- Title: AUSTRALIA: Australia's government may review media laws after News Corp scandal
- Date: 15th July 2011
- Summary: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (JULY 12, 2011) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF NEWS LIMITED OFFICES SIGNS WITH NAMES OF NEWSPAPERS
- Embargoed: 30th July 2011 13:00
- Location: Australia, Australia
- Country: Australia
- Topics: Business,Communications,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAAM8TF3VS2A9HQIQJ19WVBDILY
- Story Text: Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Thursday (July 14) that Australia may review media laws in the wake of the phone hacking scandal by Rupert Murdoch's British paper the News of the World, as an influential party demanded a probe into media ownership and regulation.
"Like I think most Australians, I've been pretty shocked and disgusted to see the revelations that we've seen in the United Kingdom. To see some of the things that have been done to intrude on people's privacy, particularly in moments of grief and stress in the family lives, I've truly been disgusted to see it, and I'm not surprised that that's causing in our national conversation, a consideration about the role of the media, in our democracy and the media's role generally," Gillard said at Australian's National Press Club.
"So I am also not surprised to see that in parliament or amongst parliamentarians a conversation is starting about the need for a review and I will be happy to sit down with parliamentarians and discuss that review, that people are obviously contemplating," she added.
Murdoch's News Corp has been rocked by allegations that journalists and hired investigators working for its flagship British tabloid the News of the World hacked into the voicemails of thousands of people including victims of notorious crimes and families of soldiers killed in the war in Afghanistan.
Australia's influential Greens Party Leader Bob Brown on Thursday (July 14) called for a wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry into media ownership and regulation, and questioned Australian-born Murdoch's domination of the country's newspapers.
"Following events in Fleet Street, it is very clear that here in Australia there's a sufficient concern about the potential unrolling of similar events in this country," Brown said.
Murdoch's News Ltd dominates the Australian newspaper industry, commanding nearly three-quarters of daily metropolitan newspaper circulation.
The Australian arm of News Corp on Wednesday (July 13) said it was launching an investigation into whether there had been any wrongdoing at its editorial operations in recent years.
Australian CEO and chairman of News Limited, John Hartigan, defended the behaviour of workers on his newspapers in Australia.
"I know the newsrooms. I know how cultures develop, and I'm hugely confident that there is no improper or unethical behaviour in our newsrooms," said Hartigan.
Murdoch shut down the News of the World in a move to contain the damage, but withdrew his bid for broadcaster BSkyB on Wednesday (July 13) as outrage over alleged crimes at his newspapers galvanized lawmakers who showed a rare moment of unity in the British parliament.
The company however denied on Thursday (July 14) speculation in Britain's Telegraph newspaper that Rebekah Brooks, at the centre of the hacking storm as former News of the World editor and CEO of News International, might take over one of Murdoch's interests in Australia.
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