In anti-Murdoch report, Australian lawmakers say executive board is filled with foreign nationals

Australian lawmakers on Monday released a report attacking Rupert Murdoch’s empire for its alleged “pernicious” influence over the country’s Parliament and a lack of transparency about the company’s “troubling” media dominance.

“A dominant commercial broadcaster and newspapers that make extraordinary political donations make the case for a cross-media ownership limitation,” a group of 10 independent legislators wrote in their report about pay TV group Foxtel and News Corp., the New York-based company that owns Murdoch’s Australian titles, including the New York Post and Sun.

The report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security noted that Australians watched Murdoch’s Fox News and Australian Broadcasting Corp. channels as well as a number of other Murdoch-owned publications and that the communications minister has once held Murdoch himself in “impartiality” when he’s held the role.

Two Australian media groups had offered up suggestions for change, the inquiry had previously noted.

Pippa Leary, chief executive of the Sydney-based Centre for Independent Studies, said members of Parliament often seem to speak off the record about problems with a business owned by a foreign businessman who imports a much of his news and editorial content from overseas. She said she was concerned that Australian media groups had met with foreign buyers for a newspaper or in other situations when ownership might pose a conflict of interest, while holding talks with News Corp. in New York.

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