Murdoch’s play for our international channel. Does Australia really want a foreign-controlled group directly involved with the Australia Network, the federal government-funded international TV broadcasting service run by the ABC? The future operation of the service is up in the air: a decision on who operates is due next year and the ABC has already put its hand up for it, but Sky News wants to have another go.

On Friday the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade called for submissions “on the future direction of Australia Network, the government-funded international television broadcasting service. Deadline for the submissions is July 19.

At the moment Sky News is controlled by Seven and Nine networks with a third each and Sky News of London, with the other third. If News Corp wins control total of BSkyB, it will inherit the one-third stake in Sky News here. Some in News Corp argue that nothing will change, but BSkyB is independent of News at the moment, even though it is 39% owned. Getting total control of BSkyB will give News Corp 100% direct involvement in Sky News in Australia.

In his column in the Media section of The Australian today, Mark Day said: “If the BSkyB deal goes through … expect to see News Limited, Murdoch’s Australian arm, move to buy BSkyB’s stake in Sky News Australia.” If News gets control of BSkyB, it will mean that Sky News in Australia is still 66% foreign controlled with the CVC-owned PBL Media controlling the Nine Network. But News Corp will have a direct stake here.

We have never been told who CVC’s investors are in the ownership of PBL Media — now would be a good time for the federal government to demand that list be published. Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network will be the only Australian-owned voice in the Sky News ownership and boardroom and the only counter balance to the News Corp dominance of the service, and to News’ increasing dominance of the Australian media. — Glenn Dyer

ABC marching in lockstep with News. With a two-party preferred result favouring Labor with a 1% rise — i.e. no change worth mentioning — The Australian as usual ignored that number in favour of whatever metrics it could spin to its agenda. Such Shanahanigans are par for the course at the national broadsheet. But the ABC also took its marching orders directly from The Oz.

The lead on AM echoed The Oz in ignoring the 2PP number, ABC Online emphasised the closing gap between Rudd and Abbott as preferred PM, and as late as noon — when ABC journalists capable of independent thought had had a good 12 hours to analyse the poll — ABC Radio was still leading with Labor’s primary vote. In fact, Newspoll showed the Liberal primary vote falling and Labor’s remaining steady. — Bernard Keane

Mistaken identity at the Tele. Mining executive Craig Oliver is among those missing in Africa. Not, as The Daily Telegraph pictured on page 4 today, AMP chief economist Dr Shane Oliver. He’s just fine …


Trumpeting a house fire? We’re not quite sure what John Mangos was doing at the start of Sky News’ 10am bulletin on Saturday …


A current affair? Wait until 7pm

TV Tonight spent the week looking at the stories that make up the three commercial shows and found that while consumer stories dominate the Nine and Seven offerings, Ten’s newcomer is tackling more news stories as it approaches its first anniversary on air.” — TV Tonight

Gaza raid pics fuel propaganda war

“The deadly raid on the Gaza aid flotilla triggered a propaganda war between Israel and pro-Palestinian activists. Surprisingly, it was Turkish newspaper Hürriyet that published the most spectacular photos.” — Spiegel Online

Your (copy)rights at work

“Toughening copyright law to allow news outlets to stop stories being used free by “parasitic” internet search engines is on the cards. — The Australian

A time to Tweet? Attorney-General announces execution on Twitter

“Convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by a Utah firing squad; the first execution of its kind in the United States in 14 years. Shortly before that, Attorney-General Mark Shurtleff announced it with a couple of tweets.” — Mashable

Short and sweet: how Twitter improves your writing

“Many people consider Twitter solely for networking purposes, for meeting people with common interests and conversing. And while that’s a big part of it, Twitter can also be a very useful tool for improving your writing.” — Writing Across Worlds

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey