Citizen Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘Media Reform’

Absolute freedoms destroy freedom: Disney

In Journalism, Margo Kingston, Media Reform, MSM on March 20, 2013 at 5:09 PM
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Julian Disney – Australian Press Council

Extract of evidence from Professor Julian Disney on freedom of expression and Australian newspapers  to the Senate hearing on media reform, March 19

There are substantial problems with media standards in Australia. A number of them we have in common with other countries…

We also gather (information) from journalists as well.

Journalists tend to speak more freely, of course, one to one than they do in broader discussions about what they see as problems within the media. The problems include distortion and suppression of key facts and opinions; confusion of fact and opinion; errors of fact, especially online due to excessive haste in posting material and inadequate corrections of those errors; invasion of privacy, particularly through the use of photographs taken from a distance. Some problems, of course, in any profession or industry, are inevitable. I do not think it should be a surprise that there are some. The level is higher than it should be and I think it is a significant problem that needs to be addressed.

On the other hand, we need to bear in mind that it is true that the media, and journalists in particular, many of them, if they are to be effective and if they are to serve the broader public interest in access to information and free expression of opinion, do need to be from time to time somewhat aggressive, somewhat unruly. One should not seek perfection in this area. Indeed, if one did seek perfection, it would be at a very high price.

Having said that, there is a substantial problem that needs to be addressed.

I might say that it has an adverse impact, amongst other things, on freedom of expression. If people are to have freedom of expression, they need access to reliable information. If they are fed false information, then the views that they form and they might want to express will not be the views that they would form and express if they were well informed. Access to unreliable, distorted information is an attack on freedom of expression.
Similarly, if they are unable to get their voice heard reasonably, because particular outlets have perhaps a general tendency to be more willing to publish views from one part of a perspective on a particular issue rather than another, that infringes on the freedom of expression of those people who do not come from the part that is going to be more generously covered.

If they are given an occasional example to express their views but that is overwhelmed by a very extensive coverage of the other view, then again their freedom of expression suffers.

Freedom of expression needs to be for all people, not just for those who are wealthy or for those who have special access to the most widely read media. Of course, it is a huge infringement on freedom of expression if people are intimidated by vitriol or by other forms of excessive abuse. That, again, even if it comes from active proponents of freedom of speech, it is in fact an attack on freedom of expression.

So media standards, good media standards, are an essential element, for a number of reasons. One of them is, in fact, genuine, wide-ranging freedom of expression. The Press Council has a very important role in this, a very demanding role. We can never do it to my satisfaction, and there are many issues which one should not look to the Press Council to solve anyway. There are other aspects of society in a democracy which must address them. We must always have realistic expectations of a press council. Read the rest of this entry »

So who is threatening our democracy?

In Journalism, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Is that the truth or did you read it in The Daily Telegraph?

Daily Telegraph Front Page 19 March 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page 19 March 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page March 13, 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page March 13, 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page 18 March 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page 18 March 2013

Is that the truth or did you read it in The Daily Telegraph? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Kerry Stokes, free speech defender? Spare me

In Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Margo Kingston, Media Reform, MSM on March 18, 2013 at 3:11 AM
Kerry Stokes

Kerry Stokes

By Margo Kingston
March 18, 2013

I reckon it’s time for journos to start spilling the beans on the ‘free speech’ nonsense being spouted by big media. The big boys’ self-righteous, self-interested hypocrisy in the media reform debate is surely too much for any of us who care about the survival of our profession to stomach.

Today the Oz – of course – tells us Kerry Stokes will make a surprise appearance at the Senate hearings into the media reform bills ‘to denounce the bills and argue passionately in favour of a free press without government oversight’. The article lists all the heavies who will come to Canberra – they are a cabal on this, orchestrated by Murdoch’s boys – and explicitly threatens to campaign against the government right up to election day if they don’t get their way:

“The implicit assumption that by getting these bills through this week it means the debate will calm down is completely wrong and a fundamental miscalculation,” a senior media boss said. “It gives every media company in the country the incentive to keep campaigning on it right up to the election, and will strengthen the resolve of all the media companies to keep campaigning to make sure that if the Liberals get into power they honour their promise.”

