Stephen Conroy promises the Daily Telegraph will still be here tomorrow morning and we totally believe him

Thank God for Stephen Conroy’s glorious new not in any way tyrannical despot-like media reforms!

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It is totally not true that right after the Daily Telegraph ran a front page this morning with the CRAZY assertion that Conroy’s announcement put him up there with the worst and bloodiest tyrants in history, Christopher Dore was taken out and shot, and the paper’s political journos had their homes burned down. None of the staff at the Daily Telegraph have been disappeared or you would have read about it in one of the other newspapers, and the other newspapers are totally not cowed by Conroy’s enforcers in their smashing uniforms so they definitely would have told us about all the disappearances at News Ltd that definitely did not happen. Gemma Jones was not brutally tortured and when she appears in public today her arm will totally not be in a sling because government freedom agents kidnapped her at traffic lights and smashed her elbow with a hammer.

In short: the Daily Telegraph was wrong to point out how much like a brutal despot is Stephen Conroy, and the bloody vengeance that he has already wreaked on them totally didn’t happen and I’m sure they will be free to publish critical stories about the government tomorrow.

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125 responses to “Stephen Conroy promises the Daily Telegraph will still be here tomorrow morning and we totally believe him

  1. It’s this kind of hysterical self-serving, self-indulgent horseshit that is why public trust in the media is right up there with used car salesman and pollies.

    I’m sure there’ll be more editorials today waxing lyrical about the sacred principles of the free press, while at the same time trashing those very same principles in practice.

  2. As long as people aren’t being shot and tortured then we shouldn’t worry about the erosion of our freedoms.

  3. Perhaps mondo could do us the service of identifying which of his freedoms had been eroded?

    An interesting discussion could ensue.

  4. Nothing yet Gadj – Conroy’s proposals have yet to be accepted or implemented.

    But if they are – well – who knows? Maybe if a former judge writes a nice “nothing to see here” report that will soothe my nerves.

  5. Maybe the News team would like to move their operations to Putin’s (capitalist) Russia and see how journalists are treated there before they start whining about Conroy.

  6. An interesting discussion could ensue.

    “Interesting”? No.

  7. Splatterbottom

    “Maybe the News team would like to move their operations to Putin’s (capitalist) Russia and see how journalists are treated there before they start whining about Conroy.”

    Why? Putin’s Russia is Conroy’s blueprint. Conroy has shown totalitarian tendencies all along, starting with his internet filter.

    It was Conroy who said:

    if I say to everyone in this room ‘if you want to bid in our spectrum auction you’d better wear red underpants on your head’, I’ve got some news for you. You’ll be wearing them on your head. I have unfettered legal power.”

    Do you expect this unhinged loon not to abuse his power to censor the press?

    On another point one of the advantages the NBN offers our fascist overlord Conroy is the enhanced ability of it gives him to censor the internet. The government controls the NBN and it won’t even need legislation to filter it. No wonder the government is also abolishing alternatives to the NBN.

    What you see with Conroy is the process by which leftist ideals morph into totalitarian regimes.

  8. SB – unhinged as ever.

  9. “Nothing yet Gadj – Conroy’s proposals have yet to be accepted or implemented.” – mondo

    Glad that we don’t need to write to you in the gulag……yet!

  10. Splatterbottom

    It’s OK to take the red underpants off your head, ‘Gadj. Then you might have a more objective view of Comrade Conroy.

  11. SB advocates objectivity – ain’t that something!

  12. SB doesn’t even realise the context in which those words were spoken: tongue in cheek, sarcastic … no, nuance is totally lost on this man.

  13. Looking at the summary of Conroy’s announcement, it’s evident that what he is introducing is the equivalent of being slapped with a wet feather. Like maybe a pigeon feather. And they STILL start frothing at the mouth.

    Ignore them and eventually they’ll go away. Actually, hopefully they WILL.

  14. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj, take the undies off your head. Most true believers make do with rose coloured glasses but, sadly, it seems Conroy’s used red undies are more to your taste, in a fragrant crotch-sniffing sort of way.

  15. returnedman,

    Yes – the ‘reforms’ are a slight tweaking of the existing self-regulatory framework.

    Heck, they’re even weaker than what the industries own self-regulation body, APC, proposed in its’ IMI submission!

    The frothing at the mouth is pure theatre – and hoping that not too many people realise how slight the ‘reforms’ are.

  16. narcoticmusing

    While I am not content with the current state of our media (its completely for-profit nature where only 1 to 3 voices exist is completely inadequate to enable the 4th estate to function), Conroy is a frightening policy maker.

    I’d be interested as to what the stance of people here are regarding Conroy’s internet filter. Sure there is a difference between the media regulations and a carte blanch filter with a secret black list of sites, but for how long? Will there be a black list of topics?

    My concerns about the media relate primarily to the lack of factual material, real analysis (they are so bloody lazy), irresponsibility (fact checking anyone?) and lack of voices. The partisan nature of it bothers me, yes, but mainly when it is claimed that science is left wing and someone’s opinion is fact – this is where SB and I will never agree re the AGW coverage :)

  17. IF – dumb, stupid, idiotic in theory and unworkable in practice.

  18. Why wouldn’t you support the internet filter Gadj?

    Surely you can see that the internet is changing at an alarming rate, and that it’s a completely different beast today than it was ten years ago? The status quo of ‘no regulation’ is no longer sufficient to protect our democracy in these fast changing times.

    There are a lot of lies told on the intertubes Gadj, and it’s not unreasonable to expect that the government step in and ensure a basic level of factual accuracy and decency is it? Besides it’s not like they’re actually banning sites – they’re just preventing the great unwashed masses from reading them and having their delicate minds corrupted by the nefarious agendas contained therein.

    I mean you and I can be trusted to read everything that’s out there and not get the wrong idea – but that’s because we’re smarter than your average bear. Most people aren’t. They just read things and assume it’s all true.

    Besides, if we give the government power to filter the internet we can totally trust them not to abuse it for personal or political gain. They’re not monsters.

  19. Putin’s Russia is Conroy’s blueprint.

    You heard it here first, folks. Expect poisonings and assassinations of journalists not toeing the party line from this point onwards.

  20. narcoticmusing

    RM, I support some change to the media (notwithstanding I’m not sure on the how), indeed I thought Finklestein’s report was a pretty worthy assessment of the situation (although my significant respect for the Fink may have biased my reading of it). Nevertheless, just because people aren’t going missing/physically harmed does not make something a-ok.

    The Daily Telegraph’s message is that there will be sanctions against free expression/speech by the media. Those sanctions need not be physical harm etc to produce a similar result as in nations that restrict free speech/the media. For example, the media is a for profit machine – fines and other impediments to their profitability (such as denial of a licence) could silence them on particular controversial topics.

    So yes, the Daily Telegraph has grossly exaggerated the situation – but is that a crime? Would you like it to be? Would you like for them to not be able to froth at the mouth at such trivial measures? Is not the fact that there are many that wish the DT didn’t react like that reason to be concerned about media regulation?

