from the upside-down-under dept.
Australia's parliament will launch an inquiry into media ownership, a prominent senator said, after more than half a million people signed a petition demanding a probe into Rupert Murdoch's dominance of the news industry.
The online petition attracted a record number of signatories after being launched on October 12 by former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a frequent target of newspapers controlled by Murdoch's News Corp.
[...] The country's opposition parties united behind the move in the Senate to effectively sidestep the conservative government, which enjoys strong support from the Murdoch press and had not acted on the petition's demand for a royal commission.
In launching the petition, Rudd decried News Corp as a "cancer on our democracy" operating an effective "monopoly".
"This power is routinely used to attack opponents in business and politics by blending editorial opinion with news reporting," the petition stated. "These facts chill free speech and undermine public debate."
The former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull will be called to give evidence at a Senate inquiry into media diversity that will examine the dominance of News Corp Australia and its impact on democracy.
The Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young won support for the inquiry on Wednesday following the popularity of Rudd's petition for a royal commission into the Murdoch media.
Hanson-Young told Guardian Australia it was essential the two former leaders, who have been outspoken about the role of the Murdoch press, be allowed to "speak frankly and have the protection of parliamentary privilege, which is important when you're talking about issues of power and influence".
News Corp Australia's editors and commercial executives, alongside independent and regional and rural editors, would also be called to give evidence, she said.
Kevin Rudd - former Prime Minister from the Labor Party - that's the "progressive party" in US parlance
Malcolm Turnbull - former Prime Minister from the Liberal Party - those are the "conservative wing"
Both of them were attacked by Murdock's publications in their time.
The petition (disclaimer) which I signed, because it's good to cancel a near-monopolist who lies. I'm having a good kind of surprise now seeing the Parliament went with it, usually they don't because there's no law to force them to.