Media Talk: Murdoch's media empire under siege
On this day, July 14, in 1789, the French Revolution commenced with the storming of the Bastille prison, an event that came to represent the fighting against oppression – "liberty, equality, fraternity" was to become the catchcry of the future French republic.
Last night, Rupert Murdoch played Louis the 16th in one of his biggest professional defeats, bowing out of his bid for full control of the British television station BSkyB following the collapse of News of the World amid scandal allegations resulting in a political alliance in the House of Commons agreeing to a motion that would urge News Corporation to drop the bid.
It's expected the inquiry into the operations of News of the World will usher in sweeping changes to the media landscape with cross-media ownership laws and regulations set to stifle the ambitions of proprietors such as Murdoch.
In a preemptive, protective move, following his email to staff published in The Australian over the weekend, News Limited Chief Executive Officer John Hartigan has reportedly announced that there will be an internal audit of expenditure within the company's Australian operations in order to legitimise payments to contributors.
By capturing the prison at Bastille, the French revolutionaries signalled that the king's power was no longer absolute. With the Fourth Estate at risk of disrepute, and politicians vying "off with their heads!", perhaps it's time for a talk about the division of state and media powers, particularly where big money is concerned.
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