Journalists, especially those from News Ltd, and right wing commentators promote the illusion that the Australian Gillard Labor government is threatening to 'regulate' the media in response to rigorous scrutiny of its performance. It has even been suggested that the Australian Labor Party is bullying News Ltd which is by far the most powerful media owner in this country.
There is debate about whether we should have an Australian inquiry into the media and in particular News Ltd which controls 70% of our print media and chunks of our sport and TV industries. I would have thought with arrests of News executives for criminal and corrupt activities and investigations into whether the company is 'fit and proper' to hold licenses, an inquiry would be on the agenda. Some journalists disagree, fearing that an inquiry could lead to state control. Those of us pushing for an inquiry need to be clear on the issues it should explore and what we hope to get out of it.
Today I published a piece on News Corporation, phone hacking and implications for Australia. I was surprised by how easily commentators and reporters in Australia were prepared to accept that the key issue for us is whether phone hacking actually happened at News Ltd papers in Australia.