Tony Abbott MP News Ltd. journalist – Australian Press Council refusal to accept complaint

Tony Abbott MP News Ltd. journalist – Australian Press Council refusal to accept complaint

Tony Abbott MP, News Ltd.’s and the APC’s knowledge of fake records of newspapers published sold by Australian public libraries as ‘archives’ of newspapers

News Ltd.’s and its journalists knowledge of news media corruption, the fake records of Australian newspapers published sold by Australian state and national public libraries as ‘archives’, their participation in concealing crime, corruption and maladministration of governments and law enforcement and their deception of the Australian public

During March 2012 I lodged a complaint with the Australian Press Council (APC) concerning APC news media member newspaper’s (News Ltd.) breaches of journalism codes of conduct and standards in deceiving the Australian public by publishing false and misleading newspaper articles.

The Australian Press Council’s Jack Herman refused to allow the complaint to be adjudicated by APC members and have News Ltd. and its journalists respond to the claims that their news articles were misleading and in breach of acceptable standards of journalists’ ethics.

The three News Ltd. journalists were Tony Abbott MP then leader of the Australian federal parliamentary opposition Liberal/National Party, Tom Morton Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at UTS and a former ABC journalist and broadcaster, Chris Kenny and David Penberthy.

Chris Kenny and David Penberthy were both News Ltd. journalists and residents of Adelaide South Australia during the 1990s when news articles reporting the bankruptcy of the Bank of South Australia and the Adelaide NCA bombing murder of NCA police officer Geoffrey Bowen were published. News articles reporting those events have been erased from the publicly accessible records of Australian newspapers published sold by Australian state and national public libraries as ‘archives’.

All four journalists were sent my correspondence that I had sent to the APC lodging the complaint concerning their misleading and deceptive journalism. The journalists neither denied having knowledge of the media corruption issues I had raised and that their news articles were deceptive or acknowledged receiving my correspondence.

I had previously in 2009 received email from Shadow Minister for Police David Ridgway MLC advising that he had discussed with his state and federal political party colleagues the matters of the fake records of Australian newspapers published sold by Australian public libraries and the crimes and corruption that those fake ‘archives’ conceal. There can be no doubt that the News Ltd. journalists whom were the subject of my complaints to the APC knew of the news media corruption and deception of the public to which I had referred. A copy of the email from the office of SA Shadow Minister for Police David Ridgway appears below. He refuses to indicate that he can or cannot recall the news articles that have been erased from publicly accessible Australian library records of newspapers published.

Journalist Tony Abbott MP in his news article opposes establishing a News Media Council capable of keeping Australian news media accountable claiming that it “has the potential to muzzle political debate” while having received information and documented evidence that I have provided that allows him to have an understanding of the corrupt records of newspapers published that is intended to deceive the public and prevent their reasonable consideration of the facts of Australian corruption.

Journalist Tom Morton writes that “There is no evidence that any such serious breaches of the law and media ethics have occurred in Australia. Nevertheless, there is a strong community expectation that the media will set “decent standards” for themselves and abide by them. When journalists lie, distort the facts or break the law, the public has a right to expect they will be held to account.” while having knowledge of the fake ‘archives’ of newspapers published and the crimes and corruption that they conceal.

Please note his use of the words “no evidence that any such serious breaches of the law and media ethics have occurred in Australia” [in particular the word “serious”] in comparing Australian news media to United Kingdom news media and the crimes of Rupert Murdoch’s UK News Corp. newspapers.

Journalist Chris Kenny in his news article claims that “Media coverage reflects reality” while knowing of the manner in which Adelaide’s News Ltd. news media – a SA newspaper publishing state monopoly – carefully avoided pursuing issues of State Bank of SA bankruptcy public debt, abruptly considered the SBSA “Off Balance Sheet” debt as not news worthy and having knowledge of news articles published that have been erased from the now fake records of newspapers published that are sold as ‘archives’ of newspapers. Chris Kenny claims to have written a book about the bankruptcy of the State Bank of SA. The book ‘State of Denial’ does not indicate on its cover that it is the collective inadequate and incomplete reporting written by him and published in Adelaide’s News Ltd. newspapers.

Journalist David Penberthy, a resident of Adelaide SA employed by the News Ltd. [SA newspaper publishing state monopoly] at the time of publication of the news articles that have been erased from publicly accessible records of newspapers published, writes “regulation is a dated idea” intended to prevent competition, “a proposed media watchdog sets a very dangerous precedent that” “would put a handbrake on that freedom” with “dramatic implications for freedom of speech” and that news media has a “strengthened commitment from newspapers to admit wrongdoing when they are the subject of an upheld complaint”, that a “Media probe hints at vested interest” and refers to “an exhaustive arms-length audit overseen by two retired Supreme Court judges” “which found nothing at any of our Australian newspapers that even faintly resembled the conduct of journalists overseas”.

Yet the evidence of the facts of fake records of Australian newspapers [fake archives] being sold by Australian state and national public libraries, remains undisputed with the Australian Press Council response dated 9 February 2012 [appearing in full below] being “The question of on-sold newspaper archives is clearly a question related to commercial operations and does not relate to the newspaper’s on-going journalism.” with not even a hint that the claims of News Ltd. journalists who are aware of the fake records of the history of their work, should be considered misleading unethical and contrary to acceptable standards of journalism.

The 23 March 2012 reply of the APC to my complaints against these four News Ltd. journalists, accuses me of being “disingenuous at best and misleading at worst to refer to him as “Journalist Tony Abbott”. Tony Abbott’s words were published so as far as I am concerned he is a journalist.

