Campaign for Freedom of the Press
By Barry Tucker 18 March, 2013
The federal Labor government’s proposed news media changes may or may not get through parliament this week. The newspaper industry is campaigning against the Bills. It claims the Bills are an attempt to restrict the freedom of the Press, to control newspaper content.
You can read the Bills in just a few minutes. The language is not complicated or hard to follow. If you can then tell me where they restrict freedom of the Press or control newspaper content I’ll buy you an ice cream.
There is barely a single activity that is not controlled or regulated in some way in this country, as is the case in most civilised countries. Journalists are supposed to be self-controlled by their Code of Ethics; newspaper content may be subject to the laws of defamation; readers can complain about stories and refer that complaint to the Australian Press Council if they are not satisfied with the way it was handled.
The News Media (Self-regulation) Bill 2013 provides for the news media to regulate itself, through the existing press council but in a more accountable way, subject to oversight by an independent Public Interest Media Advocate — who is not subject to government control.
The real concern of the news media industry is the fear of limitation of growth or expansion of their business through acquisition and consolidation. This part of the campaign is being conducted by News Limited, the Australian arm of international media conglomerate News Corp. News Limited already has a suffocating grip on Australian news media (70% of newspapers alone) and boss Rupert Murdoch wants more.
Mr Murdoch does not acknowledge the role his Australian news media outlets have played in denigrating the federal Labor government in the minds of the Australian voters. One of the polls he refers to, Newspoll, is 45% owned by the Australian arm of his media conglomerate, News Limited.
Further control of news media by News Limited IS NOT in the best interest of our democracy. A reduction of Rupert Murdoch’s power and influence IS IN the best interest of our democracy.
The real threat in this war is the potential threat to FREEDOM posed by further consolidation and lack of control and regulation of news media.
If there is any lingering doubt about the present threat to freedom and democracy, you need to read this http://bit.ly/144n1Wh and this http://bit.ly/1119RVC published by Margo Kingston’s Australians for Honest Politics.
If you value democracy, freedom of speech and you want balance and impartiality in what you can hear, see and read in the news media, please contact the politicians listed below and ask them to support the government’s proposed news media Bills.
Canberra (02) 6277 4052
FAX: (02) 6277 8403
Personal website http://www.bobkatter.com.au/
Party website http://www.ausparty.org.au/
Canberra (02) 6277 4978
FAX: (02) 6277 8558
The Nationals (traditional supporters of media diversity)
Senator Barnaby Joyce
Personal website http://www.darrenchester.com.au/
Canberra (02) 6277 4029
FAX: (02) 6277 8402
Canberra (02) 6277 4538
FAX: (02) 6277 8508