Sydney, Australia, Nov 11 (efe-epa).- Australia’s senate agreed Wednesday to open a commission to study the plurality of the media in the country as a result of a popular petition signed by more than 500,000 people who criticized the concentration of outlets in the hands of tycoon Rupert Murdoch.
“I am proud that the senate supports this campaign and opens an investigation immediately … Australians are increasingly concerned about the concentration of media ownership and Murdoch’s power and political influence,” Senator Sarah Hanson-Young of the Green Party said on Twitter.
More than 500,000 Australians signed the petition, launched Oct. 12 by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to scrutinize the concentration of media and power in the hands of the tycoon, who controls 70 percent of the country’s newspapers.
News Corp, founded by Murdoch, owns hundreds of local newspapers in Australia, as well as national newspapers such as The Australian, the tabloid Daily Telegraph or the pay television channel Sky News, a situation Rudd has described as a “cancer for democracy.”
The petition to parliament, closed Nov. 4, seeks to investigate the Australian media scene as a whole, but highlights Murdoch’s media empire, which has numerous right-wing and conservative commentators opposing measures against the climate crisis, among other matters.
His son James Murdoch resigned this year from the News Corp board, due to “disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s media and other strategic decisions,” according to himself.
Murdoch’s media has become famous for headlines such as the one that during the 2013 election campaign won by conservative Tony Abbott, featured former Prime Minister Rudd with the headline “Kick this mob.” It was also embroiled in scandals such as the 2017 publication of defamatory information against actor Geoffrey Rush, falsely accused of sexual harassment.
Murdoch’s media empire also extends to countries such as the United States, through media such as Fox television, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Post, and the United Kingdom, with The Sun and The Times newspapers.
Murdoch’s British publication News of the World became the center of a scandal of illegal wiretapping of celebrities, politicians and members of the British royalty and had to close in 2011. EFE-EPA