    I guess many of my concerns for the government regulation of the media stem from Conroy’s involvement given some of the topics he chose for his black list, which included topics he (more likely those lobbying him) merely found distasteful/offensive. Thus if Conroy can be swayed to filter the internet to protect us from things some lobby group doesn’t want us to read, why would the regulatory body be any different? Particularly if the legislation is rushed and thus does not itself get criticism (ie do you think there will be an exposure draft? Will it be made freely available and the public told it is available? Will it be merely locked in the depths of an impossible to navigate website? etc etc)

  21. narcotic et al:

    I think the point I would make (and I imagine Jeremy’s probably on the same wavelength) is that we have seen how bad it can ACTUALLY get . Whether it’s Stalin’s Russia with everyone learning to speak in “code”, Dirty War-era Argentina, or Joh’s Queensland with censorship rife (I remember seeing ABC shows advertised as “tonight at 8pm except in Queensland” – and they weren’t referring to daylight savings), WE KNOW what media censorship ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE.

    Jeremy has made it clear right here as to what the dangers of Conroy’s internet filter will be, and expressions of dissent regarding it will not suddenly cease. If, as you hypothesise, the legislation is rushed and does not get an exposure draft, PEOPLE WILL INSIST THAT THIS IS WRONG AND WILL PRESSURE THE GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE THE INFORMATION.

    This incoming wet-cabbage-leaf legislation might have some good points; it might have some bad points. It is legislation and WILL NOT BE PERFECT. But to suggest that Conroy has joined the Despot Club because is not just stupid; it’s not just crass; it’s not incorrect and exaggerated: it’s incredibly insulting! At least the British are now rising up to demand an end to the “page 3 girls” in the Sun – what are Australians doing? Sucking up this ridiculous front page and saying “Yes, that’s what we regard as being news – thanks very much.” Well, guess what? I think it’s total crap and I’m saying so.

  22. what are Australians doing? Sucking up this ridiculous front page and saying “Yes, that’s what we regard as being news – thanks very much.”

    Isn’t this just another way of saying that Australians are buying the paper?

    Because you realise that they don’t have to, right?

    The truth is that if enough Australians agreed with you then the Daily Telegraph would quickly go out of business or have to tone down its editorial content. But clearly they don’t. Lots of people like the way the Telegraph reports – crass, incorrect and exaggerated though it may be.

    I think 100% of people reading it understand that it’s hyperbole but they still enjoy the comparison anyway – because it’s fun. The fact that it stirs such indignant outrage in people like you merely adds to their sense of fun.

    Obviously today’s cover is a ridiculous exaggeration but so what? There’s always the Fairfax papers, the ABC and the internet.

  23. “Why wouldn’t you support the internet filter Gadj?

    Surely you can see that the internet is changing at an alarming rate, and that it’s a completely different beast today than it was ten years ago? The status quo of ‘no regulation’ is no longer sufficient to protect our democracy in these fast changing times.

    There are a lot of lies told on the intertubes Gadj, and it’s not unreasonable to expect that the government step in and ensure a basic level of factual accuracy and decency is it? Besides it’s not like they’re actually banning sites – they’re just preventing the great unwashed masses from reading them and having their delicate minds corrupted by the nefarious agendas contained therein.” – mondo

    The internet is just a technology.

    The media (and what we really mean here is journalism) has a role as an institutional actor, one that has an acknowledged and important role in our democracy and the public good. That role is dependent on the truth telling function of journalism (at its best), and the ethical behaviour and professional standards of those who practice it.

    The proposals of the IMI relate to this, not to the technological equivalent of the internet – the printing presses and the paper itself which are the medium (diminishing) of ‘the media’.

    But I’m sure you’re not so stupid that you need this explained.

  24. I think 100% of people reading it understand that it’s hyperbole but they still enjoy the comparison anyway – because it’s fun.

    I think you are definitely overestimating the intelligence of the average Tele reader. And it can’t be 100%, because at least SB takes them seriously.

  25. Lots of toys being thrown out of prams.

    News Ltd Chief;
    - “a gun to the head of the Parliament, our industry and the Australian public”.
    - “This is Soviet-style argument” (someone’s showing their age!)

    Smelling salts for the poor old dear!

    More surprisingly, was Malcolm Turnballs brain-fart yesterday;
    “freedom is at stake, liberty is at stake, democracy is at stake”

    The future of civilization too??

    Amongst all this self-indulgent, self-serving crap, you’d expect our fearless defenders of freedom, democracy and the public interest, would be ensuring they offered the full context of this reform announcement for the public whom they hold in such esteem? I’m sure they have told their readers that the industry’s own regulation body (APC – which they own and run), recommended more powerful checks on the media than Commade Conroy’s plan.

    Surely they did? No??

    Just an oversight, I’m sure.

  26. shorter mondo and sb: free speech is in no way hindered by large global media corporations, ever, because the free market and free speech are the same thing.

    and they think the left are loonies????…….lol.

  27. SB you have many problems, you share most of them with Abbott, one is your complete lack of a sense of irony and dry humour. Hence you write the utter boring tired cr-p you are famous for. Oh what a drab dreary existence you lead and you revel in it.

  28. “because the free market and free speech are the same thing.” – eric

    Certain sections of the media are certainly very keen to represent the two as almost indistinguishable from each other.

    There is an important philosophical question here – if the principle of scrutiny of power is real and the media play a vital role, who scrutinizes the media? If your answer is self-regulation, why does the media get to, in effect, mark its own homework??

  29. the internet is just a technology

    You realise the proposed internet filter will not be filtering ‘technology’, right? That it will be filtering content?

    The proposals of the IMI relate to this, not to the technological equivalent of the internet – the printing presses and the paper itself which are the medium (diminishing) of ‘the media’.

    LOL. Anyone here still read the print version of the newspaper?

    Your argument for further regulation of the media boils down to nothing more than “things are changing = unspecified threat to democracy = need for more regulation”. The exact same reasoning applies to the proposed internet filter, and yet you reject it out of hand in that context.

    Consistency is clearly not your strong point.

  30. Shorter Eric: “I’ve got a giant man made of straw – everyone come and see!”

  31. Splatterbottom

    David: “Oh what a drab dreary existence you lead and you revel in it.”

    It is completely beyond me how you know anything about my life, much less that you might be in a position to make that sort of judgment. I not only enjoy life I do indeed revel in it, not least because I reject the miserabilist view of the world so common among the “intellectual” elite.

  32. Lefty – I owe you an apology.

    I was thinking about this topic last night and realised that I was too caught up in my opposition to the proposed changes and did not pay your commentary the respect it deserves.

    Of course you are right and yesterday’s Tele front page was hysterical nonsense. Of course it is illegitimate to compare Conroy to the world’s most brutal dictators. Of course you’re correct to note that the comparison is ridiculous hyperbole.

    In effect News engaged in a gigantic Godwin – despite the lack of a specific Nazi reference. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost a bit of respect amongst otherwise loyal readers because of it.

    None of that means that I think Conroy’s proposals are necessary or born out of anything other than Labor/Green frustration at negative media coverage, but I should give credit where it’s due. Your mockery of the front page was both fair and warranted.

  33. “You realise the proposed internet filter will not be filtering ‘technology’, right? That it will be filtering content?” – mondo

    And the much the same content is available through the post. No one was suggesting a new ‘post-filter’, which kind of made the whole thing a bit silly – and inconsistent.

    And the main point (which you always ignore in favour of finding some “absurd strawman” to quibble over) is that the reforms are about media performance as an instutitional actor (standards and ethics), not censorship of content (which is what the internet filter was about).

    Lift your game…..or are you absolutely determined to take the debate down to SBs level?

  34. Today Gadj mocks Turnbull for stating that “democracy is at stake” when attacking the media reforms.

    Three days ago on another thread Gadj wrote the following to justify the new media reforms: “Damage to public discourse, to democracy, should be of concern . . . “.

    But you see it’s different when Gadj identifies a risk to democracy because . . . well . . . because the threat Gadj sees is real while the threat Turnbull sees is not.

    Because Finklestein!

  35. And the main point (which you always ignore in favour of finding some “absurd strawman” to quibble over) is that the reforms are about media performance as an instutitional actor (standards and ethics), not censorship of content

    Oh Gadj – that is where we fundamentally disagree. Manipulating content is exactly what these reforms are about.

    You can use nice shiny euphemisms like “media performance” or “media standards” all you like but the clear eyed among us know exactly what the authors of this legislation want.

  36. narcoticmusing

    free speech is in no way hindered by large global media corporations, ever, because the free market and free speech are the same thing. – Eric

    Shorter Eric: “I’ve got a giant man made of straw – everyone come and see!” – Mondo

    This is a really good point and not at all a strawman imho Mondo. We even had baby Murdoch stating in the UK that for -proft model was vital to objective/good reporting. While this may have once been the case, and possibly still is in jurisdictions with many, many voices, that is not the case here. The sheer lack of voices means that the view points discussed are subject to censorship by the owners – surely this is a threat to freedom of the press and freedom of speech just as much as your concerns regarding potential government regulation?

  37. Eric’s attempt represent my argument as “free speech is in no way hindered by global media corporations, ever” is indeed a strawman.

    Because I have never said any such thing, nor do I believe any such thing.

  38. For the record I am, and have always been, in favour of media diversity rules.

  39. “Oh Gadj – that is where we fundamentally disagree. Manipulating content is exactly what these reforms are about.
    You can use nice shiny euphemisms like “media performance” or “media standards” all you like but the clear eyed among us know exactly what the authors of this legislation want.” – mondo

    Again, you rely on mind-reading.

    The ‘we know what they really want’, argument.

    It’s pathetically weak.

    “Euphamisms” – mondo

    ??????????

    Have you completely lost the plot? Abandonded even the pretense of rational discourse?
    What I’ve repeatedly referred to, are the professional code of standards that both individual journalists and the media corps say that they subscribe to. They are written down in black and white.

    “Today Gadj mocks Turnbull for stating that “democracy is at stake” when attacking the media reforms.
    Three days ago on another thread Gadj wrote the following to justify the new media reforms: “Damage to public discourse, to democracy, should be of concern . . . “ – mondo

    Democracy is at stake, because the govt is tweaking the self-regulation rules, and tweaking them less ( less!!) than the media industry’s own body recommended!
    According to this logic the media itself is a bigger threat to democracy than Conroy.

    Address this fundamental issue as opposed to your increasingly vapid and hysterical quibbling.

  40. Mondo,

    I’m seriously trying to understand your POV, but it’s become increasingly irrational.

    My guess is that you’ve let your principled adherence to the notions of free speech etc, become reflexive rejection of anything that might affect this.

    But that is not ‘scepticism’, which you’ve claimed for yourself, but contrarianism, which is another, less helpful, beast altogether.

  41. Splatterbottom

    Add to Underpants Conroy’s sins his decision to punish Sky News by awarding the Australia Network to the ABC in spite of the decision of the independent panel evaluating the tenders that it should be awarded to Sky. Sadly this act of corrupt bastardry is typical of the way things work in Unionland. Just like when Gillard didn’t want the AWU scandal investigated so she put on a hissy fit and had two journalists sacked for daring to even mention it. Suffice to say there were serious questions raised which the police are now investigating. But she did not want you to know that so she abused her position to intimidate journalists. The problem for this gutless thug of a PM is that there will always be people out there who will not be bribed or bullied by the Unionland machine and, like Bob Kernohan, would rather lose their careers and be badly beaten up than to go along with endemic ALP corruption. Sadly some of those who decided to close ranks on the putrid AWU scandal are now in high office. The sooner these mongrels are driven from power the better off the country will be.

  42. No, no, SB. According to News Ltd attack dogs, Sky News is the “leftist media”.

  43. Splatterbottom

    Sky News offers a diverse range of views and opinions inconceivable on the ABC. But that is beside the point – what Underpants did was inexcusable. And typical of the way things work in Unionland. His attack on democratic principles is multi-pronged. Fortunately this corrupt cabal will be ‘pronged’ by the voters come September and then we will have to deal with a different set of bastards, but it is difficult to see how they could be worse than the proto-totalitarians now in power.

  44. SB really needs to start selling tickets. It’s complete gold.

  45. I guess none of this should surprise us…..the preview was played out in GB after the Leveson Inquiry.

    The same hysterical hyperbole, the same naked self-interest of the large media corps masquerading as concern over free speech and the publics ‘right to know’ .

    Sadly, these proposed reforms, even if they do go through (unlikely, IMHO), aren’t likely to be enough to clean up the stench emanating from the corporate press. The hyperbolic reactions are only confirming the problem – maybe that’s a good thing.

  46. Democracy is at stake, because the govt is tweaking the self-regulation rules, and tweaking them less ( less!!) than the media industry’s own body recommended!

    No Gadj – that’s not why democracy is being threatened.

    Democracy is eroded not when the media seeks to self-regulate, but when the Government steps in and regulates it. Do you understand the difference between self-regulation and government regulation? Can you grasp why one of these might be a threat to media freedom while the other not – even when the regulations being proposed are identical?

    Try to understand this and you will then understand your opponent’s position. It’s a very simple concept – I guarantee you that most Daily Telegraph readers grasp it.

    It doesn’t take a mind-reader to understand what impulse is driving Labor and the Greens here – it only takes someone capable of observing the run-up of events that have led us to this policy proposal. It is frankly inconceivable to me that any of you would support a government media regulator if the suggestion was coming from a Liberal Government – especially one with such a glaringly obvious motive (i.e. struggling to get its message across against a hostile media).

    If this was coming from the other side you would ALL see it for exactly what it is. Your partisan/tribal loyalty is driving you on this issue and deep down I suspect you all know it.

  47. Mondo,

    you seem terribly confused.

    The govt has already stepped in and regulated – that happened about 30-40 years ago. There are several govt mandated regulatory bodies, it’s just that the govt mandated self-regulation.

    That remains the case with the new reforms – self-regulation is to continue.

    What really irks the industry is that they might be compelled to release information that they have been criticised by the regulatory – that is, they want to withhold information from the public, rather than increase it.

  48. Lefty – ignore SB’s ‘Left-baiting’ for a moment and think about the issue he’s raising.

    Can you not even consider the idea that Conroy might have overruled the advice of his Department and handed the Network to the ABC for political reasons? Do you reject this as an out-and-out impossibility?

    Because if you don’t – and you quite obviously shouldn’t – then you have to accept that Conroy is entirely capable of making policy decisions for party-political advantage.

    Really – how confident are you that he’s not doing the same thing here?

    I have little faith in the others here but I still hold out hope that your relative quietness during this debate is because part of you knows that this thing stinks to high heaven.

    You need to listen more to that part.

  49. Splatterbottom

    “I have little faith in the others here”

    Perhaps a little unfair to Narcotic?

  50. mondo blurted: “The truth is that if enough Australians agreed with you then the Daily Telegraph would quickly go out of business or have to tone down its editorial content. ”

    Ahh yes, phew, that’s all ok then, the free market at work, why worry?

  51. Yes – a good point. I didn’t mean to lump Narc in with the others.

    Sorry Narc.

  52. “No Gadj – that’s not why democracy is being threatened.