The APC reply also claims that the News Ltd. news articles were not claiming that Australian news media is not corrupt [as in free of corruption], only that Australian news media corruption is not like UK news media corruption or at least there is no evidence of hacking of telephones as happened in the UK.

The APC reply specifically states “ACIJ Director Morton, an academic, the author of the final article cited, says that there is “no evidence of any such similar breaches of law …” Again the “any such similar” refers to the phone hacking scandal, not to any other alleged, but unproven, allegations of corruption.

The words written by Tom Morton and published by News Ltd.’s under the headlines ‘The onus of the media is to adopt ‘decent standards’, were “There is no evidence that any such serious breaches of the law and media ethics have occurred in Australia.”.

Please note the words “any such serious breaches of the law and media ethics”, in particular the words “any such serious”.

Any misrepresentations of the facts were made by the APC. The journalists simply refused to reply to my email.   At the time of receiving the reply from the APC I again had a look at the website http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/the-onus-of-the-media-is-to-adopt-decent-standards/story-e6frgd0x-1226297524636 and saw that the words had changed to “any such similarwith the copy that I had saved to my PC also changed. I had been hacked.   Some months later I again viewed the website and found the news article had reverted back to its original wording of “any such serious breaches”.

[I was later to discover a network connection with a ‘Windows Wi- Fi miniport adapter’ that I suspect was there at the time and was responsible for this and other hacking by a hacker close by within Wi-Fi range]

Tom Morton’s News Ltd. New article ‘The onus of the media is to adopt ‘decent standards’ [appearing below] also refers to “We do, of course, rely on publicly funded regulators such as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to regulate other areas of the economy and the polity”.

In a letter dated 31 January 2011 (ACCC ref. 1032406) that I had received from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) in reply to my complaint regarding the sale of fake records of newspapers as genuine ‘archives’, the ACCC when refusing to take any action on behalf of Australian consumers [victims of crimes who have purchased fake records as authentic ‘archives’ of newspapers published that are sold by Australian public libraries] replied that;

“Based on the information you have provided, my view is that the storage and public access of archived documents by public libraries is unlikely to be characterised as conduct that is in ‘trade or commerce’ under the TPA as it does not have the usual hallmarks of commercial activity.”

The ACCC claims that the Australian public libraries fake newspaper archives (the sale to the public of the fake records is evaded – The libraries also purchased though microfilm records) are not a matter of commerce while the APC claims “The question of on-sold newspaper archives is clearly a question related to commercial operations and does not relate to the newspaper’s on-going journalism.”

https://rjrbtsrupertsfirstnewspaper.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/australian-newspapers-news-articles-published-erased-from-the-now-fake-records-of-newspapers-published-sold-as-archives-also-exported-to-the-uk-listed-incomplete/

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:22 PM From: “Murray, Cecilia” Cecilia.Murray@parliament.sa.gov.au To: xyzrjb@yahoo.com Cc: “Ridgway, David” <david.ridgway@parliament.sa.gov.au> Dear Mr Bates, As stated in my previous email, Mr Ridgway has discussed the contents of your emails with the Liberal Members you have mentioned (both State and Federal). It would be most inappropriate for David to attempt to make any confirmations of the allegations which you have put forward. David has made the information available to his colleagues and as stated previously, the appropriate mechanism for further investigation will be an Independent Commission Against Corruption. Kind regards, Cecilia Murray Research Assistant _______________________________________ Hon David Ridgway MLC Leader of the Opposition, Legislative Council Shadow Minister for Police Shadow Minister for Mineral Resources Development Shadow Minister for Urban Development & Planning Shadow Minister for Small Business Member Assisting the Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs P (08) 8237 9361 | M 0433 606 473 | F (08) 8410 0535 E cecilia.murray@parliament.sa.gov.au ………………………..

News media council could muzzle debate by Tony Abbott theaustralian 17 March 2012

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/news-media-council-could-muzzle-debate/story-e6frgd0x-1226302085966?nk=b94380f80a576f0dea61917fb7fcc395#

News media council could muzzle debate by Tony Abbott

AS Malcolm Turnbull has observed, judge Ray Finkelstein has produced a thoughtful report with a misguided recommendation. The report of the Independent Inquiry into the Media and Media Regulation is a good exposition marred by a bad recommendation to set up a new and more powerful media regulator.

The Coalition rejects this recommendation and calls on the Labor Party to do likewise.

Let’s not forget that the inquiry was set up after Julia Gillard insisted that News Limited in Australia had “questions to answer” in the wake of Britain’s phone-hacking scandal.

The Prime Minister’s real concern was not Fleet Street-style illegality but News Limited’s coverage of her government and its various broken promises, new taxes and botched programs.

Late last year, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy accused Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph of a campaign to “bring the government down”. Gillard had a screaming match with former News Limited boss John Hartigan over an article about her dealings with a union official. Her allies, the Greens, were pushing for a punitive investigation into what Bob Brown has called the “hate media”. Finkelstein’s report has pointedly declined to join this “get News Limited” vendetta but his recommended News Media Council, if established, has the potential to muzzle political debate and thereby to protect a bad government.

Finkelstein’s new regulator would “set journalistic standards for new media”, “enforce news standards” and “have power to require a news media outlet to publish an apology, correction or retraction”.

Finkelstein doesn’t say who should appoint “community, industry and professional representatives” to the new council but inevitably the federal government that funds it would appoint the people that run it.

Last November, senator Doug Cameron accused the “Murdoch press” of “fabricating stories in relation to the leadership of the party”. Cameron turned out to be one of Kevin Rudd’s numbers men. I wonder how a watchdog hand-picked by the current government would enforce standards of political reporting?

There is already a watchdog, whose members the government appoints, that has established this government’s standards for fair and impartial regulation. Fair Work Australia regularly prosecutes businesses for minor breaches of award conditions, even when they believe they have followed FWA’s advice, but takes more than three years to conclude investigations into the misuse of union money involving a federal MP and refuses to co-operate with investigations by state police.

Especially in the hands of the current government, any new watchdog could become a political correctness enforcement agency destined to hound from the media people whose opinions might rattle the average Q&A audience. It’s easy to imagine the fate of Andrew Bolt or Alan Jones, for instance, at the hands of such thought police. Their demise, you understand, wouldn’t be because the government didn’t like them but because they’d persistently breached “standards”.

The current government has an ingrained tendency to bully and intimidate critics. Witness this week’s attack on Peter Costello for questioning the government’s handling of the chairmanship of the Future Fund; this month’s jihad against mining magnates for daring to question the government’s investment-sapping mining tax; or last year’s assault on mum-and-dad anti-carbon tax protesters in Canberra as the “convoy of no consequence” or the “convoy of incontinence”.

This is not a government that argues its case. It merely attempts to howl down its critics.

A case can certainly be made for giving an existing body such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority modest additional powers to regulate social media where anonymous defamation now flourishes. More effective take-down notices, perhaps, could be available against social networking sites. The Coalition has recently set up a taskforce to investigate this.

There is no case for additional regulation of newspapers. If people don’t like a newspaper, they don’t have to buy it. If individuals and entities believe they have been subjected to unfair, untrue and damaging assault they can sue for defamation. But if individuals or governments think they are not getting a fair go, the remedy is to argue a better case, not to disqualify their critics.

As Turnbull has observed, tweeting can often be the most effective response to inaccurate or unfair reporting.

Politicians and political parties that cop criticism just have to wear it. It’s called democracy.

– See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/news-media-council-could-muzzle-debate/story-e6frgd0x-1226302085966#sthash.K2Me1CsS.dpuf

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/the-onus-of-the-media-is-to-adopt-decent-standards/story-e6frgd0x-1226297524636

The onus of the media is to adopt ‘decent standards’

THE impetus for the setting-up of the Finkelstein inquiry, and the Leveson inquiry in Britain, came not from a desire on the part of governments to muzzle the press but from profound public revulsion at the revelation that News of the World journalists had hacked into Milly Dowler’s voicemail.

Milly’s parents told the Leveson inquiry they hoped it would serve as a vehicle to “put things right in the future and to have some decent standards”.

There is no evidence that any such serious breaches of the law and media ethics have occurred in Australia. Nevertheless, there is a strong community expectation that the media will set “decent standards” for themselves and abide by them. When journalists lie, distort the facts or break the law, the public has a right to expect they will be held to account.

As a practising journalist, I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of a new regulator such as the News Media Council proposed by Ray Finkelstein.

We do, of course, rely on publicly funded regulators such as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to regulate other areas of the economy and the polity; and Finkelstein makes it clear that he believes the News Media Council should be fully independent of government.

But the attacks on the independence of the ABC under the Howard government — and, at other times, under Labor governments — ought to make us deeply wary about the creation of a new regulator that, potentially, may be subject to political interference.

I also do not believe that a regulator can or should concern itself with remedies against “campaigning” journalism, or with identifying political bias in the media; the latter, it could be argued, is an appropriate role for journalism academics.

But in Finkelstein’s defence, I can find no evidence in his report that he is proposing concrete remedies against bias or campaigning.

If journalists and media organisations do not want a new regulatory regime imposed on them, the onus is on them to convince the public that they will adopt and enforce “decent standards”. How to do so should now be a matter of open and robust debate, and the media should welcome the contribution of journalism academics.

At the start of the semester, I say to the students in my investigative journalism class that if they learn and remember three words from the entire semester’s classes I will have done my job. Those words are: “Where’s your evidence?”

Journalism is an evidence-based profession. Good journalism requires us to constantly test the assertions of those people who make the news, shape public debate, and exert power and influence, against the best available evidence.

Journalism education can, and should, teach the journalists of tomorrow a set of practical skills; how to “catch, kill and render” a story, as Peter Fray, editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald, has put it. But it should also encourage in them an attitude of mind: to think critically and never stop asking questions.

Distinguished British journalist and editor of the Evening Standard Max Hastings once said that the best advice he was given as a young journalist was a single phrase: “They lie, they lie, they lie.”

The public expects journalists to expose those lies and to hold the liars to account, whether they be politicians, lobby groups, corporations, union officials or loan sharks.

According to Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, California, “The thing people care the most about is watchdog journalism. The general public understands the role of the press.” Rosenthal should know. He cut his teeth on the Pentagon Papers as a young reporter at The New York Times and went on to become executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Last year, Rosenthal was keynote speaker at Back to the Source, the first national conference on investigative journalism, convened by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney.

The conference was launched by ABC managing director Mark Scott. Thirty Australian journalists and senior editors spoke, from Fairfax, the ABC, Seven Network and News Limited. Between them, the speakers had won more than 40 Walkley awards.

