Half a million Australians have signed a petition demanding an inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
FORMER Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd launched the petition, which closed after three weeks yesterday, Wednesday, November 5, with more than 500,000 signatures.
Among several points of concern, the call for a probe puts the spotlight on Murdoch’s News Corp’s (NWS) “control” of Australia’s print media, claiming it is a potential threat to free speech and public debate.
The petition to parliament calls for a Royal Commission — Australia’s highest form of public inquiry — to “investigate threats to media diversity” and accuses media businesses of encouraging “deliberately polarizing and politically manipulated news.”
NWS Australia is one of the biggest publishers in the country and owns The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and The Herald Sun.
Rudd said on Twitter: “Half-a-million Australians have spoken. They’ve smashed the records to make their voice heard: Australia needs a #MurdochRoyalCommission to protect the lifeblood of our democracy.
“I am grateful and overwhelmed. This fight is far from over.”
Half-a-million Australians have spoken. They’ve smashed the records to make their voice heard: Australia needs a #MurdochRoyalCommission to protect the lifeblood of our democracy.
I am grateful and overwhelmed.
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) November 4, 2020
The petition is expected to be presented to Australia’s House of Representatives.
NWS Australia has not responded to the petition.
Earlier this year it announced the closure of dozens of local newspapers in Australia as part of a “shakeup” of its business in Australia.
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