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Lecture 6: Democracy in the Digital Age

Lecture Notes: up by THURS 10pm


Week 6 Lecture – Democracy in the digital age

  • Qualitive journalism – industry in crisis:
    • o What are we doing to address the crisis endangering journalism?
    • o Powerful institutions cannot be held accountable anymore by media organisations
    • o WikiLeaks an example of an alternative, a new method of whistle blowing
    • o Journalism needs to provide a service – keeps us coming back or influences the way we vote or think politically
    • o Traditionally profit has come from advertising, subscriptions, licenses etc. however there is a struggle to maintain profit
    • o Balancing act of providing quality journalism versus sustaining profitability. Has failed in recent times
    • o February 2012 18% drop in advertising revenue – media outlets operating at a loss
    • o 1500+ jobs lost in last 3 years
    • A need to encourage public to pay for types of news content – current business model is failing because public can access free online and broadcast media easily.
    • Quality journalism is being compromised due to high cost and time restraints, conflict of interests and fails to keep up with sexualisation of consumer markets
    • Changing attitudes of journalism, gone from valuable public service to money greedy media organisations
    • Exposes the manipulation of the system by rich and powerful – draws attention to failures in society’s system of regulation and fights for the integrity of the common individual
    • Julian Assange:
      • o Computer hacker, activist online
      • o Set up formal organisation of WikiLeaks to expose
      • o Claimed journalist title, editor-in-chief and thought of by many as the most dangerous man in the world
      • o Currently evading authorities, pending sexual offence charges. Seeking asylum in Ecuador embassy in Britain
      • WikiLeaks
        • o Considers itself a media organisation
        • o Provides news stories written by employed journalists
        • o Operating under freedom of expression and opinion laws
        • o Operates by accepting, but not pressuring, anonymous sources of information
        • o High security anonymous drop box to ensure anonymity of sources
        • o Material analysed and verified by journalists who then write story based on material
        • o Story and original material then published online
        • o Were hosted on servers in Sweden until 2010, and then distributed itself across Northern European countries in terms of information storage on servers. Also creates difficulty in prosecuting WikiLeaks by disassociating with any country

Is the internet our saviour?

