Australian commercial TV networks refuse to run anti-Murdoch advert

Left-leaning activists accuse commercial channels of breaching freedom of speech

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 4:57am

Australia's commercial television networks are refusing to run an advert which accuses Rupert Murdoch of printing "misleading crap" in his newspapers ahead of elections, the activist group behind the ad said yesterday.

Australian-born Murdoch, now a US citizen, owns mass-selling newspapers in his former homeland and his Sydney tabloid The Daily Telegraph has called for voters to "kick out" Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labor government in Saturday's poll. Other Murdoch papers have similarly campaigned on their front pages.

"It was great when you could pick up the paper and get... well... news," says the man in the ad by activist group GetUp! as he stands on his front lawn to collect his newspaper, later using it to clean up his dog's droppings.

"But political bias presented as news is, well, misleading crap. Don't let the crap decide your vote. Stand up for what you want. Tell Rupert, 'We'll choose our own government'."

The left-leaning GetUp!, which describes itself as an independent community advocacy organisation, is complaining to the competition watchdog after three major commercial networks refused to air the video.

"Seven, Nine and 10 are still refusing to run it," GetUp! spokesman Rohan Wenn said.

Wenn said the Seven Network had described the ad as distasteful and Network Ten, of which Murdoch's son Lachlan Murdoch is a director, had said it did not want to target another media organisation.

GetUp! director Sam McLean told national broadcaster ABC that it was unfortunate the ad would not receive airplay by the commercial channels.

"We think that's an outrageous breach of our right to freedom of speech," McLean said.