The press coverage of the inquiry into Australian media exemplified what was wrong, Julian Disney, the Chair of the Australian Press Council said tonight. “It was very one sided,” he said.
Professor Disney was speaking at a forum organised in Sydney by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism to discuss the Finkelstein report. The inquiry recommended a government funded institution to require press accountability.
There was insufficient information in the press about what was actually in the report, Disney said. “You had to go online to get a half way decent description of what was in it”. There was “no significant attempt” by most news papers to get the views of ordinary people.
Australians are not so much poorly served, as minimally served, by their mainstream media, according to multi-award winning journalist, Monica Attard.
Ms Attard is a former foreign correspondent who reported on the disintegration of the Soviet Union, returning to Australia to present the national radio current affairs program, PM. She left the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to found a new, independent quality journal, the Global Mail. She was speaking in Sydney at the launch of the UTS Graduate School of Journalism.
There was a political divide in Australian newspapers between the dominant group, News Limited and the Sydney and Melbourne based Fairfax Media, Attard said.
And then there’s the ABC, my spiritual home, beating the middle path, but with its own set of problems…not enough cash ever to mount new programs and experiment with different forms of journalism. More…
Australian media are not as accountable as a democracy might expect.
That’s the view of the Australian government’s Independent Inquiry into Media and Media Regulations, conducted by a retired judge, Ray Finkelstein.
Australia has a very narrow mainstream media ownership by democratic standards. One foreign media group dominates the newspapers, while the taxpayer funded ABC generates the bulk of electronic media news and current affairs.
Finkelstein as seen by the Sydney Morning Herald