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Petition addressed to Murdoch Swamps’ website of the Australian Parliament

Most Australians probably wouldn’t choose to spend their weekends browsing Parliament’s website.

But a petition calling for a public inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in Australia, published by a former prime minister, generated so much interest over the weekend that it overwhelmed the website’s cyber defenses and blocked the access to the document.

The petition – released on Friday by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – asks the government to establish a royal commission, the country’s highest form of inquiry, into Murdoch̵

7;s News Corp’s dominance of the Australian media and its impact on the political landscape. of the country.

“Murdoch has become a cancer – an arrogant cancer for our democracy,” Rudd said a Twitter video on Fridays. An investigation, he added, “would maximize ownership of media diversity for the future lifeblood of our democratic system.”

The move was a very public attempt to challenge Mr. Murdoch, 89, and his global media empire, which contributed to the rise of right-wing politics and helped reshape democratic governments around the world.

On Monday night, over 200,000 people had signed Mr. Rudd’s petition, although technical problems over the weekend prevented some users from accessing the site.

The volume of traffic was such as to activate defenses designed to prevent bots from manipulating the site, the Australian House of Representatives said, adding that the website saw a 500% increase in traffic over the weekend.

The site has since increased its capacity, he said, and the petition will close on November 4.

Even as support for the petition increases, the government, a coalition of conservative parties, is unlikely to approve a royal commission and would not want to antagonize Murdoch, media and political analysts say.

Anthony Albanese, the head of the opposition Labor Party, also distanced himself from the petition presented by Mr Rudd, who has long called for an investigation into News Corp’s influence in Australia. Mr. Rudd served as Australian Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010 and for a few months in 2013 and is currently President of the Asia Society Policy Institute.

But the petition drew on “a deep reservoir of discontent and frustration,” said Timothy Dwyer, associate professor of media and communications at the University of Sydney, particularly among young center-left voters who oppose skepticism about change. that has been a feature of Mr. Murdoch’s media.

David McKnight, associate professor of media at the University of New South Wales, said Mr. Murdoch’s role in Australia highlighted the need for more public interest journalism.

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