The basics on blogging and tweeting without getting sued

Margo: This is the third post in our series exploring the meaning of journalism. Professor Mark Pearson, an expert in media law, outlines the basic legal issues journos must keep in mind. by Mark Pearson May 29, 2013 Countless laws might apply to the serious blogger and citizen journalist because Web 2.0 communications transcend borders into places where expression is far from free.   Even in Australia there are nine jurisdictions with a complex array of laws affecting writers and online publishers, including defamation, contempt, confidentiality, discrimination, privacy, intellectual property and national security. If you plan on taking the ‘publish and be damned’ approach coined by the Duke of Wellington in […]

Is the media reporting facts or opinion, and how does one tell the difference?

By Paul Davis May 29, 2013 The second Tuesday in May saw the Federal Government hand down the 2013-14 Federal Budget, with the Federal Opposition budget reply the following Thursday. While some people may be avid budget followers and analyse the speeches and budget papers, chances are the majority of Australian’s rely on the media to inform them. It is probably fair to say the media is the lens through which the majority of the public frame their opinion of Federal Parliament. This line of thinking can lead to an interesting series of questions to be explored, such as is the media reporting facts, or opinion, and how does one […]

@OakeyMP on the dirty LabLib deal to grab our cash

Parliamentary speech May 28, 2013 by Rob Oaskeshott The fix is in on political donation reform. In a week of racing scandals—in fact, a month of racing scandals—the only ones ‘More Joyous’ about this failed donation reform that looks to be coming before the House today, looks to be the cosy relationship between the head offices of the Australia Labor Party and the Liberal National Party. This arrangement over a one-dollar administration fee per vote, without what the joint select committee actually recommended for further funding reform of donations down to $1,000 being declared, is wrong. Likewise, what is increasingly obvious is the increase in the amount of public funding […]

No limits on political donations, but more and more public funding

by Graeme Orr May 28, 2013 Australia has a lax campaign finance regime by western world standards.  At national level there are no limits on donations and no limits on expenditure.  Instead, we have a 30 year old system where the parties are fed public money – currently around $2.50 per vote – in return for disclosing larger donations – currently for donors worth around $12 000 pa. Today, news arrives of a government bill to increase public funding and lower the donation disclosure level.   Public funding will rise $1 per vote, ostensibly to defray party administrative rather than campaign costs.  Donations totalling over $5000pa will have to be disclosed. The […]

Twitter’s storm-water drain an adaptive moment for the MSM

By Catharine Lumby May 28, 2013 When a big news story breaks it is like a downpour. Twitter is like a storm water drain, lots of rubbish gets swept along with the deluge but there is always something worth distilling. There are plenty of iconic examples, from reports on the Arab Spring uprisings to the recent hunt for the suspects in the Boston bombing. As any professional journalist who spends time on Twitter knows, social media has radically altered the face of mainstream journalism. Twitter coverage of the Boston marathon bombings and the subsequent gun battle culminating in the capture of two suspects made this shift visible. As Washington Post […]