News Corp global boss to appear at media diversity inquiry next Friday

Global head of News Corp, Robert Thomson is set to appear next week at the media diversity in Australia senate hearing, becoming the fourth News Corp executive to do so.

The next in a series of sittings so far this year will take place in Canberra next week, Friday 22 October, which will also see Australian Press Council CEO, Yvette Lamont appear, along with president of Country Press Australia, Bruce Ellen, Public Interest Journalism Initiative’s chair, Professor Allan Fels and CEO, Anna Draffin.


News Corp’s Robert Thomson

In a story published on The Australian this morning, the publication stated that “the inquiry has yet to hear from a number of the country’s largest media organisations”, despite appearances from then-Nine CEO, Hugh Marks, Guardian Australia’s Lenore Taylor, Win TV’s CEO, Andrew Lancaster and Prime Media Group’s CEO, Ian Audsley to date.

Committee chair, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young questioned the timing of News Corp’s recent change in climate change policy, after recently launching a campaign calling for climate action.

“News Corp’s attack on those advocating for any climate action over the past decade have played a large role in the lack of climate action we have seen in Australia.

“This sudden change has come just weeks after Mr Thomson met with PM Scott Morrison in New York, a meeting that seemed to confirm the cosy relationship between Australia’s largest media corporation and our Prime Minister.”

Hanson-Young also said that the committee has heard “extensive evidence of the dominant role that News Corp plays in the Australian media landscape and the detrimental impact that this has on our discourse and democracy”, finding that it is clear the company’s media monopoly makes it a powerful political player in Australia.

“The committee will have serious questions for Mr Thomson about the organisation culture and business model that News Corp employs both in Australia and around the world given evidence we have heard about the treatment of women, the use of their platforms for character assassination of individuals and the Covid disinformation shared on Sky News that resulted in the broadcaster being banned from YouTube.”

The media diversity in Australia hearing first sat in February, after a campaign from former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for an inquiry gained more than half a million signatories.

The hearing was most recently recalled after Sky News Australia’s YouTube account received a seven day ban after the platform deemed it to have breached its COVID-19 misinformation policies.

During last month’s hearing, CEO of Sky News Australia, Paul Whittaker said that the initially reported change in News Corp’s editorial policy towards climate change was “not as advanced as reported”.

Andrew Bolt, prominent Sky News Australia presenter called this week’s News Corp publication’s 16-page climate page wrap-around “rubbish” and “global warming propaganda” providing political cover for Scott Morrison, as reported in the Guardian Australia.

The hearing will also see two media studies academics from Deakin University also appear.

The inquiry has not heard from representatives of Seven West Media, ViacomCBS (owner of Network Ten), or the publicly funded SBS and ABC.

Last month , News Corp Australia appointed experienced media professional Pippa Leary as managing director, client product, reporting to Michael Miller as part of the senior leadership team.

News Corp Australia was approached by Mumbrella for comment, but did not respond at time of publishing.


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