Australia Announces Media Probe Amid Murdoch Scandal

Posted September 13th, 2011 at 2:20 am (UTC-5)
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Officials are promising a formal inquiry into press ownership in Australia, where news baron Rupert Murdoch controls about two-thirds of newspapers as well as major broadcasting properties.

The Labor Party-led government has been under pressure to open a probe since July, when a scandal over illegal wiretapping in Britain prompted Murdoch's News Corporation to close its best-selling News of the World.

A Communications Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that “terms of reference” for the Australian investigation are still being determined, but a decision has been made to go ahead. He said the probe will examine media and media ownership, but will not be an attack on News Limited, the News Corporation subsidiary in Australia.

The right-leaning Liberal Party, which is generally supported by Murdoch publications, immediately protested that the plan is an attempt to intimidate the media.

However, critics say the nation's media are concentrated in too few hands. Many of the nation's newspapers that are not controlled by Murdoch are owned by a rival company, Fairfax Media.

Murdoch is a native of Australia, where he began building his media empire.