  • WikiLeaks criteria for publishing
    • o Information not previously revealed
    • o Previously restricted, censored or withheld
    • o Information is of political, diplomatic, ethical or historical nature and significance
  • Expose stories including:
    • o War, war crimes, torture, detention etc.
    • o Government, trade, corporate transparency
    • o Suppression of free speech/press
    • o Spying and counter-intelligence
    • o Corruption, finance, taxes etc.
    • o Censorship technology and internet filtering
    • o Cults and religious organisations
  • Reputation/reception of WikiLeaks and Assange:
    • o “Whistleblowing website”
    • o ‘data dumper’, ‘data-porn monger’ – US media
    • o ‘an attack on the international community’ – Hillary Clinton
    • o ‘Terrorist organisation’ – US Politicians
    • o ‘Grossly irresponsible’ – Julia Gillard
  • Why all the commotion? The public right to know...
    • o Notion of ‘freedom of information’
    • o Demanding of more transparent government and public access to records and decision making
    • o Informed citizenry
    • o ‘In most democracies, the law recognises the right of media organisations to publish confidential information on behalf of what is called the “the public right to know”’
  • Is it journalism?
    • o Old media deals with situations by ‘avoiding releasing information that might lead to revenge attacks or compromise security’.
    • o New York Times released statement that they would not release ‘anything that was likely to put lives at risk...’
    • o Traditional organisations refrain from publishing names that could put people in danger, WikiLeaks authenticity as a news organisation being questioned
  • Asymmetrical journalism
    • o impervious to hackers and legal threats
    • o Irony of aiming to expose secrets of others, yet doesn’t abide by media ethics and standards
    • o Makes no attempt to eliminate bias, nor offer any rights of reply
  • What WikiLeaks has achieved
    • o Put government accountability back on agenda
    • o Blown institutionalised secrecy apart
    • o Brought radical transparency to wars in middle east and other workings of US government
    • o Modernised and redesigned, brought a new age to investigative journalism
    • o Encouraged other ‘leak publishers’ and provided a safety net for ‘whistleblowers’
    • o Reinvigorated journalists to ask harder questions
  • Business model failure - Journalism has not yet figured out how to generate profit online. How is this going to affect future jobs in the industry?
  • People have moved online because they can get a lot of variety for free. Why should they be paying if they can get it for free online?
  • Mainstream journalism needs to harness this online audience and make money off them so that journalists can still do investigative journalism.
  • The more hits a site gets the more advertising they'll get.
  • Does this failure have something to do with not being sexy enough? Not appealing enough to a younger audience? Does it need to commercialise its distribution in order to make profit? The consequences of doing this though, could make it lose it's credibility.
  • The corporatisation of media - issues of conflict of interest arise. People like Gina Rinehart buying into media companies
  • Investigative journalism has gone through changing in attitudes towards it. It was considered to be good for the public, revealing wrongdoings, watchdog.
  • When the Internet came along, the business failure model idea came about. The Internet is able to give us breaking news. How can investigative journalism be relevant when people want their information immediately.
  • Investigative journalism has been shown in a negative light now, following the phone hacking scandals. Can people gain that trust again, in investigative journalism?
  • How do we fight for investigative journalism?
  • Julian Assange - is he able to deal with the failure of investigative journalism?
  • Julian Assange - computer hacket, journalist, Internet activist, the most dangerous man in the world?
    • Refers to himself as the Editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks
    • He has changed the profession, revolutionised the way in which journalists are seen
    • Journalists don't need to be working for an official newspaper, or magazine, they can set up their site on the Internet and if they get enough hits, they could become a credible source of news
  • WikiLeaks - defines itself as a media organisation
    • Sees itself as a news media organisation that publishes news stories which acts under the conventions of freedom of expression - It acts under traditional free press laws, under human rights values.
    • It is different from the mainstream media in the ways in which it utilises the Internet
    • Accepts but does not solicit anonymous sources of information
    • Encrypted, secure drop box - it's service is spread around the world because of the protection set up in these countries that allow people to keep their information secret.
    • Material is analysed and verified
    • The story and the original material are published online - this is what makes it unique from other publications. This allows the reader to see the where and how the story has come out of the material. This adds credibility to their news stories
  • They have criteria for publishing which operates according to a premise of the public's right to know
  • They deal with issues that have not been covered by mainstream news
  • How do others see WikiLeaks?
    • 'Whistleblowing website' - but WikiLeaks sees itself as a media organisation not a mere website.
    • The American response to WikiLeaks is very negative. They don't see it as a media organisation, rather they see it as a terrorist organisation. Their defensive stance articulates WikiLeaks' suspicion for hidden information.
    • The view of Assange from the politicians perspective is very aggressive and hateful. He gets real and serious threats from Americans
  • The secrecy of governments make them worried about WikiLeaks - they want to be able to control what is published
  • Does the public have the right to know about the undertakings of our government on our behalf?
    • WikiLeaks thinks we should know
  • The public right to know
  • WikiLeaks' act of democracy - gives us raw material - the origin of the news story is revealed.
    • Harm minimisation
    • Have the ability to withhold certain information.
    • Still relies on the mainstream media to get its stories out there because those are the outlets that most people go to
  • Is it worth distributing withheld information if it means sacrificing your life?
  • 2010: Diplomatic Cable Release:
    • WikiLeaks began releasing information because of issues like this
    • Massacre of civilians in Iraq - the reason for the killings was never investigated.
    • WikiLeaks published this in 2010 because nothing was done about this. They considered this as subject to the public's right to know. They hope that some justice can arise from this
  • Afghanistan War Logs:
    • WikiLeaks joined with mainstream media (Guardian, New York Times, Der Spiegel) - WikiLeaks published the raw material and the newspapers published the stories that went with them.
    • The release of the raw material put the informants and military at risk and so this resulted in a rise of negative views about WikiLeaks
  • News organisations were keen to distance themselves from WikiLeaks and the way they were operating.
  • WikiLeaks has been described as "asymmetrical journalism"
  • WikiLeaks has made it possible for anonymous source to distribute and share withheld information.
  • Confidential sources - written into MEAA code of ethics
    • Sources need to remain anonymous, journalists need to be protected via shield laws
    • Bloggers and Tweeters are now also protected when sharing information
  • WikiLeaks has brought attention to how confidential sources are protected, and law changes have ensued.
  • What does WikiLeaks achieve?
    • It has allowed for the public to see flaws in the government and expose their secrecy
    • Tries to get journalists to do the work independently
    • Tried to collaborate with mainstream media to get them to do more investigative journalism.
    • Attempted for safe whistle blowing
    • It has started off other organisations doing leaks also