This was not a case of journalism academics showing “growing disdain for the mass media”, a trend identified by Cameron Stewart in this newspaper on Saturday. Rather, the conference sought to involve working journalists, educators and students in a conversation about where the industry was heading at a time of rapid and fundamental change.

Rosenthal told the conference that the future of quality journalism lay, in part, outside mainstream media organisations. He talked about the transformational model of quality journalism that the centre has pioneered, bringing together philanthropic funding, major media partners and teams of journalists, often working with community groups, crowd sourcing and — dare I say it — journalism academics and students.

Rosenthal’s father was a journalism teacher; he started the first journalism course at the City College of New York in the 1930s. And Rosenthal is a passionate believer in the central role of a free press in a democracy.

He tells the story of how, after his father’s death, he found a yellowed piece of paper in his files, with a quote from Thomas Jefferson typed on it: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to choose the latter.”

One can share Jefferson’s conviction, as I do, and still believe that, just as journalists should be free to hold the powerful to account, they too should be held to account when they get their facts wrong, deny basic fairness to the subjects of their stories or fail to produce evidence for the allegations they make.

There is a wide spectrum of opinion among journalism academics about how this process of accountability might work and whether the regulator proposed by the Finkelstein inquiry is the right way to go. But there is a larger issue at stake, one in which journalists and journalism have a mutual interest.

Journalists, and the organisations for which they work, often claim to act in the public interest; and sometimes, in the public interest, it will be necessary to invade the privacy of people and institutions that have something to hide. Public interest can be an important defence when the actions of journalists are tested in the courts. But if journalists claim to act in the public interest, they must be prepared to expose themselves and the institutions in which they work to scrutiny by the public.

Tom Morton is director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at UTS and a former ABC journalist and broadcaster.

– See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/the-onus-of-the-media-is-to-adopt-decent-standards/story-e6frgd0x-1226297524636#sthash.IpiKmSCa.dpuf

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/media-coverage-reflects-reality/story-fn8qlm5e-1226288737439

Media coverage reflects reality

by: Chris Kenny

From:The Australian

March 05, 201212:00AM

Cartoon by Bill Leak. Source: The Australian

DESPITE its many qualities and indispensable services, the media is clearly imperfect. But in free countries the truth usually triumphs. News media helps keep authorities accountable.

The Finkelstein report is worrying because its recommendations could stifle the media. The inquiry believes it can improve the quality of media by creating a News Media Council, funded by the government, headed (you guessed it) by a lawyer, and consisting of appointed (not elected) delegates from the media and elsewhere. It does not believe that competition, consumer demands, commercial accountability, legal constraints and personal choice will deliver to the public the media that consumers deserve.

Rather, it believes a government-funded body of lawyers, academics, publicly funded and commercial journalists can decree what is good for the public.

Aside from their own sense of fair play, journalists face a range of controls, from the primary constraint of defamation laws, to anti-discrimination laws, court suppression rules and orders, professional and company codes, government regulation in the electronic media and self-regulation in the print media. And they do this in a digital age when it has never been easier for new entrants to enter the media marketplace.

Remarkably, Finkelstein recommended a government-funded news media oversight of electronic, print and online media without identifying a problem with the Australian media.

It traces its genesis, in part, to revelations about the illegal activities of the London tabloids. More disturbingly, the inquiry admits it was established because senior members of the Gillard government and its Green coalition partner believed they were being subjected to jaundiced political coverage.

So a government that is struggling has initiated a media inquiry because not all media is as generous towards it as are the ABC and the Fairfax newspapers.

If this happened in Fiji, Indonesia or Papua New Guinea, our foreign minister would be urging a rethink. In fact, the next time Australia urges improvements in free speech in China, the laughter in Beijing will not be stifled.

Strangely, politicians such as Stephen Conroy, Julia Gillard and Bob Brown did not complain when the media focused, under the previous government, on issues such as the children overboard and Australian Wheat Board scandals.

While the Howard government was at times despairing about media handling of these issues (I was a staffer at the time) it chose to defend its actions, not bring the media to heel.

The current intervention is based almost entirely on Conroy’s gripes last year about how reports of problems with the National Broadband Network and leadership rumblings in the government were really about News Limited newspapers running a so-called campaign for “regime change”. Never mind that those reports have been vindicated.

To look at how the Communications Minister would judge issues of media bias we could suspend disbelief for a moment and accept that everything the government says is true. As a test case, the government’s attitude towards Kevin Rudd will do.

In December the Prime Minister told John Laws that “people are working as professionals in the nation’s interest and Kevin Rudd most certainly is”. As recently as last month Gillard told the Seven Network, “I think Kevin’s doing a good job as the minister for foreign affairs”.

So if that assessment was reflected without scepticism the media would have been accurate and unbiased, by Conroy’s standards.

But two weeks ago Gillard said Rudd had “chaotic work patterns” when he led the government and that “one of the overriding problems of the government that Kevin Rudd led is it was very, very focused on the next news cycle, on the next picture opportunity, rather than the long-term reforms for the nation’s interests”.

And reflecting on his time as foreign minister, she declared, “it is now evident to me and I think it is evident to the Australian people that there has been a long-running destabilisation campaign here to get to this point, where Kevin Rudd is clearly going to announce that he wants to seek the Labor leadership”.

That makes it hard for journalists to keep up. A fortnight ago, the media should not praise Rudd or suggest that all was well at the top levels of the government.But just days later, after defeating Rudd in the leadership ballot, the Prime Minister again praised her foe. “I want to say to Kevin Rudd for the days that lie beyond, as a nation, as a Labor Party, we must honour his many achievements as prime minister.”

