Media, dialogue and social cohesion Reply

shutterstock_33401086I was taking an early morning walk around Balmain this week listening to my iphone, when the news reported that the assassin who murdered a French police commander and his wife, streamed his account of the atrocity on Facebook Live.

Five years ago I might have watched the attack broadcast live on international television. Ten years ago I would have heard it on my pocket radio. My father would have read about it in his newspaper. Now an armed man at the centre of a French siege can make his own international telecast, cutting journalists, editors, producers, government shills, censors and security out of the communications loop.

Welcome to the Brave New World of new media amplified free speech. More…

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Self censorship in Thailand Reply

GQ-Thailand-James-Jirayu-December-2014-CoverThailand’s media may look modern and espouse free speech but its hedged by self censorship and hemmed by traditional values. Vorani Vanijaka, the Editor of Thailand’s GQ, is keenly aware of the contradictions.

He’s a former political commentator, who has managed to offend many of Thailand’s elite. “You can criticise anyone from the Prime Minister down, which is something you can’t do in most southeast Asian countries” he said. Thailand boasted of a sophisticated and pervasive media, including the million circulation Thai Rath newspaper, national television networks and  hundreds of radio stations.

But there were unstated limits on what Thai journalists reported.

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Not looking the other way : investigative journalism Reply

Kate McClymont

Kate McClymont

The nation’s wealthy and powerful often used threats to put the frighteners on journalists, according to investigative reporter, Kate McClymont.

McClymont was the keynote speaker at the Press Freedom Dinner in Sydney. She spoke of attempts to intimidate her as she reported on political corruption and crime. More…

Insuring free speech Reply

114121_originalTweeters, bloggers and freelance journalists will be able to insure against defamation actions against them, in a scheme announced by the Media Alliance.

While the internet enabled freelance journalists to self publish, it also meant that independent journalists no longer had an umbrella of employers’ legal protection.

Australia has no constitutional guarantees of free speech, allowing the wealthy or well connected to target their online critics with costly legal actions. Journalists have been faced with the choice of going silent or talking a loan to pay for a lawyer. More…

Regulate News? 1

conroyHistory’s worst mass murderers have been joined by Australia’s Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, if you believe News Limited‘s big circulation Australian newspaper, the Telegraph.  The Telegraph was reacting to Conroy’s announcement yesterday that the government would legislate to create a Public Interest Media Advocate. More…

Sleaze, Smear and Social Media Reply

Julia Gillard as depicted by Larry Pickering

Julia Gillard as depicted by Larry Pickering

The opposition attacks on Julia Gillard’s ethics were underpinned by an unprecedented underground online campaign prosecuted on social media.

The questions raised by the opposition’s Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop were foreshadowed in the Murdoch press which in turn was informed byblogs maintained by  right wing activists operating on the margins of the mainstream media. It happened beyond the rarified gaze of the press gallery, which itself has become a target for speculation and abuse. More…

Free Speech Reply

spigelBeing offensive should not be illegal, according to Jim Spigelman, the Chair of the ABC.

Mr Spigelman was giving the 2012 Human Rights Day Oration at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 25th Human Rights Award Ceremony.

Laws restricting hate speech should aim to protect people’s dignity against assault, he said. But “declaring conduct, relevantly speech, to be unlawful, because it causes offence, goes too far.” More…

Regulating Press Freedoms : Oakes 2

Governments should keep their mitts off the media, according to Laurie Oakes.  Oakes, arguably Australian’s most eminent political correspondent, told the annual Press Freedom Day dinner in Sydney the Australian government had not produced compelling reasons for legislating new media controls.

Laurie Oakes

Laurie Oakes

He was commenting on the recommendations of two recent media inquiries: the Finkelstein press inquiry and the Convergence Review Committee which examined how new media might be regulated. More…

The Social Media Counter-Revolution Reply

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Its wrong to think of free speech as an absolute which underpins democracy. Its really a contested event which ebbs and flows, even in stable western countries.

For the last decade, the internet and in particular social media, were seen as advancing free speech and in doing so, threatening authoritarian regimes. But Evgeny Morozov  argues that authoritarian governments have quickly adapted to dash what he calls naive democratic hopes. More…

The limits of citizen journalism 3

Why were new media able to topple governments in Egypt and Tunisia, but sparked new waves of oppression in Syria and Iran?

During the Arab Spring last year, citizen journalists, using Facebook, Twitter, email and iPhones, undermined state censorship and contributed to the success of massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Cairo and Tunis. Yet in Iran, many of the activists were arrested while in  the case of the Iranian ally, Syria, the government simply attacked with tanks.

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