for his political opponents, the conservative Liberal-National coalition.