Hold the front page. Any journalist not wanting to be accused by Conroy of running a campaign should report on a harmonious government that honours a proud era under its former leader.

The absurdity is obvious. That such an unsophisticated and ill-considered response to his own political problems could lead the Communications Minister down a path of increased media regulation is alarming.

We need to resist the temptation to laugh at this folly because it just might happen. The loose Left coalition of academics, activists, publicly funded journalists and politicians who fear they have lost some crucial debates in recent years might just push this through as a means to cover for their own failures. They may, of course, live to regret it if they find a future conservative government escaping scrutiny.

The Finkelstein report plays games with academic papers and opinion polls that show a lack of respect for the commercial media. It fails to consider why, then, most of the population consumes most of its news from commercial media. Clearly the inquiry and the government believe members of the public do not know what is good for them.

Given what has transpired over the past couple of years, the real question about media is the inverse of the Conroy and Finkelstein approach. Instead of comparing media coverage to government expectations, we should compare media coverage to reality. Then the real question is not about media campaigns. It is about why some media were so incurious about government waste and mismanagement, and internal leadership dissent. In particular, given its vast resources and government regulation, how did the ABC manage to miss these developing stories?

The publicly funded media’s sanguine reporting of the government and failure to provide the full picture to its audience provides a standing argument against government regulation.

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http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/archive/news/penberthy-regulation-a-dated-idea/story-e6freall-1226274604422?nk=3ce8e4eb87da500f05a9e42f3746e724

Penberthy: Regulation – a dated idea

by: David Penberthy

From: Sunday Mail (SA)

February 18, 2012 10:00PM

Sydney-based video “poster” and YouTube favourite Natalie Tran has racked up 55 million views. Picture: Angelo Soulas Source: Sunday Mail (SA)

WHY regulate the media when the internet has already created a more open industry, David Penberthy asks

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WE LIVE in a world where everyone knows everything all the time, where the limited old ways of accessing information are no more, where people who are quaintly still described as newspaper “photographers” now shoot video footage for 24-hour news websites that you can watch on your telephone, your tablet or TV.

We also live in a more democratic media world than ever before. Once upon a time, traditional media companies and the people who wrote for them could posture as unchallenged oracles.

That is no longer the case. The barriers for entry into publishing in the digital age are zero. If you don’t like what a columnist has written, jump on their website and say so, or start your own blog putting a different view.

We can also be more readily and instantly entertained than ever before.

Thirty years ago there was no Foxtel, and the fact that you could set the timer on your VCR was cause for excitement.

Now you can program your IQ box online from your work PC, you can download anything from the app store, or find it anyway on YouTube, when and where you want it.

All of this is known in the media industry as convergence – a fancy term for the fact that, in 2012, there is little if any difference between radio stations, newspapers, TV networks and websites in their manner of operation.

It’s the subject of an inquiry by the Federal Government known as the Convergence Review.

Its final report is due next month, but from what we have seen so far there are several things about the Convergence Review that are both bizarre and worrying. The biggest concern is that it takes a whole bunch of businesses that have thrived on account of not being regulated, and seeks to regulate them.

These are industries that have been wholly driven by a desire to serve their audiences and customers, rather than meeting any mandated government requirements for content, and are now at risk of being dragged into a system of regulation that began in the days of black-and-white TV.

The reason free-to-air TV stations were regulated in the first place was that they used a scarce public asset, radio frequency spectrum, in order to broadcast. Subscription TV is also regulated in terms of community standards and Australian content, despite the fact that consumers happily pay for it, at no cost to the public.

Its regulation is not aimed at protecting our moral fibre or our sense of national identity, but simply to protect commercial TV from competition from Foxtel. The print media and the internet have never been regulated because they do not use the radio frequency spectrum.

Now it looks like that all of them will be regulated.

Rather than acknowledging that the world has changed and that the media landscape is now more open, competitive and innovative than ever before, the Convergence Review seeks to extend regulation with the creation of a new all-encompassing media category known as a “Content Service Enterprise” (CSE).

CSEs could be defined as TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, news websites, Google and YouTube, gaming websites such as Xboxlive, the news feed you read when you open your Hotmail or Yahoo accounts, possibly Facebook and Twitter if you use your account as a news service – you name it.

All of these CSEs would be subject to a new super-regulator, with broader powers than ACMA. There are reassurances in the Convergence Review’s interim report that the regulator would be at “arm’s length” from government.

They are not worth the paper they are written on. By definition, any body that is charged with implementing government regulations over the media is a form of government interference.

This body will also need a board structure, which will be open to the same kind of politically motivated appointments that have marred the ABC board over the years.

That’s a bit of a journo’s argument against the proposal, one which my company, News Limited, has made in its submission to the Convergence Review.

The strongest arguments are made on behalf of the audiences, and I would urge everyone with an interest to look at the submission made by Google, which also owns YouTube.

One nifty side point Google has made goes to the hilarious impracticality of imposing government regulation on YouTube, where in every second, one hour of footage is being uploaded by users around the world. You would need quite a big government department to check it all.

Google makes the good point that it is absurd to treat YouTube, where the content is created not by editors but users, in the same way as a media outlet.

The great thing about YouTube is that the very freedom it represents has been used by creative people, who in the past would have had to audition before a roomful of middle-aged Anglo-Saxon TV execs, with a direct portal to share their talents with the outside world.