Reading Notes: up by THURS 10pm

Type your reading notes here:
Type your reading notes here:
(First in. Dibs on collateral murder.)
Collateral Murder
Collateral Murder is the title of a classified United States military video that depicts the massacre of: "over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad" in the July 12th, 2007 Baghdad airstrike. The video was released on the 5th April 2010 10:44 EST. Prior to the leak, Reuters had attempted to obtain the footage through the Freedom of Information Act, without success. The video was leaked by Private Bradely Manning, who prior to the leak was an intelligence analyst with the U.S. army.
The airstrike consisted of three seperate attacks. In the first incident, "Crazyhorse 1/8" and "Crazyhorse 1/9" fired upon a group of mostly unarmed men, including two Reuters employees: Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, who were mistakenly identified with weapons when in actuality they were hefting camera equipment. Eight men were killed, including Namir. Saeed was wounded. The second airstrike was directed at a van that attempted to aid Saeed. Three more men were killed, including Saeed and two children in the van were wounded. The third strike covers the helicopter team as they fired missiles to destroy a building which allegedly contained armed men. The 17 minute edited version displays the first two strikes, while the 39 minute version contains all three attacks.
Prior to the leak the military did not reveal how the Reuters staff had been killed and denied knowledge of the children's injuries. The U.S. military deemed the incident was under accordance with the laws of armed conflict and the "laws of engagement."
The article also includes U.S. soldier Ethan McCord's eyewitness story who calls the rules of engagement: "a joke." He claims they were told that they were given orders for three hundred and sixty degree rotational fire when hit by an IED, and to: "kill every motherfucker on the street." He describes a patrol to cordon off an area of New Baghdad and conduct "knock on searches" foreshadowed by early morning mortars. They were engaged by insurgent forces until they heard the fire of an apache helicopter. They ran towards the direction of the apache fire and found corpses, an RPG and an AK-47 that was the result of the attack in the Collateral Murders video. They continue to find the van described in the second strike and find a girl with a severe belly wound, covered in glass and a boy with a head wound. Afterwards he suffered a period of self loathing. He states: "I hated myself for What I was a part of... ever since this day I've lived with this. It's burned into my head."
The video ends on a melancholy note. He said: "I hear the cries of the children when I close my eyes. I smell the smells. When it's quiet I see the carange like a slide show." He is applauded as he concludes with the promotion of the value of human life.

Tutorial Discussant: up by Sat 10pm, wk of lecture

WikiLeaks considers itself a media organization. But is their material journalism?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Jack McC
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
How far is too far when it comes to freedom of information? Is it in the public interest to know everything?
What do you think about WikiLeaks way of publishing their material, aka having both the story and the original sources available to the public? Are the whistleblowers who supply the information to WikiLeaks truly safe even with all the security? Do their methods of publishing support democracy or are they a group of people with bloodied hands?

Respondent: up by 10pm day of lecture

Tiffany (Janelle & Andrew)
Wikileaks has a two fold identity. Can be a threat if it reveals information that is too confidential that it puts targets on peoples backs. It has done this in the past. At the same time it's an amazing resource because it keeps governments in check in a way no other media outlet can. This is because it's not motivated by advertising but the traditional 'fourth estate' principle. Advertising affects stories in traditional media. Stories are changed and made to accomodate advertising.
Responses to Question 4: What are the rights and responsibilities attached to being a media organisation?
Rights: -Opinion
-Portray variety in opinion
-Critique government and act as a watchdog
-Act as an advocate of policies
-Prestige and authority
Responsibilities: -To be honest, ethical unbiased and reliable
-Serve and inform public and satisfy public interest
-Keep the organisation running, and pay journalists
-Present facts clearly
-Prioritise audience over advertiser and state needs
-Not to monopolise power
-Advertise for audiences
Martin Mahoney
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
What is the role of whistleblowing and it's protections?
Whistle blowing on corporations from the Corporations act 2001
Refers to someone who reports misconduct within an organisaiom
Plays an important role in uncovering fraud and misconduct in organizations.
- Includes but is not limited to uncovering violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption.
To be protected you must be an employee, and officer or a contractor
You must identify yourself
Protected by civil and criminal liable
Tim (Hanfei)
Wikileaks announces fair, original and accurate materials to public that it doesn't usually have, and it allows individual to access easily. The way
that Wikileaks uses is much more different from most of the media organizations. The whistleblowers who supply the information are in risks and their personal security are not ensured. Because the information contains too much detail, and might be negative to authorities or powerful regimes. It might be resulted to be threaten and killed. So they are a group of people with bloody hands.
Lecture Seven (Online): Silence,Power, Catastrophe: New Reasons Why Media and Democracy Matter in the Early Years of the Twenty First Century

