Australian minister: Nothing unusual in A$30m grant to Fox Sports
A planned A$30 million ($23.6 million) grant from the Australian government to Fox Sports, the country's leading pay-television sports broadcaster, is completely above board, Mitch Fifield, the communications minister has insisted.
The government has said the funds will go towards broadcasting more women’s sport.
Fifield was defending the grant after the opposition Labor Party’s request to see the correspondence between the minister and the broadcaster relating to the conditions of the deal was rejected.
Fifield said: "There is nothing unusual in the budget context that there are not correspondence between the department and stakeholders. There is a funding deed being negotiated, as you would expect, as is common practice when there is a grant.
"Fox Sports has a good track record of providing coverage for sports with a lower profile that are neglected by the free-to-airs.”
Meanwhile, Foxtel, the pay-TV platform jointly owned by News Corp and Telstra, has welcomed the conviction of a man for illegally siphoning its content and selling it to 8,000 people across Australia.
Haidar Majid Salam Al Baghdadi received an 18-month suspended jail term for selling access to subscriptions.
Peter Tonagh, chief executive of Foxtel, commented: “Foxtel welcomes today’s court ruling and hopes it sends a strong signal that this type of activity is illegal. Foxtel takes intellectual property theft very seriously as it severely undermines the creative industry including every business and individual that works so hard to deliver us the movies, sport, drama and entertainment we love.
“Foxtel conducts ongoing investigations into the theft of Foxtel programming and we are proud to work so closely with the AFP and our partners at Irdeto to ensure the full force of the law is applied to protect our content.”