They are people such as Sydney’s Natalie Tran, whose wry video discussions of social trends have amassed a stunning 55 million views, and former airport ground-crew worker Rob Nixon, a food nut whose cooking show Nicko’s Kitchen  has been watched 37 million times.

You don’t need to be told to run Australian content by a government agency with these sorts of people doing it for themselves. Anyway, all media are already subject to laws of defamation, anti-vilification, classification involving pornography, national security restrictions involving terrorism, so adding another layer of restrictions is unwelcome in the extreme.

And the three things the Convergence Review seeks to guarantee – greater openness, greater competition, greater innovation – all exist more than ever before.

If anything, a more credible argument can now be mounted not for the extension of regulation, but for its abolition, with an end to the content restrictions on free-to-air TV because of the explosion in audience choice.

The punchline is that all of this silliness has been brought to us from a Government that is spending more than $40 billion in taxpayers’ money to build a national broadband network, ostensibly to harness the full potential of the digital economy – the very economy directly threatened by the clapped-out, safari-suited, interventionist concepts in this strangely dated Convergence Review.

penberthyd@thepunch.com.au

Originally published as Penberthy: Media regulation just dated

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http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/penberthy-a-handbrake-on-freedom/story-e6freall-1226288197872

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David Penberthy    penberthyd@thepunch.com.au

Penberthy: A handbrake on freedom

by: David Penberthy

From: Sunday Mail (SA)

March 03, 201210:00PM

There was never any leadership tension, and any stories reporting that were fabricated, according to ALP senator Doug Cameron, who is pictured here arriving in Canberra airport on the day of the ALP leadership spill. Source: Sunday Mail (SA)

A PROPOSED media watchdog sets a very dangerous precedent, says David Penberthy.

————————————————–

THE Federal Government’s media inquiry was ordered in response to journalistic behaviour overseas, which has no equal in Australia.

It was also championed most enthusiastically by those who were either in on the lie, or indifferent to the lie, about the crisis in Australia’s political leadership, an 18-month period of indulgent paralysis which came to a head in Canberra on Monday.

Against this backdrop it is hard for those of us in the press not to be suspicious about something that seemed politically motivated in its inception, and which would now subject the entire media, both mainstream and independent, to the most heavy-handed regulation Australia has ever seen.

It is impossible to discuss an issue such as the media inquiry without being accused of journalistic self-interest.

However, the inquiry has such dramatic implications for freedom of speech and potentially also the proper use of public money that it also raises broader issues of public interest.

It has at its centre a philosophical flaw that should jar with everyone who believes in free speech that it should be the job of government-appointed people to pass judgment on what we can write, and obviously also what you can read.

The report, released on Friday, is critical of the existing safeguards against media errors and misrepresentations.

It dismisses self-regulation by the Australian Press Council, ignoring the fact that the media has already been working to strengthen the work of the Press Council, with more funds and staff, and a strengthened commitment from newspapers to admit wrongdoing when they are the subject of an upheld complaint.

The inquiry recommends that the Press Council be replaced with a turbo-charged entity called the News Media Council, its 20 members selected by a committee comprising people who are themselves members of the Government.

The council would not only oversee big media but also independent bloggers and websites.

The marketing website Mumbrella examined the report and pointed out that sites with as few as 40 page views a day would be affected.

As a member of the mainstream media, I might not agree with everything which comes from the mouths of lefty critics of News Corporation, such as independent blogger Grogs Gamut or Crikey rabble-rouser Stephen Mayne.

But I respect their right to say and publish what they like. Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom, and it has been a good thing for democracy that over this past decade, independent critics have questioned big media, powered by the freedoms of the internet.

The recommendations of this inquiry would put a handbrake on that freedom.

Moreover, they could also cost you, the taxpayer, a bit of dough. One recommendation is that the Productivity Commission should examine whether public funds be used to help media organisations deal with declining print revenues and the transition to digital.

If we believe in free markets, I’d say that declining print revenues are our problem, not yours, and that it’s the job of media companies to find a solution which doesn’t involve a taxpayer bailout.

Moreover, the moment you take a cent of government money in the media, you’re co-opted, so the free speech argument must be a two-way street.

The backdrop to the inquiry both here and overseas merits some detailed examination.

In terms of the international setting, the London phone-hacking scandal, I am not so much of a company man to try to make light of the often shameful accusations against the London arm of the business.

Yet it has mattered not to our Federal Government that the Australian arm of this company, News Limited, ordered an exhaustive arms-length audit overseen by two retired Supreme Court judges, which found nothing at any of our Australian newspapers that even faintly resembled the conduct of journalists overseas.

No phone-hacking, no dodgy payments, nothing like it.

The London scandal was too handy an opportunity for our Federal Government to kick off a media inquiry of its own, enthusiastically supported by those Labor MPs who felt crushed by local media coverage, cheered on by Gillard’s de facto partner in Government, Senator Bob Brown, with his cheery attacks on what he calls the “Murdoch hate media”.

Once the inquiry had been ordered, the recurring coverage of Labor’s leadership woes was consistently held up by ALP figures as an example of why the media in Australia needed to be inquired into, and ripped into line.

Senator Doug Cameron was one MP who let fly after a story appeared, suggesting that Kevin Rudd was white-anting Julia Gillard and readying himself for a challenge early this year.

Here’s what Cameron had to say about a Daily Telegraph front page on the leadership. It’s worth quoting because it is so hilariously misleading in light of this past fortnight’s events.