Lecture Notes: up by Thurs 10pm, week of lecture

  • We have entered an age marked by big footprint project- that do things never before attempted.
  • "Adventures of power we could call them" that transform the lives of millions of people in unprecidented ways.
  • Often described as "mega-projects" include not just carbon filtraiton plants and mining operations, but inter-city high speed railway networks, new airports and airport extensions, the research and development of new weapon systems, liquid natural gas plants, new communication systems, and nuclear power stations.
  • Distinguished by their astronomical design and construction costs.They cost at least 1 billion US dollars
  • Deep impact upon communities of people and their environment.
  • In power terms, mega-projects are hybrid arrangements that involve variously sized companies as well as logistical support from governments.
  • They defy the conventional distinctions between markets and states.
  • The power dynamics typically violate democratic ideals and institutions.
  • Mega-projects resemble sizable tumors of arbitrary power withinthe body politic of democracy.
  • They are a mixed-blessing for democracy. Although they create jobs, measurable wealth, exchangable commodities, scientific technical know-how, and improve services. e.g. the invention of the internet, they add hugely to the private fortunes of their owners managers and shareholders, they can have damaging effects, they sidestep election cycles and suspend democratic prodecures through the enactment of permanent forms of emergency rule.
  • When they malfunction they destructively impact on human beings on a scale unimaginable to our ancestors.
  • Mega-projects as systems of highly concentrated power whose footprints are without precident in human history
  • The new adventures of power radically alter the equation, growing numbers of people are effected by things that happen in far distant places, unlike before.
  • Potentially irriversable damaging effects on a global scale.
  • 1 out of 15 mega-projects in Australia have been completed on schedule an within the budget- plagued by chronic operation problems.
  • whole peoples and many parts of our planet are the potential victims of power experiments whose disfunction generates cross-boarder potentially life or death effects.
  • These disfunctions stem from the refusal of robust internal and external scrutiny. When these are absent, then trouble typically comes.
  • The cause of the failures is the privatisation of power.
  • Those in charge of operations propose that their mega-organisations can be governed in silence.- cocooning the power adventure, shielding it from public scrutiny by fabricating positive stories of its performance within media saturated settings.
  • The 'Rashamon' effect- concealing what actually goes on.
  • 'Institutional disfazia' sets in. e.g. Daniel Elsberg and Pentagon Papers
Silence and Communication
  • Silence traps employees into distancing themselves from matters of ethics.
  • Journalists become 'plane-spotters', or 'silence cogs' in its machinery of compliance.
  • Public silences are produced by large scale power- most paradoxical features of media saturated societies.
  • Demands for a new politics of laws reduction.
  • All communication without others rests on invisiable blocks and beds of silence.
  • silence is not just the aftermath of communication, every moment of communication using words backed by signs and text is actively shaped by what is un-said or what is not sayable.
  • Silence is a powerful solvent of worldly cares, a sign of respect, an acknowledgement of the inadequacy of words to capture an experience.
  • Hobbs: "Silence is sometimes an argument of consent".
  • The political effects are benign and limited.
  • originally from ancient Greek.
  • The numbers of large scale misadvendtures of power are rising.
  • The new catastrophes of our age are not the climax of inevitable historical trends, or markers of the final breakdown of western metaphysics.
  • The new catastrophes are not inevitable; are triggered by bizzare projects that should never have been attempted.
  • However the catastrophes of our time aren't taking us backwards.
  • catastophes of our time have a slow-motion quality to them.
  • Cummulative, the effects of big adventures of power operating in many different settings.
  • cut deeper and more aggressivly into our biosphere and stand centre stand in real time media events and trigger fear on a global scale e.g. Fukushima= the greatest industrial catastrophe in the history of the world.
  • Attract millions of witnesses, and are the raw material of rich risk hedging business investment deals
Catastrophe and Silence
  • Silence is the currancy of catastrophe both before and after they strike.
  • Covered up disasters on the scale of Fukushima, probability of catastropes occuring through organised silence is increasing.
  • Slow motion catastophes deemed not news worthy because there is no event to serve as a 'hook'
  • Potential catastropies become potential non-issues until they erupt.
  • if catastophies occur through silent power, mega-structure projects, what are their probable political implications?
  • Historians remind us that past catastrophies typically triggered major public mood-swings and reactions which serves as the spark for milinarian movements. Sometimes igniting violent political tensions.
  • the catastophes associated with World War Two nearly destroyed parlimentary democracy. For many the world felt devoid of meaning and transcended purpose (existentialism) the nightmare reality- how to understand and restrain human evil.
  • Too early to forcast the full political impacts of the catastropies of our age.
  • Catastophes are symptoms of democracy failure.
  • Warnings that big power adventures are exercises in democracy destruction.
