Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd: Murdoch media “political equivalent of a mafia operation”, Hugh Grant accuses of Boris Johnson of lacking “the stomach” to stand up to Murdoch

Kevin Rudd, the 26th Prime Minister of Australia, has exclusively spoken to Hacked Off in a revealing 40 minute interview about the influence and power of Rupert Murdoch & his media empire. The interview also includes exclusive comments from Hugh Grant.

Remarks below. Please get in touch for a full transcript.

The interview can be watched in full here:

Interview host page

For press enquiries contact: sara@hackinginquiry.org / 07554 665 940

Commenting on Murdoch’s media power, KEVIN RUDD said,

Murdoch uses his media power to “silence” and “make an example of” those who stand up to him

 

Murdoch’s power gives rise to “political equivalent of a mafia operation, whereby you fear the evisceration of your personal reputation [for standing up to him]”

 

The Murdoch media is pushing a “denialist agenda” on climate change.

 

Murdoch’s influence is a “cancer on democracy… it is withering away the vitality of the body politic”

 

The extent of Murdoch’s dominance “produces corruption”

 

“In America, I doubt we would have seen Trump, in the absence of Murdoch’s Fox News”

 

On his time in office:

“We delivered zero policy concessions to Murdoch… that’s probably why he turned on me and my Government so viciously”

 

“Murdoch’s play was to regard [left of centre] Governments to be episodic irritations, to be dispensed with as quickly as possible”

 

“Because we were not bending the knee to the Murdoch beast, they decided to unleash their editors against us”

 

Murdoch “turned so viciously against my Government” because I “prosecuted an agenda which he found ideologically and commercially uncomfortable”

 

Murdoch press attacks are “vicious, personal, ugly, and… ultimately successful”

 

Asked for his view on UK politicians who may be considering developing a close relationship with Murdoch, Rudd said,

“It’s far better in the swings and roundabouts of history, to stick up for your principles… you come unstuck when you fundamentally compromise on those principles”

 

Don’t “engage in acts of fundamental compromise, to appease [a] newspaper baron whose agenda is far right ideology, playing the politics of race, denying climate change and minimising tax [for himself]”

 

“The sooner we stand up and defeat this, the better for all of our democracies”

Commenting on the Government’s decision to cancel Leveson Part Two, HUGH GRANT said,

“Instead of taking a tough stand on crime and corruption, the Government buckled to appease Mr Murdoch and other press owners and executives.”

 

On the Government’s decision to direct advertising funding to large publishers instead the independent press:

“Earlier this year, it was no surprise when the Government funnelled £35 million pounds into the coffers of the largest newspapers in a COVID advertising deal, including Murdoch’s titles of course, while their independently-owned competitors were left to rot”

 

On IPSO, the complaints-handler controlled by the press:

“Instead of implementing the Leveson recommendations for an independent regulator, the Prime Minister has done nothing while Murdoch’s papers persist with IPSO – a sham complaints-handler controlled by press executives, with close links to the Government… Its closeness to Government is more befitting of a dictatorship than a liberal democracy.”

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