News Limited supremo Rupert Murdoch should not be allowed to control the majority of Australian newspapers, according to an Essential Research survey of media ownership and trust in news and current affairs.

Essential also found there is an ambivalence towards James Packer’s play for Channel Ten and that the ABC is the most trustworthy TV news and current affairs service.

Labor and Greens voters were the most outspoken against Murdoch, with 56% of those polled saying the government should step in to curb his influence. Coalition voters also expressed their misgivings, with 47% saying Murdoch should not be permitted such control, compared with 20% saying he should.

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Should allow 15% 13% 20% 12%
Should not allow 50% 56% 47% 56%
Don’t care 26% 24% 25% 26%
Don’t know 9% 8% 8% 6%

There is some support for James Packer owning shareholdings in Channel Ten and Foxtel, with 28% of those polled favouring the move. Most voters, however, were nonplussed by the potential shake-up of the television landscape, with 38% saying they didn’t care and 10% saying they didn’t know.

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Should be allowed 28% 27% 36% 18%
Should not be allowed 24% 27% 21% 29%
Don’t care 38% 36% 36% 46%
Don’t know 10% 10% 7% 7%

According to Essential, the ABC is the most trustworthy television news service, with 84% of those polled declaring they had either “a lot of trust” or “some trust” in the broadcaster (both questions received 42% respectively). The three commercial stations all fared similarly, recording figures under 10% for “a lot of trust”, while Sky recorded a marginally better result with 12%.

A lot of trust Some trust Not much trust Don’t know
ABC 42% 42% 9% 6%
Channel 7 8% 53% 33% 6%
Channel 9 8% 54% 31% 6%
Channel 10 7% 55% 31% 6%
Sky News 12% 40% 17% 31%

Peter Fray

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