    Democracy is eroded not when the media seeks to self-regulate, but when the Government steps in and regulates it. Do you understand the difference between self-regulation and government regulation? Can you grasp why one of these might be a threat to media freedom while the other not – even when the regulations being proposed are identical? ” – mondo

    Errr…….you seem a bit confused.

    You know we’ve had govt regulation for the last 40-50 years, right???

    The self-regulation bodies are mandated by govt.

    ACMA is a statutory reg body set up by the govt, and before that it was ABT, likewise set up by govt….can’t remember what it was before ABT.

    We aren’t getting govt regulation were before there was none – as I said, it is a tweak to the existing regulatory framework.

    Let’s get back to a core issue of your argument that I really need some clarification on. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but you genuinely think that there is no problem with the current media and it’s performance per your “perfectly well” comment?, hence the proposals are unacceptable as a matter of principle.

    Can I contrast your position with that of the thing you would seem to support – the self-regulatory body, the APC.
    It was highly critical of the media in it’s IMI submission (as have all the past heads of the APC)
    - papers not adhering to the standards they agree to as part of the APC
    - refusing to publish adverse findings,as required to under the APC.
    - threatening to hold back funding (and in the case of The Oz, actually doing it) f the APC criticized their performance
    - overall underfunding the APC to the point that all APC heads have claimed that the APC in unable to perform the self-regulatory activities that it was created to undertake.

    In light of the criticisms of the industry’s own self-reg body, do you still claim that all is well, and there is no basis for any change? (all the news heads – Hywood, Williams etc -made this claim).

  53. Just like when Gillard didn’t want the AWU scandal investigated so she put on a hissy fit and had two journalists sacked for daring to even mention it.

    Explain how the Prime Minister is able to have journalists sacked. Surely only their employer can sack them.

  54. If the free market is so robust, then why isn’t Rupert sitting behind his desk cackling maniacally and screeching “Fools! You think your little laws will affect me? Try again, little people!” instead of howling that we’re all rooned?

  55. Explain how the Prime Minister is able to have journalists sacked.

    A very good point. I get the feeling a number of people are missing the Cold War and being able to have these suspicions legitimately.

  56. Ah! A perfect nutshell from Richard Ackland in the Age:

    The self-righteous bloviating from press interests, and the shrill coverage from News Ltd papers in particular, leads to the suspicion that Senator Conroy can’t be far wrong with his tiny package of media reforms.

  57. Gadj – your commentary is becoming increasingly deceptive.

    Take your comment above: instead of addressing the issue at hand you’re now rabbiting on about the ACMA! Gadj – the ACMA does not have the capacity to regulate news media content – it sets basic standards for radio and television licensing. It checks the “no boobs on TV before 7:30pm” rules and local content quotas. These powers have nothing to do with the debate at hand – nothing to do with maintaining a healthy diversity of viewpoints within our news media.

    But I’ll throw you a bone here: if a government were proposing an overhaul of the ACMA regulations that would allow it to influence news or editorial content on radio and television (and it’s certainly not impossible that a government might do this) then I would be taking exactly the same line I am now.

    Let’s kill this silly red herring of yours: I am not opposed to the government exercising regulatory power in general. There are a myriad of regulatory powers you could raise that I have no quarrel with for the simple reason that they do not create a potential for the government to interfere in free political and social debate. This one does and that’s why I oppose it.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but you genuinely think that there is no problem with the current media and it’s performance per your “perfectly well” comment?

    There are a myriad of errors committed by our current media providers. There are countless examples of reporting that I consider to be poor quality, factually incorrect and grossly misleading. My opinion is that our media outlets perform appallingly on a regular basis and, as Narc said above: The sheer lack of voices means that the view points discussed are subject to censorship by the owners.

    But the solution to this is more voices – not an attempt by the government to intervene and try to control what’s said by the few voices we do have.

  58. Explain how the Prime Minister is able to have journalists sacked.

    Step 1: Contact the media proprietor employing the journalists

    Step 2: Threaten to severely limit access to her government and ministers unless that media proprietor fires the journalists in question.

    or

    Step 2: Threaten to use Parliamentary privilege to defame the media proprietor and/or their business.

    or

    Step 2: Threaten to pass laws adversely affecting the business interests of that media proprietor.

    Use your imagination Buns. The office of Prime Minister isn’t exactly a powerless one . . .

  59. returnedman…yes indeed, this whole issue is in fact about the market. Not about freedom of press or free speech at all. I have seen no indication whatsoever that these reforms, similar to past contested media ownership reforms, will in fact touch say, politically positioned editorial content (such as it is ;-) in any way at all.

    What it will touch is the media barons capacity to own as much as they want. So of course, any attempt, by any government of whatever persuasion to curtail rich corporations’ opportunity to get richer will be hailed as evil and despotic, simply because the people, as represented by parliament, seek occasionally to properly monitor and control, say, monopolies and duopolies.

    Let’s face it, it’s not as if Coles and Woolworths dominance in retail significantly influences the overall diversity of retail outlets available to Australian citizens in such a small population base…..is it??? I mean, we should just let them do whatever they want………

  60. And Queen Elizabeth II could dissolve any Commonwealth parliament and veto any legislation if she wanted to. But what would happen if she did?

    Same with the PM. Yes, in theory she “could”; in practice she absolutely would not.

  61. Same with the PM. Yes, in theory she “could”; in practice she absolutely would not.

    So you admit that she could, but you have faith that she would not.

    Fair enough – although I don’t share your faith in our politicians RM.

  62. OK … I think you might have misunderstood my analogy. Perhaps I need to explain it again:

    Parliamentary privilege (for example) is not “carte blanche”. Any politician who abuses it (in the moral sense) will find themselves on the wrong end of popular opinion. The wrong that they have committed will find itself righted fairly quickly – for example: the politician will take back their words; or may even find themselves voted out of office.

    Office holders are at the mercy of popular reaction. History tells us this. There is no “faith” about it. The examples you gave of Gillard’s hypothetical behaviour are extreme and would not be tolerated. Elizabeth Windsor is a referendum away from losing her queenliness if she were to do anything that gave a whiff of Charles I.

    Please, people. This is Australia. This is not Zimbabwe. We are not even close.

  63. narcoticmusing

    Mondo – are you suggesting that just because someone holds a position of power they can be defamed and are not permitted to act on it? That, in my understanding of the events, is what happened. It was a person exercising their civil rights, not a PM abusing power to coerce.

    I think it is important that rights, like free speech, are limited to rights like not being harmed by lies. The PM is a person whose position is particularly reliant on reputation – thus there is significant harm when lies are spread about the PM personally. I disagree with the notion that free speech should include harming others withotu recourse (notwithstanding public identities should perhaps have a different test standard so as to not silence any comment on them).

    have seen no indication whatsoever that these reforms, similar to past contested media ownership reforms, will in fact touch say, politically positioned editorial content – Eric
    It does appear that is the case given what Conroy has released to the media about it. I am supportive of attempts to maintain media diversity, so if the proposed changes do that, then that is fine. Has anyone had a chance to actually look at the Bill to see if it goes beyond media diversification controls? I’ve been too busy :(

  64. Wisdom Like Silence

    I for one welcome our new overlords.

  65. Mondo – are you suggesting that just because someone holds a position of power they can be defamed and are not permitted to act on it?

    No – where did you get that idea!!?

