Saturday, October 03, 2009

Public Broadcasters Threat to News Ltd

"There is a land grab going on - and it should be sternly resisted. The land grab is spearheaded by the BBC. The scope of its activities and ambitions is chilling." (James Murdoch, 'Put an end to this dumping of free news', Guardian, August 29, 2009)

Murdoch made a noble plea for press freedom:

"Above all, we must have genuine independence in news media. Independence is characterised by the absence of the apparatus of supervision and dependency. Independence of faction, industrial or political. Independence of subsidy, gift or patronage. [...] people value honest, fearless, and independent news coverage that challenges the consensus."

Murdoch wrapped up his speech with "an inescapable conclusion":

"The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit."


No, this isn't The Chaser or Onion News Network, apparently it's real.

I don't think public broadcasters have had it in mind to cause the ruin of News Ltd. On the contrary, that surely would have been the last thing on the mind of John Howard, Janet Albrechtson or Keith Windschuttle.

But an unexpected opportunity presents itself here. If in coordination with Murdoch's carefully planned suicide public broadcasters like the ABC were to suddenly increase their online content by 50 or 100% over the next year or so, perhaps News Ltd would indeed pass from the earth. Something greatly to be wished for.

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