Can the cross bench deliver citizens accountability from newspapers?

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, […]

Kerry Stokes, free speech defender? Spare me

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 […]

Grattan’s abrupt exit ends idealist’s dream

By Margo Kingston April 1, 1995 WHEN the managing director of The Canberra Times, Ian Meikle, told Michelle Grattan on Wednesday afternoon that she was sacked as editor of The Canberra Times and should leave the premises, he suggested a monetary settlement. Grattan refused. “I don’t want to salve their consciences,” she said privately later. It’s one of the things those who admire Grattan learn to accept without demur. The extremism. The strict and idealistic private code of ethics. Grattan, 49, did not even have a contract. She left her position as chief political correspondent of The Age after the 1993 Federal election as one of the most powerful and […]