  66. Wisdom Like Silence

    Pappanazi

  67. “Gadj – your commentary is becoming increasingly deceptive.
    Take your comment above: instead of addressing the issue at hand you’re now rabbiting on about the ACMA! Gadj – the ACMA does not have the capacity to regulate news media content – it sets basic standards for radio and television licensing. It checks the “no boobs on TV before 7:30pm” rules and local content quotas. These powers have nothing to do with the debate at hand – nothing to do with maintaining a healthy diversity of viewpoints within our news media. ” – mondo

    Deceptive??

    My comments did directly relate to ‘the debate at hand’ . That you don’t understand this confirms my increasing suspicion that you don’t know what you’re talking about. My purported deception is just your ignorance.

    Let’s walk through it.

    “Democracy is eroded not when the media seeks to self-regulate, but when the Government steps in and regulates it. Do you understand the difference between self-regulation and government regulation? Can you grasp why one of these might be a threat to media freedom while the other not ” – mondo

    My comment about ACMA relates very directly to this. Why?

    Because ACMA does way way more than look out for ‘boobs….. before 7:30pm’ . ACMA, amongst other things, is empowered to investigate complaints about accuracy in broadcast news. And enforce corrective actions.

    Look at the following process;
    - complaint to statutory body about factual inaccuracy in the media
    - investigation of complaint by body
    - publication of outcome of the investigation +/- enforced broadcast of correction as directed by the statutory body.

    Sounds like you idea of hell? The erosion of democracy, you say?? You’d never support such a horror??

    Straight out of the IMI Report???

    No. It’s ACMA. Today. And for the past 8 years.

    These terrible powers were granted to it by the notoriously left-wing, “Soviet-Style” Commrade Howard!!!!!

    This is the existing reality that you say should not be touched, that serves us “perfectly well”.

    Care to the explain the complete and utter contradiction in holding these mutually exclusive positions?

    “But I’ll throw you a bone here: if a government were proposing an overhaul of the ACMA regulations that would allow it to influence news or editorial content on radio and television (and it’s certainly not impossible that a government might do this) then I would be taking exactly the same line I am now.” – mondo

    How embarrassing for you.

  68. narcoticmusing

    This incoming wet-cabbage-leaf legislation might have some good points; it might have some bad points. It is legislation and WILL NOT BE PERFECT – Returnedman

    I accept that the legislation will not be perfect, however, my primary concerns related to the Pandora’s Box effect. Once you open a door like this where you enable government interference via a set regulator, it is very hard to undo, and tends to expand to deal with a list of horribles presented to it by lobbiests and indeed the parties in power themselves.

    I note however that, based purely on what Conroy has released, it does not appear to be as much of a concern as it could have been. I would still be opposed to it if it still intends on introducing a regulator with coercive powers over content (or potential for regulations to shift and include such powers – noting that unlike statutes, subordinate legislation like regulations can be amended without going to Parliament and thus without the public check & balance).

  69. narcoticmusing

    No – where did you get that idea!!? – Mondo

    Good :) I inferred it from what I perceived as insistance that the PMs motives for contacting the newspaper (who, as she asserted, lied about her) were somehow an abuse of power.

    Apologies if I read that wrong.

  70. narcoticmusing

    Wis – I hope you have trademarked that term ‘Pappanazi’ – it is gold.

  71. No, all I was doing was answering Buns query about how a sitting PM might act to have a newspaper journalist fired.

    BTW what were the lies that the newspaper told about Gillard?

  72. narcoticmusing

    You ask a lot from a Friday me – if I recall, Gillard protested the matters reported during her former life as a lawyer.

  73. But didn’t all that stuff turn out to be true?

  74. narcoticmusing

    Not from my reading of it. There was a lot of nudge nudge, wink wink and not much actual proof/evidence/substance that she actually did anything wrong/outside the normal course of her role (such as to follow instructions of your client). I dare say most lawyers would relate to the position she was in.

  75. Wisdom Like Silence

    Pappanazi is an owned and accredited trademark with (sic)tm.

  76. Thanks, mondo, but I have enough imagination to think up some of the things the PM might’ve said in her conversation with Chris Mitchell which preceded the sackings. But obviously the decision to sack those journalists was their employer’s in the end, as I said earlier.

    Step 2: Threaten to severely limit access to her government and ministers unless that media proprietor fires the journalists in question.

    or

    Step 2: Threaten to use Parliamentary privilege to defame the media proprietor and/or their business.

    If they were sacked solely as a result of either of those threats, Chris Mitchell has even less balls than I think he does. Assuming the Australian stood by its story – and if they didn’t, presumably they wouldn’t have published it – surely any press outlet run by people with spines would’ve simply run a story the following day about how the PM rang and attempted to strong-arm them, but that the paper had told her where to go. That certainly would’ve been the principled thing to do. As a bonus, the Australian would have greatly embarrassed the PM, something I imagine it would’ve been happy to do given its strong anti-Gillard editorial position.

    As if the Australian gives a shit about the PM running it down in parliament! And as if she would, straight after that article – drawing attention to the story all the more and inviting even more questioning about it. What a massive own goal that would be, coupled with the embarrassment of an article in the Australian the next day about how she’d tried and failed to have them sack two journalists. I’m pretty sure that people who buy the Australian are already aware that the PM’s not its biggest fan. Come on.

    Step 2: Threaten to pass laws adversely affecting the business interests of that media proprietor.

    Probably not much of a threat either, given we live in a parliamentary democracy and not a dictatorship.

  77. Wait, so right now the PM already has the power to bully media companies by threatening to block access (a self-defeating move if ever there was one, but anyway)?

    So… exactly how is the slight change to merger rules proposed, or the requirement to participate in PIMA if you want to have special rights to avoid the rules in the Privacy Act under which the rest of us operate, a tyrannical government silencing critics?

    It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s not like the government would be making the decisions at PIMA, any more than they make the decisions in our courts. It’s not like there’s anything in the Privacy Act that would stop the present political reporting anyway.

    Seriously, give us some examples of stories that could be shut down under the new proposals but not now.

  78. Fortunately this corrupt cabal will be ‘pronged’ by the voters come September and then we will have to deal with a different set of bastards, but it is difficult to see how they could be worse than the proto-totalitarians now in power.

    Sadly, I think you will see, and very quickly. And so will the rest of us.

  79. “So, when the Howard government gave ACMA the power to dictate to television and radio broadcasters the kind of content they should be broadcasting, and gave itself the power to dictate to broadcasters what kind of news broadcasters should put to air, News Ltd was entirely uninterested and expressed no concern about free speech or a free press. And the Liberal Party cabinet and backbench waved through these draconian powers as the price of securing National Party support for other media law reforms.”

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2013/03/16/if-you-want-to-see-government-control-of-journalism-try-this/

  80. Eric,

    Yes, many broadcasters (mostly regionsl radio) have lost their licences over the local content rules.

  81. narcoticmusing

    Thanks for the link Eric, a good article.

    It does appear that the proposals from Conroy aren’t as frightening as they could’ve been, although I still haven’t had a chance to look at the Bill or I should say Bills as there are like 5 of them – this is one of the things that irritates me with the Feds (of both colours). They never just put up a Bill, it is always a ‘scheme’ with a bunch of Acts that work together. I wonder if they do this to make it as oblique as possible to the common man? I digress, but having many Bills and a media unwilling to do any real analysis of any of it means I’ll have to read each myself to determine my view.

    It was good to note in the ex-memo that the Public Interest Media Advocate (a body I was concerned about) will operate free of direction from Government or a Minister. It is also comforting to note that the proposed legislation does not apply to any extent that it would infringe on the implied freedom of political communication (clause 14 of the Self-Regulation Bill).

