Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Can the cross bench deliver citizens accountability from newspapers?

In Margo Kingston, Media Reform on March 27, 2013 at 6:57 PM
Daily Telegraph Front Page 19 March 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page 19 March 2013

By Margo Kingston,
March 27,  2013

What a predicament. All seven cross benchers and the Government are dissatisfied with the standards of newspapers and want citizens to be protected against their abuse of their power. Julian Disney, who heads the Press Council which administers self-regulation, believes there are ‘substantial problems with media standards in Australia’.

Yet nothing will be done.

Let’s quickly address the blame game. The area is highly dangerous for any government, which is why newspapers have escaped any regulation for so long (see the Finkelstein report on the tortured history of journalists‘ fight to get even limited self regulation).

The government has dithered due to splits in cabinet, leaks to Murdoch papers (presumably from Rudd supporters) and fears of retribution by newspapers clearly barracking for the opposition.

So Gillard and Conroy rammed through Cabinet a set of reforms they believed were weak enough to pass muster with the proprietors and sought to blackmail the cross bench into saying yes or getting nothing.

The plan blew up in their faces. Murdoch media led an overblown and vicious campaign against the reforms. The cross bench was unhappy with the detail and the minimalist nature of the blueprint and refused to meet the deadline. Gillard and Conroy said it’s over, let’s move on.

So the government does lose-lose, angering proprietors with no result. The Opposition makes it clear it will not countenance any strengthening of self-regulation, keeping it onside with the Murdoch media. The chance is lost.

The real losers are the people and good journos who need to be empowered by some accountability for bad journos. As Julian Disney said so eloquently at the Senate inquiry, ‘Absolute freedoms attack freedom’.

Newspapers get protection for journalist’s sources and exemption from the Privacy Act with no obligations in return. And evidence to the Senate inquiry showed that News Limited and Seven owner Kerry Stokes believe there is no public interest in what newspapers separate from self-interest.

Disney articulated the public interest – freedom of expression – and gave evidence that the media standards problem was so significant that newspapers actually impeded the free expression of citizens.

This occurred through distortion, suppression of key facts and opinions, factual errors and invasion of privacy. (The worst example of factual error during the media reform debate was when two senior news limited journalists doctored a quote to falsely accuse Senator Conroy of doctoring a quote.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Dear elected representatives, give the public a seat at the media reform table

In Media Reform, Noely Neate on March 19, 2013 at 4:12 PM
Alan Moir - Sydney Morning Herald

Alan Moir – Sydney Morning Herald

By Noely Neate
March 19, 2013

Open Letter to OUR Elected Federal Government Representatives from punter Noely Neate

Hi.Have you seen this excellent & thorough explanation of exactly what the reforms are and how they will affect the media? Explainer: Conroy’s proposed new media laws is by Martin Hirst, Associate Professor Journalism and Media at Deakin UniversityDear .

I appreciate that you are most likely receiving an awful lot of correspondence in regard to this proposed legislation.  I also understand that not a lot of time has been allowed for it.  Please, seriously consider negotiating to allow the legislation to go through as it is in the best interests of the PUBLIC, us Australian Voters.

It is not perfect, obviously, and in my opinion does not go far enough. As someone who has tried to make complaints to the Press Council, I can assure you, that as a member of the public they are impossible to deal with and we are not treated with respect and are given the run around in regard to the basis of the complaint.  Yet it seems that other media companies and politicians can get satisfaction from the Press Council?  They are not supposed to be just an umpire for internal media spats, they should also be listening to the public, and they are not.  In fact, it is easier to deal with a Telco than the Press Council if you are a member of the Public, so what does that tell you?

We have independent umpires in many facets of business – Ombudsmen, ACMA and the RBA – and none of those industries have fallen over.  The television stations have not fallen over.

The hysterical nature of the News Ltd papers in the past few days are the strongest indicator that you need to vote for this legislation.

I would also suggest you review the Senate Enquiry held yesterday afternoon.  Mr Williams of News Ltd did not answer any question that had anything to do with the public at all. it was all about his business and his nose out of joint as he was not consulted. Nor should he have been, Government should not be going hat in hand to big business for legislation changes. MPs and Senators work for us, the public, and as far as we are concerned Mr Williams is only ONE voter.

I also ask that you be very aware of the opposition’s claim with regard to diversity in media and their claim that ‘the internet’ gives diversity.  This is very very cute, as any IT expert will tell you that the number of people getting their news from the internet is negligible as yet. Saying that TV has diversity in news is also dodgy. Every morning news show will repeat more than once, ‘What is on the front page of the newspapers’, the message from print press is spread further.

These two companies, Fairfax and News Ltd, have the power to bring down Governments and change public policy with campaigns to favour their own business interests.  They need to be reined in.  We need more diversity in this country (it is a joke if you look overseas) and we need the Press Council to do its job and we need an Independent adjudicator above them to make them do it!

Please, seriously, in this debate played out in the media there has been little attention paid to the actual PUBLIC!

If you care about you’re electorate and the voters in this country, support Media Reform.

Yours sincerely,
Noely
www.YaThink.com.au
email: seriously@yathink.com.au
Twitter: @YaThinkN
Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/yathinkn

NOTE: If you would like to do similar to me and contact people you think would support this reform please read the list of MPs and Senators to contact here. I also suggest you contact your own Federal MP to give him or her feedback as well 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »