ABC presenter and journalist Quentin Dempster writes:
So the fix is in for Murdoch and Packer. (PM reins in media reforms – The Australian
28/9). Our worst fears are confirmed if Steve Lewis’s information from
sources close to the PM is right and that free to air multi-channelling
and data casting have been shelved.
We can now expect Murdoch and Packer to acquire 100% of Foxtel as
Telstra is fully privatised, delivering them a monopoly in
multi-channelling. Murdoch and Packer aren’t called the gatekeepers of
media policy in our country for nothing. They have had a testicular
hold on our prime ministers from Fraser to Hawke to Keating to Howard.
Now we are witnessing the technological betrayal of the people of
Australia. Digital free to air (FTA) broadcasting could deliver up to
35 standard definition channels for a ONCE ONLY cost to consumers of a
few hundred dollars for a set top box (compared with $50 to $100 A
MONTH for Foxtel’s channels). FTA digital is extraordinary technology.
We could have multiple education, practical learning, English and other
languages channels, children’s, youth, history, documentary and
community access as well as fully commercial channels for no additional
delivery cost to audiences. Instead multi-channelling is to be handed
to a Murdoch/Packer monopoly for the foreseeable future.
Mr Howard, this is an outrage.