According to Janet Albrechtsen, PM Gillard has instructed her ministers to warm up the electorate about the need for greater media control. The alleged need for greater media control is justified by the Finkelstein report on the media.
The Finkelstein report in turn was based on the urging of then Senator Bob Brown and as a response to the Phone Hacking scandal in the UK.
The irony is that Brown’s reasons for wanting to have greater control of the media based on the Murdoch “hate media” and the U.K. phone hacking by Murdoch’s media had no reality to what was happening in Australia with the only hacking being allegedly done by the Fairfax Press.
In other words there was no cogent reason for either the Finkelstein report or Brown’s petulance and ultimately Gillard’s pressing on with media control. This has not stopped Gillard who has already set up a new Media Advisory Panel consisting of five people who all conform to Finkelstein’s elite definition of who is suitable to read news unfettered, a luxury Finkelstein is unwilling to risk by sharing with the rest of the population.
The real reason for this government wanting greater control over the media is the lack of slavish support by the media, particularly the Murdoch Press, for the government’s support of man-made global warming, or Anthropogenic global warning (AGW).
Finkelstein actually uses the example of the Telegraph’s reporting of aspects of AGW as his primary illustration of the irresponsibility of the media in ‘stirring’ up the masses. The crucial point is that everyone has a right to express their individual view about AGW, or any issue. The standards which determine which individual views prevail are arrived at by legal, scientific and electoral processes.
For those three arbiters of standards or "truth", as Finkelstein says, to be valid there must be transparency, participation and enfranchisement. The media plays a fundamental role in at least one of those processes but none of these process qualities have been adequately present in the AGW debate.
It is not by accident, therefore, that Finkelstein uses AGW as a prominent example of defects in the current regulation of the media; what he is proposing will make the process of involvement in the democratic process more problematic, especially in regard to the issue of AGW. Gillard seems intent on making sure Finkelstein’s blueprint is foisted on the Australian public. This would be without any electoral authority creating a perfect symmetry with her disclaimer on the ‘carbon tax’.
So what is the Coalition’s position on all this?
In a recent speech Shadow Attorney-General, George Brandis gave a spirited defence of free speech in the context of the Bolt case.
There is no doubt the Bolt case is a flawed Judgement based on a deeply flawed piece of legislation, the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA). It is regrettable that Bolt and his employer did not appeal the judgement.
There was some blog scuttlebutt around at the time of the Bolt judgement which suggested the litigants would have succeeded in defamation against Bolt but did not proceed with that option because they did not want to be tainted with the money motivation.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
79 posts so far.