UK
04/09/2013 08:11 BST | Updated 04/09/2013 08:32 BST

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Slammed In Advert - Now Banned On Australian TV Networks (VIDEO)

Australian TV networks have refused to play an advert criticising Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Australia.

An Australian activist group is lodging a complaint with the country's consumer watchdog after commercial TV networks banned the controversial advertisement.

The advert, created by the protest group GetUp, shows a man scooping up dog poo with a copy of Brisbane's Courier Mail.

The man tells viewers: "It was great when you could pick up a paper and get, well, news. Recently, the Courier Mail and the Daily Tele have been using their front pages to run a political campaign instead."

The man says it is "fair enough" for Murdoch to hold a personal opinion about Prime Minister Kevin Rudd but adds: "Political bias presented as news is misleading crap."

The advert was initially rejected by Channel 7 - who branded it "distasteful" - along with Channel Ten, but it was screened on the Nine Network in Brisbane last week.

However, Channel Nine has now ditched the advert, prompting outrage and accusations of censorship.

MP Tom Watson has already challenged Murdoch over the advert ban, directly asking the media mogul: “Do you think this ban is censorship?”

GetUp says it will report all three networks to the competition watchdog for alleged "misuse of market power."

The group has accused the channels of limiting freedom of speech in order to avoid displeasing Murdoch and his company.

"All three have said it's for the reason that they don't want to criticise another media organisation," GetUp's national director Sam McLean said.

"We think that's an outrageous breach of our right to freedom of speech.

"This is the major TV networks cooperating together to suppress criticism of the media in an election period when Australians ought to have the freedom to express their opinions and to criticise and speak truth to power.

"The TV networks have gotten together to stop us doing that."

A Seven spokesman told Fairfax Media: "We can choose whether to run a television commercial or accept a booking. We chose not to."

A Channel Nine spokeswoman said the advert "was never supposed to run ... there was an error in coding and the wrong ad went to air".

However, Mr McLean argued NewsCorp is running a political campaign.

"We've seen them run a political campaign into the election. Now we think that it's our responsibility and our right as citizens to speak up against that misuse of their power," he said.

"This is censorship, pure and simple," he added.