  • By establishing spaces of arbitrary power that defy election cycles and bare resemblance to medevil thiefdoms where barons rule over over commoners, these adventures of power carry us towards a future where mechanisms of freely chosen representation by citizens and keeping tabs on those who exercise power play a minor role in most peoples daily lifes.
  • Prompting a long term greening effect on our politics, starting with the consideration of the possibility that humans are passing through a door of no return, falling victim to our own 'titanism'.
  • Catastophes fueled by silence are politically significant because they show not only that communication systems simply matter to the future of our world, they force us as well to rethink the reasons why the 'first amendment' principle of free and open communication is desirable, far more precious than our ancestors could have possibly imagined. Can we leave behind the old arguments for the liberty of the press?
  • Is there a way of regarding freedom of public communication as uniquely suited to the new age of catastrophes? Keane believes there is: the princple of the freedom of public communication as a means of damage prevention, an indespensible early warning mechanism, a way of enabling citizens and whole organisations and networks to sound the alarm whenever they suspect that others are causing them harm of the calamities are baring down on their heads in silence.
  • early warning communication principle/system
  • "our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"- Martin Luther King
  • catastrophe prevention is possible- if silence is broken.
  • John Keane establishes the importance of media and democracy in preventing potential disasters in our societies.
  • He refers to certain patterns of failure, what he terms as being
- "mega projects"
eg. Collapse of Lehman Brothers empire and its consequent effects on the global economy and resulted in the current global financial crisis
Fukishima nuclear disaster
BP oil spill
  • Mega projects are systems of highly concentrated power that have damaging effects on a global scale eg. GFC, therefore their effects have unprecedented reach on populations
  • Thus mega projects can have catastrophic effects as they have a lack of accountability mechanisms, being run in a "dictatorial managerial style" and result in an "arbitrary abuse of power", which has important implications for democracy in the modern age.
  • Mega projects result in silence and catastrophe for democracy
  • Communication is hindered by stifling powers of mega projects, leading to "silence", ie the process of democracy being hindered as journalists voices arent heard
  • Catastrophes are a "symptoms of a democratic failure" and are "fuelled by silence [of journalists]" as our communication systems ie the press, allow the public and society to question the power and dominant voices of the ruling and those in charge of mega projects
  • Therefore liberty of the press and freedom of public communication is key to being means of providing an early warning communication system that guards us against catastrophe
Silence Power and Catastrophe.
  • Mega projects include, the first carbon catching planet in Norway, the environmentally tunnel that will extend from Germany to Denmark, mining operations, intercity railway systems, weapon making,etc. As one can see, they are large in size and have the ability to make people's life easier.
  • The adventures of powers (i.e the country, government or large companies) are the ones operating power projects. It's their source of national pride, money, and increase the living standards (better service, price, faster communication, etc).
  • However, because its mega size and complexity, budget blow outs, construction problems are very likely to happen. For example, Hong Kong's airport, one of the most expensive, made the nation's economy suffer, and Sydney's opera house was 400% times more expensive then it was thought to be and finished 10 years later. Only 1/10 mega projects are approved and 1/15 are finished on time.
  • Catastrophes of Mega projects are astronomical, because they can effect the earthy environment. There was a near melt down at the 3 islands because the warning sign was covered by a service ticket.This put innocent peoples lives at risk. Mega project organisations sees the planet as "their playing field".
  • How could organisers let this happen? Some theories include that, because most leaders are male, they have male alpha thinking (wanting power, success, etc) vs woman's parallel thinking; that since the industrial age, human have turned loose in the world- all they similarly think is "cause and effect". However according to Keane these "reductionness one track explanations are unconvincing". The cause of project failures is blind arrogant leaders, human mistakes, inadequate hedging (no thought was given to a surprise event in a Texas city refinery), and politicians (give misinformation and then a chain reaction occurs).
  • These disputes are the fault of a non- robust public scrutiny- internal and external.Internal of private companies: With the privatisation of companies, comes the privatisation of power. They think everything can go in silence. But this is paradoxical, companies go silent and fabricate story to avoid bad criticism, however, critics are criticising that they are being sneaky for doing this. This paradox is called the "Rushmore effect".
  • Public relations cocoons power. The power relations in a mega project becomes wrapped. Hidden agendas arise to silence. Institutional dysphasia, group thinking, all contribute to this wilful blindness. e.g the america intervention in vietnam (they call it "anti-learning"). Talking about the bad becomes a taboo or unnecessary. Dickford from the Liam brothers was hidden went commuting to work, so he would avoid any interviews, etc. Trouble makers are fired, guts become it a short supply and people might think "it's someone else job to solve problems".
  • Same as in how private companies work, media companies does the same to journalist. They tame the journalist to project their ideas.
Reading Notes: up by Thurs 10pm, week of lecture

