Government ‘changes rules’ at 11th hour of Sky News Australia Network

The ambitions of the News Ltd-aligned Sky News to take on the contract for Australia’s overseas broadcasting service has seen the government make an “unprecedented intervention” in the process, today’s Sydney Morning Herald reports.

According to the article, the government has changed the rules after an independent panel leaned towards Sky News for the Australia Network contract, currently held by the ABC.  

The Australian offering of Sky News is a joint venture between Sky, Seven and Nine. (News Corp is currently at the final stages of the regulatory process to take 100% ownership of Sky in the UK.)

If the SMH report is accurate, the move may well see News Ltd’s newspaper the Australian put media minister Stephen Conroy under renewed scrutiny. When Conroy took the decision to gift the free-to-air networks licence rebates of around $250m,The Australian led the sceptical coverage of the decision, which the government claimed was to protect Australian content.

Sky News is broadcast on pay TV in Australia, including on Foxtel which included News Ltd as one of three owners.


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