MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called for a major government inquiry into the tight ownership of Australian media by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, securing more than 46,000 signatures on a petition after just two days.
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Rudd, who was prime minister from 2007 to 2010 and briefly in 2013, filed a petition calling on parliament to set up a royal commission to investigate what he called the “abuse of media monopoly in Australia in particular by the Murdoch media”.
“The truth is Murdoch has become a cancer, an arrogant cancer on our democracy,” Rudd said in a video posted on Twitter on Saturday, urging people to sign the petition, which also called for recommendations to boost media diversity.
The petition, due to be submitted to the House of Representatives on Nov. 5, had 46,246 signatures as of Sunday afternoon, up from a few thousand on Saturday.
Australia’s parliament is not required to respond to petitions, unlike in Britain, where petitions that obtain more than 100,000 signatures are considered for debate in parliament. Petitions to the House of Representatives have rarely been acted upon, according to the parliament website.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office and News Corp NWSA.O did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.
Rudd, who became leader of the Australian Labor Party in 2006 and left parliament in 2013 after the party lost an election, has previously blamed Murdoch for running a campaign to kill Labor’s plan for the national broadband network in 2013.
Rudd said Murdoch’s newspapers had consistently campaigned in the past 18 federal and state elections for the conservative Liberal National Party, currently led by Morrison, and against Labor.
The newspapers owned by Murdoch’s News Corp include The Australian, the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, and the Courier Mail. Overseas, it owns publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post in the United States, and The Sun and The Times in Britain. Murdoch also controls Fox Corp FOXA.O.
“There is no such thing as a level playing field anymore,” Rudd said.
News Corp this year booked a $931 million writedown on its stake in Australian broadcast business Foxtel, which has been losing subscribers to streaming giants like Netflix Inc NFLX.O, at the same time as its Australian newspapers have been ceding advertisers to Facebook FB.O and Google GOOGL.O.
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and William Mallard
Source:Australian ex-PM Rudd
China retaliates against news media in latest feud with US – The Battlefords News-Optimist
BEIJING — China has ordered six U.S.-based news media to file detailed information about their operations in China the latest volley in a monthslong battle with the Trump administration.
A foreign ministry statement issued late Monday demanded that the bureaus of ABC, The Los Angeles Times, Minnesota Public Radio, the Bureau of National Affairs, Newsweek and Feature Story News declare information about their staff, finances, operations and real estate in China within seven days.
The announcement came five days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said six Chinese media would have to register as foreign missions, which requires them to file similar information with the U.S. government.
The six were the third group of Chinese media required to do so this year. Each time, China has responded by forcing a similar number of U.S. media to file about their operations.
The ministry statement said China was compelled to take the step “in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the United States.”
Pompeo, in making his announcement, said the targeted Chinese media are state-owned or controlled, and that the U.S. wants to ensure that “consumers of information can differentiate between news written by a free press and propaganda distributed by the Chinese Communist Party.”
The media is one of several areas of growing tension between the two countries as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China over trade, technology, defence and human rights.
The U.S. ordered the closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston earlier this year, and China responded by shuttering the U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
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Trump calls U.S. coronavirus case spike a media ‘conspiracy’ – Global News
“Cases are up because we TEST, TEST, TEST. A Fake News Media Conspiracy,” Trump tweeted on Monday.
“Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9 per cent. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high.”
He went on to say that after the November election, the “topic will totally change,” adding in a subsequent tweet that “The Fake News Media is riding COVID, COVID, COVID, all the way to the Election. Losers!”
As of the morning of Oct. 26, there have been more than 8,600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., as well as over 225,000 deaths, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.
Just two days earlier, the country shattered its own record, recording more than 84,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day.
It’s far from the first time the claim has been made by Trump, who was infected with the virus just weeks ago.
During his recent interview with 60 Minutes, Trump claimed that coronavirus cases are rising simply “because we’re doing so much testing.”
“If we didn’t do testing, cases would be way down,” he said in the extended footage.
Trump ends ’60 Minutes’ interview after receiving ‘tough questions’
Trump also touted this claim during previous spikes in cases in the U.S.
While the number of daily tests conducted in the U.S. — and other countries seeing jumps — has risen, experts agree there has, in fact, been an increase in the actual spread of the virus.
Increased testing will inevitably find more cases, however, there are other indicators, including hospitalizations and the number of tests coming back positive — both of which have been rising in the U.S. — that indicate that the spread of the virus is up.
Deaths often lag a spike in cases, but those have started to rise again, too.
— with files from Reuters and The Associated Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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