Fmr. Australian PM Opposes Rupert Murdoch’s Media Monopoly

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is calling for a royal commission in Australia to investigate Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire and its dominance in his home country. He joins Christiane to discuss.

Read Transcript EXPAND

KEVIN RUDD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, I don’t get regular e-mails from Rupert to tell me what he’s up to, but let me hazard a few guesses, based on my experience of him in Australian domestic politics, in the period that I have been prime minister and leader of the Australia Labor Party. I think, first and foremost, what Rupert Murdoch is seeking to do and has done for the last four years has been to do everything he can to legitimize Trump’s form of the Republican Party. If it was not for the echo chamber of FOX News within the United States, I doubt very much that we would have seen the comprehensive rise in the first place of the politics which enabled the Trump phenomenon to succeed. Just as we have seen in the United Kingdom, I doubt very much whether Brexit would have occurred were it not for the campaigning newspapers which Murdoch owns there, which have openly argued the case for Brexit for a long, long time. I think, secondly, what President Trump, as he seeks untidily, it seems, to exit office, is on about is delegitimizing the Biden presidency before it begins by casting doubts over the ballot. You may remember Trump did the same, echoed in the Murdoch news media, about Obama’s birther scandal, that is, where he came from. So, it’s a delegitimization agenda as well. And I think it’s abuse of — and it’s an abuse of media power.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, let’s just lay it out here. Murdoch, Australian, of course, owns about 70 percent of print media in your country, and in your own home state, Queensland, he owns 100 percent. You have presented a petition, I think to Parliament, to try to get a royal commission, as it’s known, to investigate his holdings. What is the likelihood of that succeeding? And we have to say that you have done it with opposition leaders as well. It’s not just you. It’s the leaders of parties other than yours.

RUDD: What I have sought to do through this petition to the Australian Parliament is to call for the establishment of what we in this country call a royal commission, effectively a judicial inquiry, to examine two things. One is the impact of the Murdoch media monopoly in our Australian democracy, which has become pernicious and, frankly, continues to load the dice big time in favor of one side of politics against the other here. And, secondly, then for the royal commissioner to make recommendations on a future form of media governance in this country, as light as possible, because I do believe in the freedom of the press and the independence of the media, but which removes the problem of monopoly and restores diversity to the Australian media market. That’s why we’re doing it. And we have attracted a record number of signatures, the biggest ever, for a digital petition in this country.

About This Episode EXPAND

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd explains why he is calling for a royal commission into Rupert Murdoch’s media monopoly. Director Steve McQueen discusses his new anthology film series “Small Axe.” Moderna co-founder and chairman Noubar Afeyan discusses COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, distribution and more.