Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has taken to YouTube to criticise the Federal Government’s proposed “Media Bargaining Code” legislation.
Saying the code will do “Bugger all” to promote media diversity, Mr Rudd says the ABC will lose-out on any possible revenue from the plan, which would see internet giants like Google and Facebook pay for news stories that appear on their sites.
Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia should the legislation be passed.
Kevin Rudd said:
“I always get a little bit suspicious when the Murdoch media get really excited about something, and they’re really excited about this code.”
“I get doubly suspicious when Scotty from Marketing produces legislation to make the Murdoch media feel really happy
“I’m no fan of Google and Facebook particularly and I don’t believe anybody’s content should be nicked, but the bottom line is this: we’ve got to ask ourselves what actually is going on here.”
Mr Rudd criticised the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which has conducted an inquiry into the issue, for its apparent lack of commitment to media diversity, including the approval of Nine’s purchase of Fairfax newspapers and the decision to allow Rupert Murdoch to purchase Australian Provincial Newspapers.
Rupert Murdoch now owns 13 of 14 daily newspapers in Mr Rudd’s home state of Queensland.
But perhaps most importantly, he highlights how the ABC has been isolated from the process.
“The ABC, in my view, has been drifting slowly to the right for quite a long period of time as they try to suck up to the current government to preserve their funding base.”
“But guess what?”
“With this new media bargaining code the ABC doesn’t get permission to charge for its content with Google or Facebook.”
“So what happens?”
“No money for the national broadcaster.”
“So what does that do for media diversity?”
“Bugger all in my view.”