News Corp takes aim at digital platforms over NZ attack live-streaming

By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 19 March 2019

News Corp has used an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) into coverage of the Christchurch attack to again hit out at global digital platforms.

The government agency, which oversees the self-regulation of media outlets’ content, is formally investigating whether commercial, national and subscription broadcasters breached rules while covering the attack that killed 50 people in New Zealand last week.

ACMA is focusing on the attacker’s live-stream video of the shooting. It’s also raised concern around broadcasters hosting the video, or linking to it.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin is reaching out to the CEOs of the broadcasters to request more information on how they covered the attack.

News Corp Australia says it will fully cooperate with ACMA and “any other proper inquiry” into the coverage of the Christchurch attack.

However, News has highlighted the lack of oversight of digital platforms. It didn't name eitehr Facebook or Google but both have been criticised for allowing live-streaming. 

“We also note that the organisations that allowed video of the killings to be streamed live and then failed to remove it from their platforms for many hours are not subject to the same scrutiny and have no formal agreement to take responsibility for their actions,” News Corp says.

“This goes to the fundamental problem of there being one set of rules for responsible media organisations and no rules at all for digital platforms.”

News Corp has recently hit out at both Facebook and Google, which owns YouTube. Both are part of an ACCC inquiry into digital platforms and their impact on Australian journalism.

While Facebook is receiving heat for how it handled the attack, with advertisers reportedly pulling ads from the platform, the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp is also facing criticism for its news reporting in the lead up to the attack.

A protest is being planned outside of News Corp’s annual Come Together event in Sydney tomorrow.

Organisers Get Up!, The Sleeping Giants Oz and journalist Alex McKinnon say the media organisation has been peddling divisive commentary for years and aims to target advertisers, urging them not to support the business.

ACMA also has requested an urgent meeting with Free TV to discuss whether current rules provide Australians with adequate protection.

“The members of Free TV Australia take their responsibilities under the law and the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice very seriously,” Free TV Australia CEO, Bridget Fair says.

“Free TV and its members will cooperate fully with the ACMA investigation.”

AdNews has approached Free TV for further comment.

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