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Australia's government plans to examine the media in light of the UK phone hacking scandal. (Credit: Sydney Morning Herald, Screenshot)

Australia’s government announced this week it will investigate Australian media, Agence France Presse reported.

The Australian Labor Party “decided that a probe was required,” according to the AFP. As iMediaEThics has noted, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp owns 70% of the print media in Australia.

We wrote earlier this summer when Australia’s attorney general Robert McClelland commented that the government shouldn’t “regulate journalism ethics.” At the time, Australian political party the Greens’ Bob Brown called for an investigation into the media, which was rejected by the Opposition party.

Bloomberg noted News Corp’s UK papers aren’t the only ones making news.  While the UK titles are defending from charges of phone hacking and bribery, News Corp’s Australian newspapers are engaged in a battle against Prime Minster Julia Gillard, according to Bloomberg.

As iMediaEthics previously wrote, Gillard obtained a retraction and apology last month after News Corp-owned the Australian published fake news about her.  Also, according to Bloomberg, the (Australian) Telegraph has been criticized by Gillard for “fiction” reporting.

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Les Hinton

Former News International CEO Les Hinton rejected Clive Goodman’s claims in a 2007 letter that Goodman had been “offered his job back after being imprisoned for phone hacking as long as he did not implicate the paper at his trial,” the Guardian reported.

Goodman’s letter was written to News International after he was released from a jail stint for phone hacking.  It was released last month as StinkyJournalism has written.

Hinton’s rebuttal was made in a “letter to MPs published on Friday.”  Hinton, who resigned as Dow Jones CEO in July, defended his 2007 and 2009 comments to Parliament on phone hacking.  As the Guardian explained, Hinton had stated in those appearances that “he believed Goodman was “the only person” involved in phone hacking.”

The Guardian also reported Sept. 13 that News Group Newspapers’ attorney noted “two very large new caches of documents” possibly related to the phone hacking charges has turned up.  Also, attorneys for some of those accusing the newspaper of hacking recently were given “a 68-page document from police that lists the names of those who asked” former News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack phones.

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After UK Phone Hacking Scandal, Media Investigation in Australia?

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