25 Jul. 2007

Murdoch Owns The Gold Coast: Is Everyone OK With That?

Help wanted, especially from net-savvy legal types! As a citizen of the Gold Coast, do I have case to argue against News Ltd acquiring the domain www.goldcoast.com.au? It seems to me that as a citizen, I would be prohibited from owning such a public-interest domain - so why can a globalised corporation do so?

I just picked up my local free weekly nespaper, the Gold Coast Sun, to find a big 4-page splash cover advertising the latest Murdoch acquisition. The cover story states:
goldcoast.com.au is an initiative of Gold Coast Publications, publishers of the Sun and the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Both those papers and Gold Coast Publications are owned by Murdoch. So is the Courier Mail, the only Queensland state newspaper (Fairfax has a new online-only competitor at brisbanetimes.com.au). If you don't like them apples, there is always the nation's only national broadsheet, Murdoch's flagship newspaper, Teh Oz. That's it. That's media diversity in South-East Queensland. And now Murdoch wants to take that monopoly online.

This is not right. I don't want my region's online portal to the world being owned and pimped by Rupert Murdoch. I don't want my fellow citizens on the Gold Coast being seduced into the News Ltd online experience. I don't want all my local businesses forced into deals with News Ltd in order to maintain an online presence.

We citizens of the Gold Coast should have an independent, open and unbiased presence on the Web. And the site's URL should reflect that. Let Murdoch try to exploit a URL like goldcoast.newsltd.com.au, if he likes. At least let him be honest about who controls the website - to read the goldcoast.com propaganda, you would think it was all in the hands of local newspaper owners:
Powered by the combined force of the Gold Coast Bulletin, Sun Community Newspapers and Best of the Gold Coast print editions, goldcoast.com.au is a one-stop shop for everything there is to know about the Gold Coast...
This is not right! This is not right! This is not right!

Do you know why you don't hear more criticism of Rupert Murdoch? Because everyone is scared of him, or owned by him.

Well, guess what? Nobody owns me. I'm gonna fight this.

Who's with me?

UPDATE: This is all part of Murdoch's corporate home invasion across Australia.