    Has anyone had a chance to read the actual Bills (as opposed to Conroy’s release)? They are on the Parliament website (http://www.aph.gov.au/) under the tab ‘Bills’ if people don’t know where to find them :)

  82. Had a quick glance through them – haven’t been able to discern anything too terrifying yet.

    Though the govt has talked about increasing diversity in the media, from wht I’ve read the primary goal of the PIMA would seem to be preventing any further loss of diversity.

  83. Not a very educated or informed article. Fancy putting Fidel Castro in the same boat as Stalin. I was in Cuba last year, you could sitch on the tele or radio and there was lots of yankee imperialist propaganda including Goebbels/Murdock’s own Foxtel. If only Australia would adopt some of the great ideas from the Cuban model of Socialism we would be so much better off. When we see Nazi propaganda like this in our daily rags Australians should be very worried indead about what hidden adgendas are driving such a concerted effort of lies. Could it be the threat to Foxtel from the new NBN or more of mad Dictator’s wish to eliminate any compitition from the ABC and other public run media? When you think about it why was Ruperts picture of missing from that published gallery of rouges?

  84. narcoticmusing

    Mr Rainbow, you see the irony in complaining about the Daily and then comparing it Foxtel to Nazi propaganda right?

  85. Splatterbottom

    DR: “Fancy putting Fidel Castro in the same boat as Stalin.”

    Of course you are right! Castro was only small time mass murderer compared to Stalin. That makes it all OK. And his people have had such great freedoms living happily under the Castro dynasty for the last 50 years. And the Cuban people just keep voting for them – they must be truly wonderful rulers.

    Also be careful what you wish for. History is littered with useful idiots returning from totalitarian states singing their praises.

  86. So now you guys are trying to sell local content quotas as being equivalent to a government appointed media regulator?

    Certainly both involve government intervention into news content, and so if you speak of both proposals in sufficiently general terms then they sound the same. Like how flying a kite and assaulting someone sound the same if you describe them as “things that people do”.

    But they’re clearly distinguishable on the grounds of their ability to stifle free and frank discussion of political topics. Rapping a station over the knuckles because they don’t include enough local content is quite obviously not the same as creating a government regulator with authority to adjudicate over the ‘factual’ accuracy of news and political opinion.

    Gadj: ACMA, amongst other things, is empowered to investigate complaints about accuracy in broadcast news. And enforce corrective actions.

    You know what Gadj – you’re right. And credit where it’s dues, at least you are comparing apples with apples here.

    The Alan Jones case quite clearly involved the ACMA adjudicating a question of fact within political commentary. I’m not sure that Jones’ subsequent retraction served any purpose at all other than to make his ideological opponents feel better about themselves, but for the purposes of your argument that’s not really relevant. It is still a point well made.

    The ACMA is a government appointed body with the ability to interfere in media content on the basis of factual accuracy. Obviously the ‘stick’ it uses to enforce this power is its ability to remove broadcasting rights – which is why it cannot control commentary within the print media – but the more I think about it the more I realise that this is the same model on which Conroy’s new reforms are being based.

    Care to the explain the complete and utter contradiction in holding these mutually exclusive positions?

    Well it should go without saying that I don’t approve of the power held by the ACMA either – thus there is no contradiction, “complete and utter” or otherwise. Makes me glad I voted Labor back when Howard introduced these laws.

  87. Splatterbottom

    Underpants Conroy’s legislation applies retrospectively so that, for example, News could be forced to divest itself of HWT. Nothing wrong with that is there?

  88. narcoticmusing

    SB, I missed the part about it being retrospective. Do you know what clause it is (or even which Bill out of the scheme?) – Ta :)

  89. Splatterbottom

    Narc, I was basing my comment on s.78EC(1) of the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (NewsMedia Diversity) Act 2013:

    “(1) This section applies if:
    (a) one or more transactions took place before the commencement of this section; and
    (b) the transactions had the result that a control event occurred before the commencement of this section in relation to one or more listed news media voices; and
    (c) the control event involved a person becoming in a position to exercise control of a particular listed news media voice; and
    (d) the PIMA is satisfied that the control event has resulted in a substantial lessening of diversity of control of listed news media voices.

    I haven’t studied it in detail, but a plain reading of that section accords with Kim Williams comments.

  90. Splatterbottom

    Sorry it isn’t an Act yet, still a Bill.

  91. I’m pretty sure SB has this wrong.

    IIRC it’s something to do the ‘transition period’ of the legislation.

    I’ll have a look again later and see if my memory is playing triks on me.

  92. Had a look – section 78EC(1) covers the short period from the time the bill is introduced to the House of Reps to when (If) it is passed – a time period of 2 weeks, if all goes as planned (very unlikely).

    So, it’ not the kind of retrospectivity that SB is claiming (” News could be forced to divest itself of HWT. Nothing wrong with that is there?”), but is aimed at preventing sudden changes which are carried out to avoid the new rules.

  93. narcoticmusing

    Thanks SB and nawagadj for looking at that – I obviously need to get my act together and have a look too :) Nevertheless, transitional arrangements to prevent explotiation of the rules prior to them being in force are pretty standard and I would not consider that retrospectivity.

  94. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj, section 78EC(1) could mean what you say, and I hope you are right. The problem I have is that the transitional period you refer to is defined as the “pre commencement period”. Although that term is used in the section heading to s.78EC, unfortunately it is not used in the section itself. If it was, the meaning would be clear. The issue of the availability of section headings to be used in the construction of a section varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in Australia. In the Commonwealth, (and the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia), section headings may not be used as an aid to construction, so the section heading doesn’t help much in this case.

    As it is the plain meaning of the section is that it applies to transactions which “took place before the commencement of this section”. If the intention was to limit s.78EC as you suggest, the legislation would have stated that the section applies to transactions which took place in the pre-commencement period. “Pre-commencement period” is used in other sections, but not this one and it is likely that a court would infer from this that because parliament chose not to use the pre-commencement period as the term to designate the limits of s.78EC, the words “took place before the commencement of this section” should have their ordinary meaning. That is that s.78EC applies retrospectively, and not just to the pre commencement period.

  95. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “I obviously need to get my act together”

    You’ve got time yet to do that. It is still a Bill. When it is an Act you can get it together. :grin:

  96. Ah SB!

    You are my touchstone for truth. You say X, and we can be 99.9% certain it’s not X.

    The ‘pre-commencement period’ is defined in the Bill. Look at the early section (78AB) called, (would you believe it??), ‘Definitions’.

    See what happens when you take Kim Williams statements at face value?

  97. Splatterbottom

    I’ve just noticed a 2011 Amendment to s.13 the Commonwealth Acts Interpretation Act which has the effect of making section headings part of the Act and thus there is a need to balance the reference to “pre commencement period” in the section heading with the clear words of s.78EC(1). Usually the words of the section would prevail, but not always. In this case the Explanatory Memorandum supports ‘Gadj’s view, and it seems likely that the retrospectivity of s.78EC would be limited to the pre-commencement period.

  98. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj, “The ‘pre-commencement period’ is defined in the Bill. Look at the early section (78AB) called, (would you believe it??), ‘Definitions’.”

    I’m aware of that. My point was that the term “pre-commencement period” is not used in the text of s.78EC(1) itself, only in the heading to s.78EC. This appears to be a drafting error if the intention was to limit the retrospectivity in s.78EC(1) to the pre-commencement period (as defined) and not (as the section states) the period prior to the commencement of the section (which would mean indefinite retrospectivity).

