News National Turnbull proposal angers Foxtel, Rupert Murdoch

Turnbull proposal angers Foxtel, Rupert Murdoch

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News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch has hit out against proposed changes to media laws, saying they will favour Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘buddies’ at Channel Nine.

Mr Turnbull’s proposed changes were put before the Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week and was leaked in more detail last night to the Australian Financial Review.

The proposal aims to scrap two major rules of media ownership related to the concentration of media companies in an area, and the reach of a company.

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Mr Turnbull’s proposal seeks to scrap the so called “two out of three” rule, which dictates a person can not own more than two outlets out of TV, radio or newspapers operating in a major metropolitan market.

The “reach” rule says the metropolitan TV networks can not cover more than 75 per cent of the population, giving rise to Prime, Win and Southern Cross in rural areas.

The Financial Review reports that a broad consensus behind these reforms is shared among the heads of major TV networks and Fairfax.

But News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch was scathing of the deal which avoided changing the anti-siphoning rules, which gives Seven, Nine and Ten first right of refusal on sports events before News’ half-owned Foxtel pay-TV service.

Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein called the changes “bad public policy” if it did not reform the anti-siphoning rules, the AFR reported.

“We have always been very clear that deregulation should apply across the board, it should not just be measures that favour an already highly supported free-to-air TV industry,” he was quoted as saying.

Mr Abbott must approve the proposal before it can be discussed at cabinet.

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