Type your lecture notes here:
John Keane explores mega-projects and their relation with the power of silence.
He notes that leaders of mega-projects exert an ignorance to ethical matters that could expose the risks that their projects could produce. When megaprojects go wrong, the consequences, or 'catastrophes' that proceed will affect the public and their environment hugely. This ignorance is a result of a selfish desire for power, profit and acclaim.
The projects turn into totalitarian ventures which keep the employees, the subordinates, in silence. Those that resist this code of silence are repudiated. The silence veiling the truth of the events taking place during production is used to keep the public in the dark, so as not to worry about how this project could affect them. If they were to know about what was happening, there would be opportunity for protest which could hinder the production of the said project.
Journalists usually play along with the operators of mega-projects, as they are promised inside information and access into the project. They take a hopeful vow of silence, waiting for a story to be handed to them.
Keane asserts that the way to combat the catastrophes resulting from silence is for the public to speak from within the operation. Freedom of information for the public needs to be exercised in order to arouse a realistic reaction to the production of such projects.
All of this relates to media in a sense that it highlights why democracy is vital to the media. It sustains the safety of the public and promotes a sense of freedom of speech and information. Operators of mega-projects, intertwined with government support create this secret society that undermines the value of its citizens, and rejects the notion of democracy.
Tutorial Discussants: up by Sat 10pm, week of lecture
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
What is more powerful: silence or speech?
Can power be gained without speech?
Is it unethical for a journalist to remain silent when their job is to expose the truth, no matter how ugly?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Should the public be able to participate in conversations surrounding mega projects? How can private companies be held accountable for expensive undertakings? Should they be policed in this way considering that most mega projects help a city/community?
Respondents: up by 10pm, day of tutorial
  • These mega-projects can be seen as 'sizeable tumours' in that they are sidestepping the concept of democracy by influencing society through ownership of capital.
  • 'Ghost cities' in China designed by authorities to line the pockets of the rich, funding government regimes.
Volunteer Spot
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Public participation in conversations surrounding mega projects are the only way to ensure that an ethical standard is adhered to. Without the threat of public scrutiny corporations inevitably succumb to the lure of the profit motive and this has been demonstrated time and time again. The most effective alternative is to allow the public to affect the discussion, ensuring that all interest groups have their concerns represented as they have an incentive to be a part of that discussion. Private companies can be held accountable for expensive undertakings in the same way they can be held accountable for any undertaking: by the guiding principles of ethics and the public interest as key concerns alongside the profit motive. Since a firm has little incentive to promote these values by itself, it must be given incentive by threats of accountability. While it could be argued that the financial aid a mega project brings can greatly aid a community, the imperative to police firms is reliant on the goals of said community. If money, and thus the promotion of materialism as an objective over freedom and basic rights is the goal then the community would be justified in relaxing regulations. However, a profitable relationship can be maintained with a standard of ethics and effective platforms for communication which ultimately leads to greater communal satisfaction. More interest groups are represented, the firm continues to make a profit. Public scrunity and company accountability provides the greatest ability for fair representation to all concerned.


