Governing the Media

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Wake up middle class

Change media ownership and news services laws

An informed electorate seems to be something the old parties actively fear.  Citizens of this type might actually start taking an interest in what they do and force better behavior by more actively punishing politicians who deliberately mislead them.  This isn’t going to happen overnight and will take a changed education system and a lot of activists to bring to fruition over a generation.  In order to give this future a fighting chance we need to reconsider the media’s responsibility to the people.  This means some legislation to bring about these changes:

  • Restrict media ownership by any individual or corporate interest in Australia to no more than 40% of the total in that form of media (eg, newspapers, magazines, radio, TV).

o   One of the aims of this is to break up the national syndicated media system to favour more local and diverse content production.  The internet is already changing this balance; this needs to be accelerated.

  • Enforcement of 50% content to be 100% Australian produced on all media.

o   Recycling cheap services from other countries, but primarily the US, is destroying these industries and communities in Australia.  We need to help the local music, TV and film industry to produce more.

  • Any commercial news service with an audience consistently over 100,000 people must be subject to two new requirements:

o   Any news broadcast must represent journalistic integrity providing a balanced view of the facts as they are known.[1]

  • Punishments for failures on this front must be severe and escalate with each successive offence to provide reasonable deterrent.

o   Any mistake or error that becomes known to a news provider must be published with the same level of prominence as the original story.

  • If it was a front page headline, the retraction must also be the same
  • If it was a leading news bulletin item featured in daily trailers, the retraction must be the same.

Punishments for failures on this front must be severe and escalate with each successive offence to provide a reasonable deterrent that will destroy the company with multiple transgressions.

 

[1] http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp


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