Almost every day, Britain's Leveson Inquiry brings fresh revelations about Rupert Murdoch's cosy relationship with the UK government. Just this week, police charged former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, along with several other Murdoch employees, with conspiring to pervert the course of justice. A parliamentary committee has recently found the Australian media mogul not a "fit and proper" person to run an international company.
But if you thought this was only a British scandal; think again. The steady stream of allegations and arrests is prompting more and more people to question Murdoch's stranglehold on media across the globe. How is it that so much power over what we read, see and listen to rests in the hands of one man?
Avaaz has been leading the push to change this; and now we're bringing the fight to Murdoch's native Australia.
Murdoch’s world-wide reach
On paper, Australian media laws seek "to encourage diversity in control of the more influential broadcasting services”. Yet somehow, the Murdoch family controls 70% of Australia's newspapers and influences a network of its radio stations.
Last year's phone-hacking scandal in the UK forced the Australian government to set up an inquiry into how complaints against the media are handled. But critics say that there has been little effort to dig deeply.
The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA), the body responsible for overseeing media laws and practices and ensuring they function in the public interest, has balked at enforcing the anti-monopoly laws. In a recent statement the authority said it was “reviewing the British MPs' committee report but is not intending to make any further comment at this stage“.
We'd like some answers, please
Now, Avaaz has filed a complaint to the ACMA, making the case that Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert’s eldest son, dominates the Australian media, and calling for an investigation.
The letter specifically requests an opinion on whether Lachlan Murdoch is “in a position to exercise control” of News Limited, one of Australia's largest media conglomerates.
This move may be the crucial next step in ending the Murdochs' toxic influence – not just in Britain, but in the US, Australia and beyond.
Take action: Add your name to the Avaaz petition calling on the ACMA to investigate Lachlan Murdoch's media ownership in Australia.