Under the facade of journalism

Jan 4, 2024
The News Corporation logo.

How News Corp used fear, manipulation and division to campaign against the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.


The defeat of the Voice to Parliament was a dark moment in Australian politics.

This loss cannot, of course, be attributed to the actions of News Corp alone. However, given the findings of this report, it also cannot be denied that Australia’s most powerful media company effectively functioned as part of the ‘No’ campaign, playing a significant and singular role.

Under the facade of journalism, News Corp published more opinion that it did factual reporting about the Voice to Parliament. This radical, ideologically-driven commentary amounted to a sustained scare campaign that catalysed and legitimised a range of mis- and disinformation.

Such overt political campaigning during a referendum would be concerning coming from any outlet masquerading as a legitimate news source. However, given News Corp’s unrivalled scale in the Australian media landscape, this behaviour amounts to a violation of our democracy.

No company, even one with an unimpeachable record of balance and adherence to journalistic standards, should own the majority of a country’s media. News Corp has demonstrated time and time again how deeply unfit it is to carry such a heavy responsibility.

The Australian people deserve a diverse, thriving media landscape. We deserve to hear from a plurality of outlets that are committed to and capable of holding our most powerful people and institutions to account.

Our media should celebrate and platform the stories and perspectives of marginalised communities – not vilify and bully those brave enough to advocate for progress.

For as long as News Corp is allowed to continue to dominate our media landscape and operate with political and regulatory impunity, this vision of a thriving media landscape can be little more than a pipedream.

Given the enormous extent of News Corp’s power and political influence, a Murdoch Royal Commission is the clearest path towards repairing Australian media.

A Murdoch Royal Commission would sit independent of government, establishing a crucial degree of protection from News Corp’s well documented bullying and intimidation tactics.

It would also have the power to hold public hearings, summon witnesses under oath, and compel the production of evidence, including corporate documents.

Only an inquiry with such powers and independence from government will be able to hold News Corp accountable and make the recommendations for media reform this country so desperately needs.

The findings of this particular report represent just thirteen weeks of evidence and analysis during this historic referendum. However, News Corp’s machinery operates 365 days a year.

This was not the first time News Corp behaved as a political campaigner and, until we see major media reform, it will not be the last.

It is time for a Murdoch Royal Commission.


You can read the full report here:

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