Malcolm Turnbull Communications Minister. Expert on Conrovianism. Photo: Andrew Meares

Malcolm Turnbull Communications Minister. Expert on Conrovianism. Photo: Andrew Meares

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hosed down suggestions he has described Rupert Murdoch as a ‘‘demented plutocrat,’’ arguing the News Corp head is the ‘‘most normal’’ media mogul he knows.

‘‘I’ve known a lot of media moguls, right? A lot of them. And let me tell you something, in terms of normality, Rupert is the most normal of the lot,’’ Mr Turnbull told Sky News on Sunday.

‘‘When you compare him to Conrad Black, to Kerry Packer to Bob Maxwell, Jimmy Goldsmith ...Rupert is a very, very straightforward, normal person.’’

Mr Turnbull made the comments when asked to explain his use of the phrase "demented plutocrat" when he launched The Saturday Paper last month in Sydney

During the speech Mr Turnbull quipped of publisher Morry Schwartz: ''You are not some demented plutocrat pouring more and more money into a loss-making venture that is just going to peddle your opinions.''

While Mr Turnbull has insisted he was referring to US newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, some have seen this as a dig at Mr Murdoch.

The Communications Minister said he was shocked that his comments were misinterpreted.

''I really am astonished that people took it that way and I am astonished that so many people who work for Rupert Murdoch seem to want to suggest that I did,'' he told Sky News, which is partly Murdoch owned. Host Peter van Onselen also works for the News Corp-owned Australian newspaper.

During the interview, Communications Minister also gave a strong indication that he was leaning towards relaxing Australian media ownership rules.

"We're certainly looking at them very carefully," he said.

"Why in an age when the internet has become the super platform ...to which everyone has access too ... why do we need to have platform specific ownership rules dealing with newspapers and radio and television? That in an increasingly ... smaller part of the media landscape."

The current rules prevent metropolitan free-to-air television networks from merging with regional affiliates. The so-called "two-out-of-three rule", also prevents a single entity owning more than two of a newspaper, TV station and radio licence in the same market.

Mr Turnbull's comments come after he held a two-hour meeting with media executives last week.

It is understood that Ten Network Holdings and Nine Entertainment Co argued for the removal of the reach rules and the the two-out-of-three rule. News Corp is also believed to have supported the scrapping of the two-out-of-three rule, with Seven Network being less enthusiastic about the reform.

Mr Turnbull said it was fair to say he was "very sympathetic" to deregulation of media ownership.

"One of the big differences between my approach to this and [former Labor Communications Minister] Stephen Conroy's, is that Conroy and the Labor Party saw the arrival of the internet as an opportunity for more regulation and less freedom in the media," he said.

"My view is the arrival of the internet, and the additional diversity and avenues for competition that it brings, really says we should have less regulation and more freedom."

On Sunday, Mr Turnbull also shrugged off suggestions he may be appointed as the next Australian Ambassador to the United States.

He said he was ''quite bemused'' by the reports.  ''Completely and utterly bunkum as far as I'm aware''.

with Jake Mitchell