News Ltd is not keen on the idea of having its dominant position in the media landscape questioned. So, unsurprisingly, its various polemicists got very angry last week when Bob Brown called for a media inquiry, pretending he was seeking communist-style authoritarian oppression.

What Bob Brown actually called for:

“While there have not been any allegations of unlawful or unethical behaviour by any of Australia’s newspapers similar to that which resulted in the closure of News of the World, the potential for such behaviour and the breadth of the allegations in the UK indicates it is timely for a closer look at Australia’s media regulation,” said Senator Brown.

An Inquiry would consider:

  • Whether there is sufficient regulation of major newspapers, radio and TV licences. TV and radio broadcasting requires a licence, however there is no licensing or independent oversight of major newspapers.
  • Should the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have some oversight of newspapers?
  • Should there be a “fit and proper person” test for owning key media assets in Australia?
  • Should Australia’s media ownership laws be subject to a comprehensive review, in light of the domination of News Limited in print media?
  • The media landscape in Australia is primarily self-regulated through the Australian Journalists Association’s Code of Conduct. Is this self-regulatory regime sufficient or should there be independent oversight and enforcement of standards?
  • Are Australia’s privacy and criminal laws sufficient to protect individual privacy from behaviour such as phone and internet “hacking”?

What shameless bullsh*t artists in the News Ltd tabloids are misleadingly telling their readers Bob Brown called for:

Bob Brown’s point proved, I think.

UPDATE: And News Ltd hack Joe Hildebrand jumps in for his employer:

Both leaders are seeking to establish a connection in the public’s mind between the obscene and illegal practices exposed in the UK and perfectly conventional and legitimate journalism and commentary in Australia with which they just happen to disagree…

Nobody’s talking about “conventional and legitimate journalism”. We’re talking about the News Ltd lies and smears, like the ones regularly covered at Pure Poison. It’s not “scrutiny” to mislead your readers to damage a person or party you don’t like.

“Do they even accuse reporters of behaving in a dishonest fashion or employing dishonest practices to obtain information here? No

Without the “to obtain information” part, yes they bloody do.

Were the dodgy practices engaged at News of the World caused by concentration of media ownership? Er, no.

Some of the things now coming to light in the UK certainly were – and it’s hardly news that News Corp pressures politicians to do what it wants with the threat of smears if they refuse and the promise of positive coverage if they don’t.

…and so on. Joe’s piece is as misleading and disingenuous as a goodly proportion of what his media employer calls “political reporting”.

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