Lecture Eight: Internet Cultures

Lecture Notes: up by Thurs 10pm, week of lecture


Internet Cultures

The internet is so massive that it can prove difficult, often tedious, to try and identify or categorise specific cultures within it.
However, what can be done is to analyse the changing functions of each form of media (including the internet). For example, print media was once associated with the transfer knowledge and information. The internet has userped its position, somewhat.
The political/legislative implications of these changes are still developing. Technological development has moved too quickly for the policy makers to keep up with relevant and effective policy. This means that laws surrounding copyright, intellectual property, censorship and classifications are still in the process of being developed.The development of the internet (outline)
Pre-internet - 1975-1989 - there were only very few, select individuals or institutions that used the internet. The development of sophisicated networks was not yet complete.
Mass Internet - 1990--2000 - This period is where the internet became readily available for private individuals to use. It was commercialised and sold as a commodity to anyone who wanted it.
Always on, Social media - 2001-present - This period is categorised by the high frequency in which individuals use the internet and the amount of people that frequently use the internet. Always on refers to both the use of broadband internet to enable high speed data transfer and the use of mobile internet, so individuals can be permenantly connected to the internet.

Contemporary internet uses
TV/Video streaming, downloading, uploading(youtube)
Global radio
Social media
Mobile turn of the internet

Wireless internet has changed the culture of the internet again. Mobile phone use dwarfs internet usage in terms of numbers worldwide, these 2 forms of media are in the process of merging. The new technologies of smart phones with internet capabilities, WiFi and the spread of wireless broadband have turned the humble mobile phone into an all encompassing media device which has the ability to connect its user to the globe.
GPS, geo tagging, geotracking and IP address tracking have all combined to create new locative media.

Media and Politics
The internet, in particular the digitisation of data which the internet has allowed, is the key for convergence. Australian (and indeed, world) regulatory bodies and policy makers are struggling to come to terms with this convergence. Similarly, other forms of media are yet to fully come to terms with the advent of the internet as a new form of media (for example, newspaper producers). Policy makers have failed to keep up to date with legislation and this has resulted in outdated and unjust laws (for example, "sexting" and child pornography laws).

Policy changes
Should the internet develop some form of self-regulation?
Can the internet be regulated at all? Even if it can be regulated, should it be?
The internet has created a whole new raft of policy areas which had never existed (or existed in the periphery) in mainstream policy. These are mainly in regards to intellectual property and copyright law.

Censorship and policy regulation
The process of censorship and regulation are difficult because the internet is designed as a decentralised data sharing network.
Initially, the internet was uncommercialised. Until 1992, the principle of acceptable use was followed instead of there being strict legislation.
In the 1990s the law makers placed the emphasis on the internet and its users to self regulate so there would be no need for extensive legislation.
It was generally accepted that the internet was difficult to regulate because it was believed that ISP's couldnt be held responsible for what internet users did. Therefore a complaints process was set up whereby a piece of content could be complained about to the regulator. The regulator would request that the ISP would remove that specific bit of content.

The idea of a mandatory internet filter was brought up in 2007 by the Rudd government. It would work by imposing a blacklist, with all content on this blacklist being permenantly filtered out. This was emphatically rejected by the public discourse though, and it was never implemented.
Classifications of items differs from different media types (for example, video games are classified differently to films and TV).
There are at least 3 major media reviews currently being undertaken by the government.

Media content has combined in format to create a symbiotic power structure of interconnected formats of social technology (Nightingale, 2007).
This is known as media convergence (Manovich, 2001).

The high reach created by the matrix of internetisation and mediatisation has caused less emphasis on the richness of the technology (Manovich, 2001).
Mobiles, computers and televisions were at one time considered more individual forms of media.
The development of technology has allowed a combination of formats to be accessed at once, creating a more effective and faster impact on the individual’s public and private life.

Disintermediation of traditional forms of media has occurred to influence the individual’s public life (Nightingale, 2007).
Convergence has allowed faster and broader access to services (Pingree, 2004). The greater efficiency in our lives creates an access to the outside world from the comfort of our homes (Silverstone, 2006).