They know and Labor knows Abbott will do their bidding if he wins office. Those quotes are code for telling Labor it ain’t seen nothing yet if they don’t back down. It’s crude, thuggish blackmail.

That’s how brutal they are. Who is running the country? Not voters, that’s for sure. Gillard has clearly had enough, and is going for broke. In an interview with Fairfax today, she said:

”Government in my view isn’t about looking at the powerful stake-holders and saying, how many can I get in my corner? Government is about serving the national interest and doing what the nation requires… I never expected people in the media to applaud any reform agenda because their agenda is looking at it through their eyes and what meets their needs rather than doing what I’ve got to do – stand back and say what meets the national interest.”

In this she echoes UK, Labor leader Ed Milliband, who has also put his career on the line to take a stand against big media bullies and demand serious accountability at last:

“Now we are at this moment which is a sort of crossroads: do we change or is it more of the same?”

The Observer reported:

Miliband says that now is the moment to break with the past, when “politicians were fearful of speaking out because they thought: ‘I’m going to get bad publicity, it will turn the press against me’.” He says that he believes the country is now “24 hours away from putting in place a system that I believe will work”, to ensure that the treatment meted out to the family of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, whose phone was hacked after she disappeared, and the parents of missing Madeleine McCann, can never be repeated. “I think it is an important moment because we have had decades of failing to ensure that we have a system of press complaints and redress which means that ordinary people aren’t left at the whim of a sometimes abusive press.

“Monday is the day that politics has got to do the duty by the victims and has got to stand up for the victims.”

If Stokes appears, I hope his bullshit bluster will be called and he will be asked about his free speech record (by the way, Stokes is not a man of his word and is gutless to boot). I personally know of a case where he dressed down a producer for allowing a tough interview on Murdoch because, he said, he needed to keep him onside. But there is a famous case of Stokes’ censorship on the record. Here’s an extract from a 1997 4 Corners program on Kennett’s culture:

Sally Neighbour: Last year in Melbourne, the most damaging story of Jeff Kennett’s Premiership came to a head in a drama that was made for television.

Archive, Today Tonight with Jill Singer: Hello and welcome to the program. Tonight we had planned to bring you a story about poker machine king Bruce Mathieson and a link with the Premier Jeffrey Kennett. Read the rest of this entry »

@albericie debates @chriskkenny on media self regulation reform: And the winner is?

In ABC, Fairfax, Journalism, Margo Kingston, Media Reform, MSM on March 17, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Artist Martin Davies.

Artist Martin Davies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pollies citizens need to pass media reforms

In Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Margo Kingston, Media Reform, MSM on March 17, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Artist Martin Davies.

Artist Martin Davies.

By Margo Kingston
March 17, 2013

Public support will be crucial to the success of the media reforms. Please contact the following key politicians whose decisions will determine the outcome. You CAN make a difference.

This list was kindly compiled by Barry Tucker @btckr

Adam Bandt Twitter @adambandt
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Adam.Bandt.MP
email adam.bandt.mp@aph.gov.au
Canberra (02) 6277 4775
FAX ACT (02) 6277 8583

Rob Oakeshott Twitter @OakeyMP
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Oakeshott/1415774696
email http://www.aph.gov.au/R_Oakeshott_MP
Canberra (02) 6277 4052
FAX: (02) 6277 8403

Andrew Wilkie Twitter @WilkieMP
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/andrewwilkiemp
Canberra (02) 6277 4766
FAX: (02) 6277 8579

Tony Windsor Twitter @TonyWindsorMP
emails www.aph.gov.au/T_Windsor_MP |
Tony.Windsor.MP@aph.gov.au
Canberra (02) 6277 4722
FAX: (02) 6277 8545

Craig Thomson @DobellThommo
No Facebook
Website http://www.aph.gov.au/C_Thomson_MP
no email
Canberra (02) 6277 4460
FAX: (02) 6277 2123

Bob Katter @RealBobKatter
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/bobkattermp
email Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au
Personal website http://www.bobkatter.com.au/
Party website http://www.ausparty.org.au/
Canberra (02) 6277 4978
FAX: (02) 6277 8558

Tony Crook
email http://www.tonycrook.com.au/contact.aspx
Kalgoorlie Office
Phone (08) 9021 1241
Mobile    1300 772 061
FAX (08) 9021 1506

Peter Slipper
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PeterSlipperMP
email
Peter.Slipper.MP@aph.gov.au
Website
http://www.peterslippermp.com.au/
Canberra (02) 6277 4490
FAX: (02) 6277 8405

The Nationals (traditional supporters of media diversity)

Warren Truss
Personal website http://www.warrentruss.com/
PARTY website http://www.nationals.org.au/
Canberra (02) 6277 4482
FAX: (02) 6277 8569

Senator Barnaby Joyce  @Barnaby_Joyce
Email senator.joyce@aph.gov.au
Personal website http://www.barnabyjoyce.com.au/
Canerra (02) 6277 3244
FAX: (02) 6277 3246

Darren Chester
Personal website http://www.darrenchester.com.au/
Canberra (02) 6277 4029
Fax: (02) 6277 8402
George Christensen
Twitter @GChristensenMP
Canberra (02) 6277 4538
Fax: (02) 6277 8508

John Cobb
email John.Cobb.MP@aph.gov.au
website http://www.johncobb.com.au/
Canberra (02) 6277 4721
Fax: (02) 6277 8543
John Forrest
email J.Forrest.MP@aph.gov.au
website http://www.jforrest.com/
Canberra (02) 6277 4550
Fax: (02) 6277 8532 Read the rest of this entry »

Last chance to rein in Murdoch

In Democracy, Fifth Estate, Journalism, Media Reform, MSM on March 16, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Created by George Bludger @GeorgeBludger via http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgebludger

Created by @GeorgeBludger via http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgebludger

By Margo Kingston
March 16, 2013

Here’s a history lesson on the long road to media dominance by Rupert Murdoch, aided by both big parties, via two chapters in my book. The Liberals said yes to Murdoch under Howard, and will keep saying yes. They are partners, or rather, Abbott is Murdoch’s puppet.

I also tell the story of how I lobbied minor parties to stop Murdoch’s law in the Senate in 2003, and describe Fairfax journalists’ long struggle to preserve our values of fearless independent journalism.

Murdoch papers’ incendiary reaction to Conroy’s reforms – led by Murdoch’s top executive in Australia Kim Williams – means Murdoch’s empire has something to lose. Two things, actually – less chance of even further dominating Australia’s MSM, and more chance of its journalism being just a little bit accountable to the ethics of journalism.

There is no chance the media reforms, weak as they are, will pass without strong action by citizens. Wilkie, Oakshott, Katter, Windsor and Thomson need to be convinced to negotiate with Labor to agree to a reform package they can sign up to and vote for quickly. They must understand that Labor has been crazy-brave to put up even this minimalist reform package, and that Labor must get this done quickly or bleed to death from Murdoch media’s relentless attacks.

Over to you. Apart from anything else, your NBN needs you.

UPDATE MARCH 17: Here are the key extracts from Conroy’s Insiders interview today:

Fixing Howard’s gift to Murdoch to become even more dominant

In 2007 the Howard government weakened our cross media laws that were introduced by Paul Keating. And we said from that day we would be campaigning to introduce a public interest test because we didn’t believe leaving the door open for further concentrations of media in this country were healthy.

I mean around the world: in the US, the top two newspaper groups cover about 14 per cent. Even in Canada, a country more akin to ourselves in terms of geography, 54 per cent coverage from the top two. In Australia it is 86 per cent coverage. We’ve already got one of the most concentrated media sectors in the world and we don’t believe it should be allowed to be shrunk any further.

Why self-regulation needs to be strengthened

I’ve been entertained by the claim that this is a solution looking for a problem. Well let me read you some quotes from evidence given publicly to the Finkelstein Inquiry. It may come as a surprise to you, Barrie, they didn’t get a lot of coverage in the mainstream media.

Let me read to you Professor Ken McKinnon who was a former chair of the Australian Press Council. He said: “I had an editor say to me if you promise not to uphold any complaints from my paper we will double our subscription, is that a deal?”

We have the current head, Julian Disney, he said: “The possibility of reduced funding remains a significant concern fuelled on occasion by the comments of publishers who dislike adverse adjudications or other council decisions. And the Council’s almost total reliance on funding from publishers, and especially from a few major publishers, is widely criticised as a crucial detraction from its real and apparent independence.”

And just finally, if I could, one more, another head chair of the Australian Press Council, Professor Dennis Pearce: “Indeed we had one period where The Australian newspaper did not like an adjudication we made and they withdrew from the council for a period of months”. And Mr Finkelstein asked: “Was that a direct consequence of the particular adjudication?” And he said: “It was indeed. They said our adjudication was wrong and they were not going to publish it, and they didn’t”.

So, people who want to argue … Read the rest of this entry »

My conversation with a Murdoch press release

In Freedom of Speech, Journalism, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 16, 2013 at 7:35 PM
Created by George Bludger @GeorgeBludger via http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgebludger

Created by George Bludger @GeorgeBludger via http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgebludger

By Margo Kingston
March 16, 2013

https://twitter.com/margokingston1/status/312463108075573248 Read the rest of this entry »

Media reform laws address abuses of long-fought for freedoms

In Democracy, Journalism, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 15, 2013 at 5:59 PM

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By Matt da Silva (@mattdasilva)
March 15th, 2013
Source:Happy Antipodean

In a useful run-down on his blog, journalism law academic Mark Pearson outlines some objections to the government’s proposed media reform legislation. It is a little brief and although it starts out promisingly, political concerns quickly rush to the fore. Here’s his first objection, near the top:

Here we have a piece of legislation proposing a statutory mechanism for the supervision of industry-based self-regulation of print and online news media.

That, dear readers, is ‘regulation’.

Fair enough, and we’ll get to my reaction to this point later.

But for people interested in understanding the implications of the proposed laws in terms of the Privacy Act, Pearson’s blog post is very useful. There has been no explanation like his from the ABC, Fairfax or News Ltd. Kim Williams, the News Ltd CEO, appeared on Sky News, but he simply echoed the uninformative tropes that were spun on the media reform issue by the Daily Terror and the Australian. These kinds of rants merely use the public’s ignorance as a bludgeon with which to punish the government.

Pearson, on the other hand, goes through the detail of what could happen if the laws got through Parliament, and how they could materially affect publishers of news. He informs us, which is one of the things that journalists who go to school to study the profession are told is a key component of their craft. Please read his blog post if you have time – you will not regret it.

Pearson then looks back to what he says is the ‘politics that has cruelled this whole media regulation review over the past 18 months’.

What he’s referring to are reactions from politicians to the hacking scandal that engulfed the media in the UK, the repercussions of which continue to play out. As part of the debacle, News Corp’sNews of the World newspaper was shut down in July 2011.There was also Bob Brown’s famous “hate media” spray in May 2011 that took place in front of a group of reporters at Parliament House.

In essence, Pearson is saying that dissatisfaction among politicians on the Left combined with universal horror at what had happened in the UK motivated them to launch the Finkelstein Inquiry, which began in mid-September 2011 and reported to the government in February 2012. Between February 2012 and March 2013 the communications minister, Stephen Conroy, was also looking at the Convergence Review, which was about media ownership rules.

Or he wasn’t, I don’t know. It seems like a long time to make us wait. Waiting ensures that the original emotions associated with the issues drift away from popular consciousness and it dulls the debate, opening it up to exploitation by interested parties.

What a lot of people have completely forgotten about is Robert Manne’s Quarterly Essay on News Ltd’s Australian, which came out in September 2011. Titled Bad News, it made points that are extremely germane to how the current debate is panning out. But it’s old history, you might say. No, it’s not. Just listen to what Manne says, keeping in mind Bob Brown’s expressions of unhappiness.

It is an unusually ideological paper, committed to advancing the causes of neoliberalism in economics and neoconservatism in the sphere of foreign policy. Its style and tone are unlike that of any other newspaper in the nation’s history. The Australian is ruthless in pursuit of those who oppose its worldview – market fundamentalism, minimal action on climate change, the federal Intervention in indigenous affairs, uncritical support for the American alliance and for Israel, opposition to what it calls political correctness and moral relativism.

Note that Manne was still working on the essay when Brown made his position plain in May 2011, but it’s no coincidence that they both sing from the same score. I wrote about Manne’s essay when it came out.  And I also wrote about the reaction from News Ltd a week later. That reaction mirrors in its tone and general character the reaction we’ve seen in the past few days of News Ltd newspapers to Conroy’s proposed media reform laws. Read the rest of this entry »

Sane analysis and comment on media reform

In Fairfax, Journalism, Margo Kingston, Media Reform, MSM, News Limited on March 15, 2013 at 1:54 PM

au_financial_review.750

By Margo Kingston
March 15, 2013

In this post we’ve linked to sane analysis and commentary on media reform. We’ve also asked you to nominate a fair, accurate and balanced MSM news story  – the criteria print media groups tell their self-regulation body the Press Council they strive for. If you can bear it, here is Crikey’s wrap of the print media reaction.

I have been told by an informed source that Murdoch’s media have gone troppo on strengthening self-regulation as a bait and switch tactic. On this view, freedom of the press is a smokescreen for their real objection, that the proposed new laws would seek to limit even more concentration of media ownership by rolling Foxtel into News Ltd. Murdoch also wants all cross media laws abolished. ‘They are playing different game to the one everyone is watching’.

So questions for Abbott, if anyone in the MSM can be bothered – do you support the governments proposals on cross media ownership and strengthening provisions to protect Australians from more concentration of media ownership?

Abbott is a puppet of Murdoch. Be afraid.

Anyone seen anything on what the media reforms would mean for the size and reach of Murdoch’s Australian empire? Is there anything out there?

Here are the sane pieces we’ve found so far. More nominations welcome.

ABC The Drum

Tim Dunlop: Consumers won’t pay for news they don’t trust

The Conversation

Terry Flew: Low-key Conroy proposals are media reform lite

Martin Hirst: From ‘hate media’ to another fine mess: How media reform got derailed

Susan Forde: Media reform: hysterical attacks on weak Conroy suggestions tell the real story

Crikey

Bernard Keane: The Stalinist nightmare of the media regulating itself

Bernard Keane: If you want to see government control of journalism, try this:

Matthew Knott: Freedom of speech at risk? How Conroy’s advocate could hurt

Magaret Simons: Minimalist media reform that only starts the job (Paywall)

NewMatilda

Wendy Bacon: Conroy’s All Or Nothing Media Reforms

Ben Eltham: The Media And The Arts Both Need Diversity

The Global Mail

Mike Seccombe: The New Growth Industry: Fact Creation 

The Failed Estate

Jim Parker: The Real Despots

Macro Business

Of comrade Cconroy and the loon pond

Fairfax

Elizabeth Knight  Shrill response to media reforms

The Australian Independent Media Network

Alan Austin: News Limited’s tawdry campaign proves Conroy’s point

ABC

Barry Cassidy: ‘Breathtaking’ reaction from News Limited

Richard Aedy: Reporting on yourself – Media coverage of its own reform and regulations

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