“The Murdoch press are an absolute disgrace, they are a threat to democracy in this country and we should absolutely be having a look at them. They run unsubstantiated stories. I’m saying it’s a fabrication. They run unsubstantiated stories in relation to the leadership of the party.

“We should not be diverted by the Murdoch press and their attempt to destabilise this Government. This is a good Government. It doesn’t suit Rupert Murdoch and his minions and we are prepared to take that on.

“Day in and day out, the Murdoch press are putting false headlines out there. They are misrepresenting the position of the Government. Day in and day out, it’s absolute lies and nonsense that is getting printed in the Murdoch press, and that’s the issue.”

Touche, Doug. How any of us ever got the idea that there was a leadership issue in the ALP is anyone’s guess.

Against this dissembling backdrop, forgive us for being a bit cynical about the prospect of more Government regulation and intervention in what we can or cannot say, and what you can and cannot read.

………………………..

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/media-probe-hints-at-vested-interest/story-e6frfhqf-1226288238037?nk=84915def90bffd2ffa4e8910a051e1a1

Government’s media probe hints at vested interest

by: David Penberthy

From: Sunday Herald Sun

March 04, 2012 12:00AM

Senator Doug Cameron was one MP who let fly. Picture : Renee Nowytarger Source: News Limited

THE Federal Government’s media inquiry was ordered in response to journalistic behaviour overseas which has no equal in Australia.

It was also championed most enthusiastically by those who were either in on the lie, or indifferent to the lie, about the crisis in Australia’s political leadership, an 18-month period of indulgent paralysis which came to a head in Canberra last Monday.

Against that backdrop it is hard for those of us in the press not to be suspicious about something which seemed politically motivated in its inception and which would subject the entire media to the most heavy-handed regulation Australia has ever seen.

It is impossible to discuss an issue such as the media inquiry without being accused of journalistic self-interest.

However, the inquiry has such dramatic implications for freedom of speech – and potentially also the proper use of public money – that it also raises broader issues of public interest.

The report, released on Friday, is critical of the existing safeguards against media errors and misrepresentations.

It dismisses self-regulation by the Australian Press Council, ignoring the fact the media has already been working to strengthen the work of the Press Council, with more funds, more staff, and a strengthened commitment from newspapers to admit wrongdoing.

The inquiry recommends that the Press Council be replaced with a turbo-charged entity called the News Media Council, its 20 members selected by a committee comprising people who are themselves members of the government or appointed by the government.

The council would not only oversee big media but also independent bloggers and websites.

The marketing website Mumbrella examined the report on Friday and pointed out that sites with as few as 40 page views a day would be affected.

As a member of the mainstream media I might not agree with everything which comes from the mouths of lefty critics of News Corporation, such as independent blogger Grogs Gamut or Crikey rabble rouser Stephen Mayne.

But I respect their right to say and publish what they like.

It has been a good thing for democracy that over this past decade independent critics have questioned big media, powered by the freedoms of the internet.

The recommendations of this inquiry would put a handbrake on that freedom.

Moreover, they could also cost you, the taxpayer, a bit of dough.

One recommendation is that the Productivity Commission should examine whether public funds be used to help media organisations deal with declining print revenues and the transition to digital.

If we believe in free markets I’d say that declining print revenues are our problem, not yours, and that it’s the job of media companies to find a solution which doesn’t involve a taxpayer bailout.

THE backdrop to the inquiry both here and overseas merits some detailed examination.

In terms of the international setting – the London phone-hacking scandal – I am not so much of a company man to try to make light of the often shameful accusations against the London arm of the business.

Yet it has mattered not to our Federal Government that the Australian arm of this company, News Limited, ordered an exhaustive audit overseen by two retired Supreme Court judges, which found nothing at any of our Australian newspapers which even faintly resembled the conduct of journalists overseas.

The London scandal was an opportunity for our Federal Government to kick off a media inquiry of its own, enthusiastically supported by Labor MPs who felt smited by local media coverage.

Once the inquiry had been ordered, the recurring coverage of Labor’s leadership woes was consistently held up by ALP figures as an example of why the media in Australia needed to be inquired into, and ripped into line.

Senator Doug Cameron was one MP who let fly after a story appeared suggesting that Kevin Rudd was white-anting Julia Gillard and readying himself for a challenge early this year.

Here’s what Cameron had to say about a Daily Telegraph front page on the leadership.

It’s worth quoting because it is so misleading in light of the events of this past fortnight.

“The Murdoch press are an absolute disgrace, they are a threat to democracy in this country and we should absolutely be having a look at them.

“They run unsubstantiated stories in relation to the leadership of the party. Day in and day out the Murdoch press are putting false headlines out there. They are misrepresenting the position of the government. Day in and day out it’s absolute lies and nonsense that is getting printed in the Murdoch press, and that’s the issue.”

Touche, Doug.

How any of us got the idea that there was a leadership issue in the ALP is anyone’s guess.

Against this dissembling backdrop, forgive us for being a bit cynical about the prospect of more government regulation and intervention in what we can or cannot say and what you can and cannot read.

Doug Cameron was right about there being a threat to democracy, it’s just that he was a part of it.

Originally published as Media probe hints at vested interest

………………………………………..

Re: Latest complaint to the Australian Press Council

Press Council complaints <complaints@presscouncil.org.au>
 
                               3/23/12

to me

Dear Roger Bates

The Council has received your complaint form in which you raise concerns with material in the Australian and on other News Limited websites. As I understand your complaint, you believe that the references in those articles to any activities in Australian journalism similar to the phone hacking scandal are inaccurate.

