Former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s petition into Australian media diversity had secured 501,876 signatures before being officially tabled in the House of Representatives.
The largest ever parliamentary e-petition, which calls for a Royal Commission into media diversity and has the support of former Liberal PM Malcolm Turnbull, was initiated by Rudd just over a month ago.
Labor MP Andrew Leigh, who tabled the petition, told Parliament: “Diverse sources of reliable, accurate and independent news are fundamental to a healthy democracy.”
Today our petition of 501,876 Australians demanding a #MurdochRoyalCommission to ensure a strong, diverse media was officially tabled in the House of Representatives. My thanks to the Labor Member for Fenner, @ALeighMP.
— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) November 9, 2020
Within the scope of the Royal Commission would be an investigation into the overwhelming control of Australia’s print media by News Corporation, founded by Fox News billionaire Rupert Murdoch, which controls around two-thirds of daily newspaper readership.
The royal commission would investigate powerful monopolies like Facebook and Google, and Nine Entertainment’s takeover of former Fairfax outlets The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Rudd proposed.
The petition also expresses concern over mass sackings of journalists, the takeover of newspapers, undermining of regional and local news, the ABC’s independence and whistle-blower protection.
“The bottom line is the lifeblood of our democracies depends on a fair, balanced, independent, free media which separates out two things: the reporting of facts and the expression of opinion,” Rudd told CNN on Monday.
A website has been established for Rudd’s Royal Commission, known as the #MurdochRoyalCommission, with updates on the progress of it to be shared monthly. You can check that out here.
Featured image source: Twitter/@ALeighMP