Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has shared his fear of the Rupert Murdoch empire, warning that Australia could see an event similar to the US Capitol uprising if something isn’t done soon.
Speaking in front of the Senate inquiry into Media diversity in Australia, former PM Kevin Rudd exclusively discussed media giant News Corp and the massive influence of Rupert Murdoch.
Labelling Murdoch the “beast” of Australian media, Rudd declared Australian politicians are frightened of him: “Everyone’s frightened of Murdoch. They really are. There’s a culture of fear across the country.” Directly targeting the Murdoch empire, Rudd shared his concerns that Australian news reporting is challenging the democracy of the country.
The Former PM used his appearance at the Senate Inquiry into Media Diversity to discuss Facebook’s ban on the distribution of news, comparing it to News Corp’s dominance in print media. This news comes after Rudd’s personal campaign calling for a royal commission that examined the influence of News Corp Australia.
Rudd’s petition expresses concerns over mass sackings in the media sector, the undermining of regional and local news, newspaper takeovers, and the independence of the ABC and whistleblower protection.
During his appearance at the inquiry, Rudd announced that he was fearful of the Murdoch empire the whole time he was in position as prime minister. It wasn’t until he stepped out of office in 2013 that he stated he was no longer sincerely scared of Murdoch’s actions.
Comparing News Corp Australia’s channel, Sky News, to the American counterpart Fox News, Rudd shared that he believed Australia is on its way to an event similar to America’s Capitol attacks – which he blamed partly on Fox News.
"AS PRIME MINISTER, I WAS STILL FEARFUL OF THE MURDOCH MEDIA"
Addressing a Senate Inquiry, Kevin Rudd called for a Royal Commission into the media, expressing fear of encouragement of far-right extremism and slamming Rupert Murdoch as a climate change denialist.#auspol pic.twitter.com/KXgpwkYfmO
— 10 News First (@10NewsFirst) February 18, 2021
Rudd expressed concerns about Australian media heading towards far-right extremism, stating: “We’re on a slippery slope to where the Trumpian universe landed us all – a land of facts and alternative facts and that there is no such thing as the objective truth anymore.”
Addressing Facebook’s decision to remove news from the social media platform in Australia, Mr Rudd told the inquiry, “the problem that we’ve seen within Facebook’s actions in the last 24 hours is that they give us a graphic example of what a very large new media monopoly can do to abuse its power.”
“The problem with the government’s current response to the challenges of the digital media marketing code is that it seeks to solve one problem… by enhancing the power of the existing monopoly – that’s Murdoch.”
NewsCorp' executive chairman, in response to Kevin Rudd yesterday, said the real problem was “trolls…nameless people” on social media…
Absolutely everybody, not just NewsCorp, should realise this is an incredibly unconvincing argument when we are talking about our democracy.
— David Milner (@DaveMilbo) February 20, 2021
Addressing the incident in U.S. Capitol, Rudd stated that Australia might think that would “never happen here”, but reminded the public that may have been said ten years ago in the States.
“I am not concerned about today – I am concerned about a decade’s time.”