News Corp boss defiant as demonstrators plan to protest ‘racist’ media

News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller has struck a defiant note against protesters planning to demonstrate outside the company’s advertiser roadshow, warning marketers that “being targeted by nameless groups is not a way to plan media”, while claiming Sky News has been unaffected by boycotts.

Miller’s comments come as protesters plan to stage a demonstration outside the Come Together roadshow in Sydney today to highlight what they claim is Australian media’s institutional racism.

The protests follow News Corp, and particularly Sky News, being heavily criticised for coverage over race and religious-based issues with industry agitator group Sleeping Giants calling for advertisers to stop placing spots on the subscription TV channel.

After the Christchurch terrorist attack on the weekend, the issue of inflammatory content published and broadcast by the local media has become particularly sensitive, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority launching an investigation into coverage of the atrocity.

Joint-organiser of the protest, freelance journalist Alex McKinnon, told Mumbrella: “The aim of today’s protest is to make profits from hate speech unacceptable”.

McKinnon went on to say outlets including the Daily Mail, Sky News and News Corp’s print outlets had made hate speech part of their business model and criticised Seven and the ABC for giving individuals such as Pauline Hanson and Blair Cottrell a platform.

“We hope to wake up people to how profoundly racist the Australian media is,” McKinnon said.

Other organisers of today’s planned protest include Sleeping Giants and GetUp. Neither organisation had responded to Mumbrella’s requests for comments at the time of publication.

Speaking to Mumbrella at the event yesterday, News Corp’s Miller was defiant about Sky News and its importance to the company, saying: “Part of the uniqueness of the Foxtel offering is Sky News and it does reach for an advertiser and very hard to get demographic.

Michael Miller_M360 2018

Miller: ‘I don’t support hate speech’

“I have a strong view that we encourage free speech and we encourage free speech and diversity of views in our papers and on Sky News. I don’t support hate speech, and no one should.

“Anonymous speech is equally shouldn’t be listened to and Sky News has been targeted in the main by Sleeping Giants. An anonymous group who are targeting the advertisers.

“My view on that is that from advertisers we’ve had a lot of support.

“I encourage anyone to sit at home as I did last night and ticked off the major brands that are on Sky News during Paul Murray.

“Being targeted by nameless groups is not a way to plan media. This group is not a way to play media. I think most agencies and clients have that right. So while it’s received a lot of noise I don’t see it happening because it hasn’t had much of an impact.

“Noise has been the bigger impact right. But it doesn’t change what we think Sky News’ role should be.”

UPDATE: The protest went ahead this afternoon, with estimates on Twitter suggesting around 30 demonstrators were in attendance.


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