The principal complaint is against an commentary piece written by the Federal Opposition Leader. Since he hasn’t practised the profession of journalism for over two decades, being a professional political operative and then politician, it is disingenuous at best and misleading at worst to refer to him as “Journalist Tony Abbott”. The thrust of Mr Abbott’s commentary, and of Malcolm Turnbull’s statements relate to whether there has been activity in Australia analogous to the phone hacking uncovered in the UK. They say there hasn’t been and your allegations of corruption do not amount to such an analogous activity.

The subsidiary complaints, related to articles by Kenny and Penberthy are similarly based on a misrepresentation of what they have written: they say that the Australian press has not done what was done in the UK. And, based on the evidence so far, they have not misled their readers. ACIJ Director Morton, an academic, the author of the final article cited, says that there is “no evidence of any such similar breaches of law …” Again the “any such similar” refers to the phone hacking scandal, not to any other alleged, but unproven, allegations of corruption.

Accordingly, I do not believe that the newspapers have breached the Council’s Principles, and therefore cannot assist you further with this matter.

Jack Herman

The Australian Press Council Inc

Suite 10.02, 117 York Street

Sydney 2000

p: 02 9261 1930

f: 02 9267 6826

e: complaints@presscouncil.org.au

w: www.presscouncil.org.au

……………………….

Previous correspondence from the Australian Press Council regarding the fake records of Australian newspapers published sold as newspaper archives by Australian State and national public libraries

APC from Jack Herman 15 Feb. 2012 ref. Carbone

from: Press Council complaints complaints@presscouncil.org.au to: Roger Bates <xyzrjb@gmail.com> date: Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 7:02 AMsubject: Re: Advertiser and News : Important mainly because of the words in the message.

Re: Advertiser and News

Press Council complaints complaints@presscouncil.org.au
Feb 15 (3 days ago)
to me

Dear Roger Bates Thank you for your email and the subsequent phone call. The matters remain outside the Council’s remit. Apart from bringing your concerns o the newspaper’s attention, which I have done, there is no further action I can take. With regard to Advertiser articles related to Frank Carbone, see the attached list of articles, covering the period August 1994 through September 1999. With respect to the News, the State Library record of its existence is at: http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=2627 It says: “Rupert Murdoch sold the News to Northern Star Holdings in 1987, and it was subsequently sold to a private firm headed by Roger Holden. The News was the last metropolitan afternoon newspaper in Australia. It closed in March 1992.” Jack Herman

The Australian Press Council Inc

Suite 10.02, 117 York Street

Sydney 2000

p: 02 9261 1930

f: 02 9267 6826

e: complaints@presscouncil.org.au

w: www.presscouncil.org.au

and

from:  Press Council complaints <complaints@presscouncil.org.au>
to:  Roger Bates <xyzrjb@gmail.com>
date:  Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 8:54 AM
subject:  Re: Complaint to the Australian Press Council concerning corruption of the Australian print media.
:  Important mainly because of the words in the message.

Re: Complaint to the Australian Press Council concerning corruption of the Australian print media.

Press Council complaints <complaints@presscouncil.org.au>
2/9/12

Dear Roger Bates

The Council has received your letter of February 1 in which you raise concerns with several aspects of the behaviour of the Advertiser, Adelaide, and the news media generally. It appears that your complaint relates to the newspaper’s primarily to what you see as the corruption of its database of articles and to the form in which an archive of articles may be available to readers through libraries. Other aspects of your complaint relate to the behaviour of entities which are outside the Press Council’s area of operations, the journalism of the publisher members of the Council.

As you may recall from 1994, when you previously lodged a complaint with the Council about the reporting of your court appearances in the Advertiser, the Council deals with the editorial and article sections of newspapers and magazines and does not generally deal with advertising or the commercial operations of publications. The question of on-sold newspaper archives is clearly a question related to commercial operations and does not relate to the newspaper’s on-going journalism. The articles you cite are all well outside the usual time limit on complaints observed by the Council. Accordingly, the matter you have raised lies outside the Council’s remit.

If you believe that there has been a misrepresentation of the contents of items available from newspapers direct, or through libraries, that may well constitute a breach of Trade Practices legislation and you should take the matter up with the appropriate civil authorities.

On the question of your treatment at the hands of the Advertiser and the coverage of the scandals related to the State Bank, these matters were dealt with by the Press Council in the early 1990s and it will not be revisiting them. I do note, however, the David Hellaby’s award-winning series of articles on the collapse of the State Bank and the ensuing scandal is still available through the Advertiser archive.

Information on the Council’s Statements of Principles about media standards of practice and also a summary of the Council’s processes for dealing with complaints is available on the Council’s website (www.presscouncil.org.au).

I do not believe that the Council can assist you further in this matter.

Jack Herman

The Australian Press Council Inc

Suite 10.02, 117 York Street

Sydney 2000

p: 02 9261 1930

f: 02 9267 6826

e: complaints@presscouncil.org.au

w: www.presscouncil.org.au

ABN: 13 383 369 929

ACCC pg 1 31 Jan 2011

ACCC pg 1 31 Jan 2011

ACCCC pg 2 31 Jan 2011

ACCCC pg 2 31 Jan 2011

ACCC pg 3 31Jan 2011

ACCC pg 3 31Jan 2011

ACCC pg 4 31 Jan 2011

ACCC pg 4 31 Jan 2011

further correspondence from the ACCC 16 March 2011

further correspondence from the ACCC 16 March 2011

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