Media despots, tsars and henchmen bury media reform

Noely Neate

Noely Neate

Columnist at No Fibs

Female, Mother, Partner. Day job: small business owner, co-founder and community site co-ordinator on a regional portal. Doonan (the land of the dam and franken–spiders), Queensland.

Noely Neate

@YaThinkN

Memo to self: Remember Democracy rules; Don’t swear on Twitter, even during #SOO; Just a Punter; #NBN; #MyBroadbandvReality

@MattGlassDarkly I don’t get it, Libs can’t take power without Nat’s support, yet, Nats never use that leverage? @The_Nationals – 2 days ago

Noely Neate
I am not a journalist, nor am I a writer. I don’t belong to any political party, though I will admit that back in the day I was a paid-up Democrat until Meg Lees screwed us over. Now, I don’t believe in political parties at all; I find them terribly UN-Democratic. In my preferred world I would have actual elected representatives whose primary responsibility was to accurately represent their electorates – not the party, not men in grey suits – the punters, then get together with all the other reps to compromise and work together to run this country/state/council. I know, I know … but a girl can dream!

Daily Telegraph Front Page March 13 2013

Daily Telegraph Front Page March 13 2013

By Noely Nate
March 13, 2013
OMG! Australian Media Reform means the sky falling in, freedom of the press under attack, the Government trying to gag the media.  Growing anger at ‘Soviet’ media reforms, Gillard’s Henchman Attacks Our Freedom (great Mao photoshop on that one). My personal favourite is Press tsar to check standards from The Australian, our supposedly pre-eminent National paper.  Hell, even Blind Freddy can see the theme here.

I thought the hyperventilation on Sky News and ABC24 yesterday afternoon was bad enough, but no, the News Limited papers seriously out-did themselves this morning.  I have spent the last few hours toiling away reading all the opinions on the ‘Threat to our Democracy’ that media reform is and so far, to my great shame as an Australian citizen, I have only found one article that actually acknowledged that these changes are aimed at giving Australians the diversity of news & media that they deserve.

Commando Conroy’s roll of the dice - of course the main thrust of Ms Murphy’s opinion is the ‘desperation of the Labor Government’, though I did find this gem below which tosses the ignorant punter a crumb of respect:

‘Making sure Australia’s currently woeful level of media diversity doesn’t get worse, and journalists conform with their own avowed professional standards are, after all, worthy public policy objectives in this country – uncontentious to anyone outside the industry.’

I know if you read the papers you might have missed this very salient point, but these reforms are actually supposed to help us – the customer, voter, citizen, the distracted masses outside of the seats of power who actually rely on the media to inform us.

The vast majority of the public still get their information from the mainstream media, not social media as Malcolm Turnbull maintains.  He also maintains that the public can ‘discern where truth lies’. I suggest that they cannot. Given full information from the media yes they could, though when it is the media themselves deciding what they will or will not tell the Australian public, we poor punters have no idea what the truth is at all.

The sad state of the likes of Meet The Press is a perfect example. The re-vamped version is produced by News Limited using News Limited resources and staff. The title is perilously close to false advertising because you are not meeting the press, you are meeting the News Limited press. Anyone else see an issue with this?

The great unwashed are, in general, blissfully unaware of the fact we really do not have any diversity of media in this country.  Looking at Queensland alone, punters are amazed when they find out that ONE company owns or has an interest in The Australian (our major national paper), The Courier Mail (our only state-wide paper) and Foxtel (popular in regional Qld due to poor TV reception)./ Even the NRL does not escape the News Ltd clutches. How can any one person with even the smallest dose of common-sense think that ONE person owning that much power to influence the public is a good thing?
“There is a reason that the charming Mr John Birmingham refers to this company as “News Ltd Death Star”, the pop culture reference is extremely apt.”

Murdoch apology front page on #NOTW

Murdoch apology front page on News of the World

Would we think that having one company supplying 75% of food to the nation as a good thing? Basically News Ltd rules our media. There is also Fairfax. The average person on the street is already cranky about the Coles Woolworths duopoly, so why the hell do the media think that only having two main players in the print media sector is ok and not being abused?

Diversity is important and we don’t have enough of it.  Malcolm Turnbull seems to think that if a paper is doing a bad job, it is an ‘issue between the paper and it’s readers’.  Trying to make a complaint as a punter to a major paper is bloody hard work.  I am still waiting for the ABC to get back to me in regard to a complaint made in January. If you actually do bother to go to the Press Council that is even more onerous and pretty irrelevant.

Now, in any other sector of society there is an Ombudsman or the likes of Fair Trading that Jill Dill can phone or write to and make a complaint or get some sort of redress.  Not the media, they regulate themselves, something the bloke walking around in the street is not aware of.  If every other industry has some form of government oversight that protects members of the public why the hell should media not as well?  A Public Interest Media Advocate should not be a threat to the media if they are actually doing the right thing by the Australian public!

The hysterical terminology used in all of this morning’s articles, solidly aimed at scaring the punter and insinuating that the government is trying to take control of the News to abuse it actually PROVES the need for Media Reform.

Daily Telegraph Front page corrected by Twitter

Daily Telegraph Front page corrected by Twitter

I don’t blame the journalists themselves; they take their lead from their bosses.  Their bosses are not interested in democracy. They are interested in their share price and profits, not any high faluting concept of freedom of speech they are shouting about now – that is just cynical BS.

But the punter doesn’t know all this. Even a high school student knows that using a scary headline accompanied by a scary photo will paint a picture and set the tone for a story.  This is what we have seen this morning, and judging by comments being read out on ABC Breakfast this morning the News Limited media have been successful in scaring the Australian public.

From a punter;s point of view, a read of the newspapers this morning shows that yes, freedom of the press is at threat – not from the government, but from the dictatorial media owners themselves.

If I have not convinced you, check out Media wrap: papers unite against press reforms to see exactly what sort of ‘diversity’ the Media Regulation Reforms have prompted?  Pretty Scary

Then again, what would I know. I am just the target market who keeps these media organisations afloat and who the reporters are supposedly informing.

Cheers
Noely @YaThinkN

mOHjakV

POSTSCRIPT: Have a gander at Conroy’s media regulation proposals fail the public interest test in the Australian. This opinion piece has been outsourced to James Paterson who is editor of the IPA Review at the Institute of Public Affairs.  Grand sounding name isn’t it. Impressed?  Check out their website http://www.ipa.org.au/, look at the book they are flogging on the front page and read further on what they want. The insidious nature of this group spreading its paid-for opinion throughout our media (The Australian, The Drum and The Project to name a few) is way more of a threat to our democracy then Mr Conroy wanting to reign in the media & make them a tad more accountable.

MARGO:  The package is minimalist, and Conroy’s insistence that it be passed in full by the end of next week or not at all shows how weak the government feels. They want to expend no energy on this because they know they will be slaughtered by the Murdoch media and that their point of view will, quite simply, not be heard. So goodbye privacy protections for citizens and let the media keep ripping into our rights and freedoms. Does anyone even remember that reform ideas were triggered by phone hacking, corruption of public officials, stand-over tactics, blackmail and computer hacking by the media in Britain? And that Britain is legislating meaningful reform? Let the News Limited bullying and thuggery continue.

Comments


  1. Does anyone see the extreme hypocrisy and irony in this front page? (yes I’ m stating the ridiculously obvious) No we think media regulation is working fine and political discourse on our terms is good for democracy? Oh the minions of News are so loyal to dictator.


  2. Excellent point Margo! The all-encompassing News Limited bullying is actually scary. What is worse, is even though we may rant about it on public media, the average person in the street just has no idea, they think if they read an article in the Courier Mail, then put that paper down & pick up the Australian, they are getting a ‘different’ paper & view, when they are obviously not. Having said that, I have to say the Courier Mail seem to be a tad more independent than the rest of the News Ltd stable.

    Unfortunately it is a bloody big stable, covering too many areas of our lives, hence me loving John Birminghams terminology of “News Ltd Death Star”, seriously says it all :(

  3. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle) says:

    I think that I left a reply on one of the many blogs I follow (sorry can’t remember which one), but this bill is really about making people realize just how concentrated the media ownership is in this country now.
    This is a real problem, is the government has its hands tied at present. We & they know that there is a dangerous level of concentrated media ownership and it is so biased that its driving everyone nuts. Gov. cannot and must not become involved in stopping freedom of speech.
    The PM stated this in her presser on ABC24 this morning where she once again handled all of the sometimes repetitive questioning. I would suggest that people should not knee jerk at something that will help to possibly get a better level of balance for reporting.
    What we need in this country is a more diverse ownership of Media. It isn’t the journos, its their bosses who control the agenda. The journos are just protecting their jobs.
    We do need some new form of regulation that will serve us and keep democracy from being flushed down the toilet.
    Noely, once again, great article.


  4. It is all so Orwellian. The only Dictators threatening Democracy are the press barons themselves


  5. This rampaging media in Australia has to be brought into line.
    Actually I am enjoying hearing of the continuing slide of the print media into oblivion. Can’t come soon enough for me.


  6. Such over the top reaction to such mild leglisation.


  7. Todays Daily Telegraph front page was far from factual. The only member of Federal Parliament with links to a despot, is Eric Abetz. You see, the facts are that Eric Abetz is the great-nephew of SS-Brigadeführer Otto Abetz, Nazi German ambassador to Vichy France from 1940 to 1944, and he was a member of the Nazi Party.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Abetz


  8. I’m not as concerned with who owns the media, as long as there really is a diversity of opinion and good journalists are left to their own devices, rather than being forced to adhere to what is obviously an ‘agenda’ by a publication.
    This bill as far as I read it, is not about limiting freedom of speech, but attempting to guarantee a certain standard of reporting that is fair and unbiased with no ‘hidden agendas’.
    ‘Hidden agendas’ are there due to sponsorships, advertising and political alignments etc., which is why acknowledging sources of funding and political donations from all organisations is vital.
    The other major problem with a lack of diversity in opinion due to ‘hidden agendas’ is that the majority of people may have only enough time to source one publication or publisher daily and so there is a huge responsibility from that publisher to be as accurate, fair and balanced as possible in their reporting to the public.
    And because not everyone has the time nor interest to attempt to read between the lines, nor perhaps even the ability to recognise ‘hidden agendas’ that are created through political and financial affiliations, a media regulator is needed.
    We need a Press Council that is well funded and can be stringent in its assessment of what constitutes accuracy, balance and fairness in reporting and then to be able to take measures such as public reprimands, apologies, fines etc., to rectify what it decides is inaccurate, imbalanced and unfair reporting.

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