Australia – Sky News has approached the federal government with plans to expand Australia’s international diplomatic television broadcasting service into a global network. This has sparked a war of words between Sky News chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos and ABC managing director Mark Scott. The international Australia Network is provided for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under a $20 million contract with the ABC that expires in 2011. Sky News, jointly owned by Rupert Murdoch’s British pay-TV group BSkyB, PBL Media and the Seven Network, failed in its bid to operate the channel in 2005. According to Frangopoulos, private operators should have a right to challenge the ABC for government funding, adding that an open contest is the best way to ensure the government and taxpayers get the best service for the nation. Sky News’s global plan includes broadcasting the DFAT channel across five satellites with unencrypted distribution into Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, India, China, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas. The parent company of Sky News, Australian News Channel, would open the biggest network of international bureaus Australia has seen, located in major cities across these regions.
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