John Milton’s Areopagitica,
Crying freedom for the press
Back in 17th century England,
Resisted monarchy’s excess.
His tract was a mighty weapon
In democracy’s progress.
We are the beneficiaries
Of his most eloquent address.
But we ‘free-born’ are complicit,
As we watch and acquiesce
While that freedom is abused
With a brazen shamelessness.
We encouraged one man’s ambition
To buy up, control, possess
As property our thoughts in print,
And we applauded his success.
We shared profits with this behemoth
Who now destroys our happiness
And publishes news of the world,
Writ as he commands it be expressed.
This threat of global tyranny,
Warns that it’s time to re-possess
What for him is now a licence
To break all rules and decency transgress.
Our precious freedom so perverted
Has caused democracy’s regress.
Let’s use our laws while we still can,
Redeem ourselves, and truly free the press.
The blatant bias of Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd in Australia favoring the Coalition and the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has done great damage in opposing the Government’s minerals tax and carbon pricing scheme along with promoting the chicanery of scepticism about climate change.
In the United Kingdom the phone tapping scandal has caused huge embarrassment to Murdoch who today announced closure of the News of the World, one of his most profitable newspapers. Politicians in London are suggesting that forty per cent ownership of the country’s media by one company has too much potential for corruption. So what about the near seventy per cent control by News Ltd. of print and electronic media in Australia?
Editorial in the The Australian has expressed shock/horror and revulsion at the behaviour of journalists overseas while expressing confidence that nothing like that would occur here! As if!
Internet independent news sites are rather more objective and asking more searching questions about the likely implications of this UK scandal on Murdoch’s media interests here. See Crikey and New Matilda for this. As well Margaret Simons at Crikey reports questions from CNN interested in the Murdoch embroglio, significant as it is for the USA where the media mogul has massive influence through Fox Television and print media such as The Wall Street Journal.
The recently deferred decision on Australia’s overseas news network suggests that our government too may be having doubts, or even hopes, about this UK crisis for Murdoch and how it may play out throughout his global media empire. I for one shall be heartily glad if it goes badly for him. Where is the spirit of John Milton?
UPDATE 10/07/11 My question is answered today by a direct challenge to this ‘blight on our democracy’ by The Failed Estate’s Mr. Denmore asking, ‘Who will have the guts in Australia to take him on?’
UPDATE 05/05/12, Ad Astra at the Political Sword has written another very pertinent and eloquent post and asking similar, but even more urgent, questions about Rupert Murdoch’s threat to good government in Australia, i.e. “Julia Gillard can defeat Tony Abbott, but can she counter the Murdoch menace? How possible is that? Can the Fifth Estate reduce the effect of the Murdoch hazard? How? ”
UPDATE 25/04/13 Businessman Dick Smith has written a letter to Kim Williams, CEO of News Ltd. accusing his boss Rupert Murdoch of bias and hypocrisy in his resistance to the Labor Governments recent media reform bills. There’s a great article about this on the net. http://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/an-aussie-hero-accuses-murdoch-media-of-bias/. I have been remiss in not updating this post here about the recent very lively debate about media control in which Murdoch through his journalist lackeys had much to say and which resulted in the Gillard government’s one major defeat in Parliament and resulted in the withdrawal of the four bills aimed at some fairly mild reforms. This is well covered by Michael Taylor and followed up yesterday by him at the Australian Independent Media Network
Time for me to get working on a new post on Murdoch’s recent presence here in Australia? Meanwhile a FURTHER UPDATE 21/05/13 from Mr. Denmore with the article of his life at http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/damned-lies-and-journalism.html. Please read in full and forward to friends, but as a taste…………………….
Finally, when did we sit back in Australia and decide to let a US citizen who presides over an organisation that hacks phones, promotes illegal wars and trashes corporate governance to promote regime change and run our democracy by remote?
And, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Murdoch does all of this in the name of freedom.
Ad Astra, 05/05/12, Thank you for your kind remarks, your clever poem, so fitting a description of the Murdoch threat, and your link to Mr Denmore’s 2011 piece, which really spells out the danger to society of the Murdoch syndrome.
Nasking, 05/05/12, Top poem, Patricia
Catching up, 05/05/12, Patricia, this PM does not appear to jump to Mr. Murdoch’s tune. That is a rarity in this country. Maybe for that reason alone, the PM deserves to win the next election.