Murdoch’s News Corp. calls for Google breakup

News organizations accuse the tech giants of gaining huge commercial benefit from expensive to create content. (Shutterstock)
Updated 12 March 2019
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Murdoch’s News Corp. calls for Google breakup

  • News Corp’s local subsidiary complained that “Google enjoys overwhelming market power in both online search and ad tech services”
  • News organizations accuse the tech giants of gaining huge commercial benefit from expensive to create content

SYDNEY: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has called for Google to be broken up in Australia, the latest salvo in a battle between the corporate media giants.
In a petition to Australian regulators, News Corp’s local subsidiary complained that “Google enjoys overwhelming market power in both online search and ad tech services.”
Going a step further, the company accused Google of “abusing its dominant position to the detriment of consumers, advertisers and publishers.”
Earlier this week US presidential hopeful — and former federal consumer watchdog — Elizabeth Warren became the latest in a line of commentators to argue that firms such as Amazon, Google and Facebook hold ” too much power” in society.
News Corp. echoed her argument that Google’s businesses should be split, or failing that, search and advertising businesses should be firewalled off from each other.
“While News Corp. Australia recognizes that divestment is a very serious step ... divestment is necessary in the case of Google, due to the unparalleled power that it currently exerts over news publishers and advertisers alike.”
Australian watchdogs are seen as unlikely to recommend that Google be split, but the petition represents an intensification of the worldwide fight between Australian-born Murdoch and Google and Facebook.
News organizations accuse the tech giants of gaining huge commercial benefit from expensive to create content, while paying nothing and syphoning off advertising.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is one of several regulators across the world investigating the effect that digital platforms have on competition in the media, advertising and advertising services markets.
News organizations in Australia have struggled in recent years with falling revenue and shrinking staff, as giants like Google and Facebook dominate the digital economy.
The downturn has prompted a string of mergers that have left the market with only three or four major media companies.
Local newspapers, once the lifeblood of communities across this vast country, run on a skeletal staff or have been forced to close.
Among them Murdoch’s News Corp. is a dominant player, owning a slew of newspapers, television channels and the country’s only major cable television network.
Murdoch’s vast political influence has frequently come underfire from former prime ministers on both sides of Australian politics and is widely seen as pushing the tone of public debate to the right.
News Corp. Australia is a subsidiary of News Corp, which owns 21st Century Fox, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and a raft of papers and TV platforms in Britain.


Police arrest newspaper publisher in midnight raid in Indian Kashmir

Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, a journalist and the publisher of the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Afaaq, leaves after a court granted him bail, in Srinagar, June 25, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 June 2019
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Police arrest newspaper publisher in midnight raid in Indian Kashmir

  • Journalists in Kashmir find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Indian government and militant groups battling for independence

SRINAGAR: Police arrested the publisher of one of the most widely read newspapers in Indian-controlled Kashmir in a midnight raid over a decades-old case, the police and his brother said on Tuesday, highlighting the difficulties facing media in the region.
Tension has run high in the Himalayan region since more than 40 Indian police were killed in a February suicide car bomb attack by a militant group based in Pakistan.
Muslim-majority Kashmir is at the heart of more than seven decades of hostility between nuclear archrivals India and Pakistan. Each claims it in full but rules only a part.
Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, 62, a journalist and the publisher of the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Afaaq, was arrested at his home in the region’s main city of Srinagar, half an hour before midnight on Monday.
“It is harassment,” his brother, Mohammad Morifat Qadri, told Reuters. “Why is a 1993 arrest warrant executed today? And why against him only?“
Qadri was released on bail after a court appearance on Tuesday.
The case dates from 1990, when Qadri was one of nine journalists to publish a statement by a militant group fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir. An arrest warrant for Qadri was issued in 1993, but it was never served.
Qadri had visited the police station involved in the arrest multiple times since the warrant was issued, most recently in 2017 to apply for a passport, his brother added.
Asked why Qadri was arrested at night, Srinagar police chief Haseeb Mughal told Reuters, “Police were busy during the day.”
The Kashmir Union of Working Journalists condemned the arrest, saying it seemed to be aimed at muzzling the press.
“Qadri was attending the office on a daily basis and there was absolutely no need for carrying out a midnight raid at his residence,” it said in a statement.
Journalists in Kashmir find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Indian government and militant groups battling for independence.
Both sides are stepping up efforts to control the flow of information, with the situation at its worst in decades, dozens of journalists have told Reuters.
India is one of the world’s worst places to be a journalist, ranked 138th among 180 countries on the press freedom index of international monitor Reporters Without Borders, with conditions in Kashmir cited as a key reason.