    So my view is that on balance the position you stated is correct.

  99. That was a desperate straw clutch of the worst kind of lawyerly sophistry.

    The meaning was not at all unclear.

    This is what happens when you let yourself by led by the nose by the self-serving twaddle of the Kim Williams’s.

  100. narcoticmusing

    Which is a huge relief. Managing the transition period to prevent exploitation is important but retrospectivity in any legislation is almost always oppressive. Even in cases where it might seem reasonable (such as say, sex offenders registry) there is a case to be made as to punishing someone with a law that didn’t exist.

  101. narcoticmusing

    nawagadj – interpretation of legislation is indeed lawyerly sophistry – hence it is considered one of the greatest causes for concern by the major courts in our law graduates. With legislation taking up more and more of the legal field (as opposed to common law/equity) the ability to interpret legislation (which has many, many rules both in legislation and case law) is critical. SB’s analysis – re the common meaning – was reasonable and consistent with current law (albeit the interpretation of legislation acts and case law around essentially if a term is ambiguous then one looks to the rest of the act to figure out the meaning).

  102. Splatterbottom

    “Gadj:

    Here is why the meaning is unclear:

    Section 78EC says:

    (1) This section applies if:
    (a) one or more transactions took place before the commencement of this section

    Here is what the section would to say if it was to clearly and unambiguously carry the meaning that you suggest:

    (1) This section applies if:
    (a) one or more transactions took place during the pre-commencement period

    Other sections, when they mean to refer to the pre-commencement period actually use those words. This section doesn’t, hence the ambiguity. As I said, I agree that your view is probably what was intended and I agree that a court would likely reach that conclusion. What I don’t get is why you have to pretend that there is no ambiguity when there clearly is.

  103. Since the title of the section makes it clear that’s all about the pre-commencement (clearly defined) period, it was all sophistry and no law.

    SB, perhaps if you expressed yourself with less certainty when you’re making these claims (usually in error), you’d come across as much more reasonable.
    eg
    “…does Conroy’s legislation applies retrospectively so that, for example, News could be forced to divest itself of HWT?” ,
    rather than,
    “Underpants Conroy’s legislation applies retrospectively so that, for example, News could be forced to divest itself of HWT. Nothing wrong with that is there?”

  104. And what do people think about the media reforms in GB?

    Is democracy imperiled over there too?

  105. Splatterbottom

    I“SB, perhaps if you expressed yourself with less certainty”

    I get your point. ‘Gadj. After that comment I tried to be as neutral as possible when it came down to the law.

    “And what do people think about the media reforms in GB?”

    Its worse!

    Interestingly it seems that one reason Conroy may have tried to ram this through in such a frenzy is that he wanted to trade on the UK NOTW scandal. Cameron was fixated by the UK position in Committee yesterday and in parliament:

    During question time, Ms Gillard hit back at opposition attacks over the media reform by pointing to UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s compromise press regulation deal agreed to this week.
    Ms Gillard said the UK proposals ”go far far further than anything” in the Gillard government’s reform package.
    In a reference to censorship criticisms levelled by the opposition, Ms Gillard said the Coalition should make the same complaints about the UK Conservative Party’s reforms or face accusations of hypocrisy.

  106. If anything the above wrangling over interpretation of the legislation merely highlights another reason why government interference in our free press is such a bad idea.

    By far the best principle from which to operate is for the government to, wherever possible, refrain from interfering in our freedoms unless their is a clear need to do so and a mandate from the people to act.

    Unfortunately in the present case the government appears to be acting for reasons that are far from clear and without any such mandate. Fortunately, however, it looks like they will not succeed (and will yet again pay a political price for their attempt).

  107. narcoticmusing

    Particularly when there is no safety barrier in Australia – such as an entrenched Human Rights act – legislation that potentially limits freedoms should have a very serious rationale.

    That being said, as these reforms stand, they do appear to only promote media diversity (yes, yes, I still haven’t got around to reading them proper yet)

  108. narco,

    Yes, I think a Bill of Rights would be a very good match with some strengthened media regulation.

  109. That being said, as these reforms stand, they do appear to only promote media diversity (yes, yes, I still haven’t got around to reading them proper yet)

    Except for the proposed Public Interest Media Advocate’s powers to oversee press ‘standards’ and to punish newspapers that fail to meet those standards.

    That reform has noting to do with media diversity.

  110. narcoticmusing

    nawagadj – I’d also like to see any Human Rights legislation be entrenched (ie that it cannot be removed by a mere majority of the house on the day). More and more we are seeing rights in competition in Australia because we have not taken a position on what rights are our sacred cows or at least, which rights we are least willing to limit. While the international agreements we are co-signatories of are influential, they have not been incorporated into Australian law (notwithstanding some isolated acts, such as anti-discrimination legislation).

    Even the human rights acts in the ACT and Vic lack adequate teeth. They are a positive step yes, but they are not enforceable in their own right. They have got to the point now where they are a tick box on legislation, where statements of compatibility are so heavily biased so as to not even consider genuinely whether the bill in question infringes/limits rights. They are also at risk every time a conservative government comes in power (simply majority and they are amended/out – any govt in power has the ability to ditch/modify the rights and/or the consequences), their applicability is inappropriately limited in scope (eg who has to respect human rights and who doesn’t have to give a shit – hint: mega corporations are in the latter category); the list goes on.

    Mondo – my time poor status continues so haven’t looked at the Bills in any detail yet and most media outlets are so horrendously biased to give no accurate/reliable account. The irony is pretty compelling :)

  111. mondo is so reasonable isn’t he? I mean, it’s not like the public have any interests or anything outside of the market place, they should just buy stuff in the market place and be thankful. And its not like parliament is there elected to represent the public interest or anything, parliament is just there to make sure the market place can do whatever it wants.

  112. Mondo,

    I curious about the scare quotes re; media ‘standards’.

    Do you think there are none, or should be none, or what exactly?

    Though, my reading of the bill sees no powers to directly punish any newspapers.

  113. As biased as the media is on this one Narc, I don’t think there is much doubt that one proposal is that that the office of PIMA be created and given powers to decide what is in the ‘Public Interest’ when registering bodies that will oversee the operation of the media.

    Whether you think that is a good idea or not, it is clearly a power that goes beyond the mere promotion of media diversity.

    Eric – let go of your strawman and stop making an arse of yourself. I don’t believe in some sort of inviolate primacy of the free market and/or the marketplace and never have. I support all sorts of market regulation – I just don’t support laws that create a potential for government to influence the content of what is reported to us by the press.

    You might also note that in this thread I was willing to admit error to Nawagadj and conclude that his argument was (at least in part) right while mine was wrong. Something that I doubt you have even done on these pages.

  114. Gadj: I believe that press standards are subjective, and that the concept can mean different things to different people – much like the concept of what is in the ‘public interest’. As far as is practically possible I do not believe that the State should have any role in imposing standards on the press unless absolutely necessary to protect the Australian people from clear and unambiguous harm.

    But you already knew that.

    And while it is certainly good that the proposed laws will not contain powers that allow the government to directly punish newspapers, I remain concerned about the potential for indirect punishment through, for example, the appointment of an ideologically friendly PIMA.

  115. Mondo,

    I did mention this before, but just to be clear, the standards are written down in black and write, and I gave a few examples to show they can be objectively evaluated.

    It’s interesting that you mention ‘public interest’ as an example of differing concepts. You know that the APC standards (currently self-regulated to a degree) rely on their own definition of ‘public interest’ to justify certain journalistic practices??
    So, on the one hand we should accept that, but on the other we should reject the governments use of the concept?

    ” to protect the Australian people from clear and unambiguous harm.” – mondo.

    Clear and unambiguous harm?? My, what a subjective concept that is! How many different things that might mean to different people.

    Your reasoning continues to suffer from internal incoherence and contradiction.

  116. “Much of the opposition to the federal government’s tame media reforms stems from a now ritual assumption among journalists and others that “free markets” are synonymous with “free media”. Nothing could be further from the truth”.

    http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/free-media-vs-free-market.html

  117. So, on the one hand we should accept that, but on the other we should reject the governments use of the concept?

    Nope. Neither ‘we’ nor the news media should accept APC ‘standards’ if we don’t want to (and, incidentally, the news media regularly doesn’t). That’s what I like about the current system – it’s effectively optional. It leaves us, the citizens, with choice about what we want to write, publish, read and hear. Warts and all.

    Obviously that level of freedom is very frustrating to some.

    Clear and unambiguous harm?? My, what a subjective concept that is!

    Um . . . OK, if you say so Gadj.

  118. narcoticmusing

    Gadj, it is wise to be concerned about a ‘public interest’ test given it is the number one basis given by government for refusal to release information under FOI.

  119. “Nope. Neither ‘we’ nor the news media should accept APC ‘standards’ if we don’t want to (and, incidentally, the news media regularly doesn’t). That’s what I like about the current system…” – mondo

    I wasn’t referring to the standards themselves here, but the underlying concept of the ‘public interest’ that some rest on. The notion of the public interest is fundamental to the journalists privleges, such as exemption from privacy laws. It’s often expressed in terms of ‘the public’s right to know’.
    Accepting it in this case, without question, when you previously found it to be dubious in relation to the govts proposed reforms, takes some explaining.

    Though that’s quite some statement you make about the APC!! You’ve been arguing for the primacy of self-regulation – then you just toss it out the window.

    ” ‘Clear and unambiguous harm?? My, what a subjective concept that is!’ – nawagadj
    Um . . . OK, if you say so Gadj.” – mondo

    Simply using the words, ‘clear and unambiguous’ is not a magic wand to dispel perceptions. What do you mean by ‘harm’ – physical? More than that? – reputation, feelings?? Goodbye clarity.
    At what level is something ‘unambiguous’ and according to whom? When 90% of people think it is, or only when we have zero disagreement??

  120. “Gadj, it is wise to be concerned about a ‘public interest’ test given it is the number one basis given by government for refusal to release information under FOI.” – narco

    I thought it was ‘commercial in confidence’.

  121. Though that’s quite some statement you make about the APC!! You’ve been arguing for the primacy of self-regulation – then you just toss it out the window.

    I love that, instead of engaging with any of the the principles or concepts I’ve raised throughout this debate, you’ve spent the entire process simply trying to trip me up Gadj. This is – what – the fifteenth time you’ve tried (and failed) to establish that my argument is internally inconsistent?

    Listen carefully and try to accept what I’m saying here: I don’t believe in specific laws that have the capacity to influence or regulate news media content. I find such laws counter to the principle of democracy. I find them contrary to the notion of a free society.

    No amount of your “but what about the APC?, what about the ACMA?, what about defamation? what about Conroy’s underpants?” detours establish this as an inconsistent principle. To the extent that the regulatory bodies have the power to influence news media content I don’t support them. Defamation law is not aimed at regulation of the news media – it is a law offering all Australian citizens redress and protection from harm (that may, itself, need a significant overhaul). And Conroy’s underpants are red.

    Your semantic games and silly “gotchas” are not going to affect my fundamental adherence to the principle of a free and unfettered press (a principle, incidentally, to which all those who value their freedom ought adhere). That’s the thing about principles, you don’t abandon them because they become politically inconvenient, or because you might score a hollow victory over a columnist you hate.

    I don’t believe in “the primacy of self-regulation” when it comes to the news media – once again you have failed to properly characterise my viewpoint – I believe in the primacy of no regulation. I believe that people should be able to print, see, read and hear anything they want. Lies, half-truths, offensive statements – you name it – all of it should be available to us. Even campaigns by News Limited journalists aimed at your favored politicians.

    At this point I don’t really care if you accept this as a valid way of thinking or not, especially as it has now become irrelevant due to the defeat of your desired media reforms.

  122. narcoticmusing

    It does depend on which jurisdiction; however my understanding is that overall, ‘public interest’ is the most used. Furthermore, it is one of the only rationales that is not defined and thus the most abused (ie the most overturned at courts/tribunals that review such things). Commercial in confidence and cabinet-in-confidence are relatively easy to define (the fomer more so than the latter). However, public interest is oft abusively used by governements to mean ‘not in our interest’ ie not in the interest of the governemnt of the day.

  123. Splatterbottom

    “I don’t believe in specific laws that have the capacity to influence or regulate news media content. I find such laws counter to the principle of democracy. I find them contrary to the notion of a free society.”

    And that is precisely the point. Basic democratic principles such as freedom of the press, the right to silence or the presumption of innocence should not be compromised.

  124. “I love that, instead of engaging with any of the the principles or concepts I’ve raised throughout this debate, you’ve spent the entire process simply trying to trip me up Gadj. This is – what – the fifteenth time you’ve tried (and failed) to establish that my argument is internally inconsistent?” – mondo

    Let me put a different spin on it- I’ve been trying to understand your position, but it’s been a challenge due to some of those inconsistencies. The reason I’m giving you such a hard time, is that I really want to see the best argument there is. I, naturally, think my position is a good one; rational, consistent blah blah….but I concede I could be wrong, and there could be a very good argument against any reform to media regulation, or these particular ones. But the case needs a good rattle to see if it’s solid – is it rational, internally consistent, based on the best available evidence, in accord with reality, and are calls to principle really principled or just a convenient argument for the particular case at this moment?

    So……

    “Listen carefully and try to accept what I’m saying here: I don’t believe in specific laws that have the capacity to influence or regulate news media content. I find such laws counter to the principle of democracy. I find them contrary to the notion of a free society.

    No amount of your “but what about the APC?, what about the ACMA?, what about defamation? what about Conroy’s underpants?” detours establish this as an inconsistent principle. To the extent that the regulatory bodies have the power to influence news media content I don’t support them.” – mondo

    ‘What about ACMA’, is a very serious challenge to your claimed principle and, as already pointed out, a glaring inconsistency.
    You argued strongly that the current arrangements work fine, yet we have laws (ACMA) that regulate news content.

    And do you really believe this in the form you have presented it? There can be no restriction on news content?? Extreme graphic violence on the day time news where children can view it? Is that really contrary to a free society, or is it just sensible?

    Is it possible you state the case for this principle too strongly?

    “Your semantic games and silly “gotchas” are not going to affect my fundamental adherence to the principle of a free and unfettered press…….I don’t believe in “the primacy of self-regulation” when it comes to the news media” – mondo

    re: self-reg, you mentioned it approvingly several times, so I assumed….but good, I really wanted to know this.

    So, should phone and email hacking be OK ,as long as you don’t get caught?
    Isn’t there a very high risk that a press in any way unbounded by ethics and standards will undermine the very thing, public trust, that renders it a potent force in democracy – telling the truth and informing the public?

    If the public trust the press no more than it trusts a used car saleman, those lofty principles won’t be worth a damn.

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