This can create less freedom restraints for the individual. Convergence creates less need for a plethora of media technologies, as one can create access to all.
What is the Internet?
  • A set of protocols.
  • TCP/IP protocols.
  • Connected networks together. A “network of networks”.
  • Technologies
    • FTP
    • Email
    • WWW
    • P2P
    • Blogs/Podcasts
    • Social Media
    • Skype
    • Smartphones.
  • ⅓ of the world’s population is online.
  • 45% internet users are below 25 y/o.
  • In Japan Mobile internet took off much earlier than the rest of the world.
  • Now people are going online through their mobile devices.
Australian communications and media authority. Regulator.
Contemporary Internet
  • TV downloading - p2p activity
  • TV networks response - catch-up TV
  • TV over Internet - IP TV
  • YouTube
  • Itunes, Netflix.
  • TV via mobiles.
Mobile Phone
  • Mobile Phone became a technology people were able to use all around the world. Even in developing countries, due to its small cost.
  • Mobile subscriptions far outweigh the number of internet users.
Rise of mobile Internets
  • Internet and Mobile are entwining together.
  • Started in late 1990’s.
  • Wi-fi diffusion in 2000’s.
  • Smartphones became popular in 2007 after Iphone launch. Allowed things to become possible that weren’t before.
  • Internet cultures are not well understood by policy makers.
  • Convergence is happening in contemporary media.
  • Convergence is happening between mobile, broadcast as well as data location.
Locative Media
  • Mobile location based services.
  • Death of distance due to globalized technologies.
  • Placelessness.
  • Place has come back into the media due to location based services.
  • GPS, Foursquare, Google Maps, Facebook places.
  • Mobile phones are an intimate (personal) technology.
  • Issues that people are thinking about.
    • Privacy.
    • Data Mining.
Media Politics & Policy Challenges with Internet cultures
  • Digital Convergence
    • Internet is key to convergence
    • Relies upon the power of networks.
    • Telecommunications is being reformed.
  • Internet
    • Contemporary convergence of media likes in the ‘creative destruction’ of the internet.
  • Convergence & Media institutions
    • Media laws are outdated.
    • In the 1990’s there were no regulations relating to the internet.
    • Broadcasting and the Telecommunications Act don’t really relate to the internet. Thus, laws are amended rather than created.
    • Are the AMCA the right body to regulate the internet.
Regulating the Internet
  • Issues specific to convergence?
    • Intellectual property rights
    • moderating online comments, forums etc.
  • What was internet policy.
  • Internet users at the beginning where mostly computer scientists. They dealt with issues in a communal way.
  • People were regulated from 1969-1992 under Acceptable Use Rules.
  • Were unable to undertake commercial activities until 1992 because the Internet was an education and research space.
Governing Internet: Porn, panic, policy.
National approach to regulating internet
  • June 1996 ABA reports.
  • July 1997 Government announces principles for national approach to online regulation.
  • Online services act to restrict online content.
  • Internet codes of practice.
  • Educating users around safety of using the internet. (Cybersmartkids.com.au)
Internet Filtering debate
  • Kevin Rudd wanted a ‘clean internet’. i.e. filtering negative content through a ‘blacklist’ of banned keywords/websites.
  • People up in arms, threatened freedoms.
  • The big issue with the blacklist was that the blacklist was to remain secret.
Convergence Review 2012
  • Addresses the issue of regulation.
  • What laws? Who should regulate it?
  • Recommendation not to regulate the small internet companies, only large companies.
  • New regulator to replaces ACMA.
  • ‘smaller’, more flexible, less regulation.
ALRC 2012 Classification - Content Regulation & Convergent Media Review.
SOPA laws.
  • Widespread protest, including in Australia.
  • Regulate directly the core technical aspects of the internet . e.g. domain names.
The Stages of Internet
  • 3 main stages
  • Pre Internet (1975-1989)
    • The internet had just been created and people are starting to get to know how to use it
  • Mass Internet (1990-2000)
    • Internet usage exponentially increasing globaly
  • Always on Social (2001-2010)
    • broadband internet has been introduced enabling highly interactive and every-day usage of the Internet.
    • Also has become personally customized.
What is the Internet
  • is a set of protocols that connect networks together
  • provides the ablility to bridge across networks
    • information sharing e.g, email and file transfers
    • webcam and online chatrooms
    • blogs and podcasts
  • 45% of internet users are below the age of 25
Contempary Internet and Internet Convergence
  • The Comtempary Internet can be seen as mixing and combining the Internet with other technologies of our time
  • This process is known as Internet Convergence
    • Built on the idea of being "connected"
  • Examples of these include TV, mobile phones, cars etc
    • TV channels in Australia are fast tracking programs in other countries and then posting it on their sites
    • I-phone with Facebook and Twitter access, also being able to download apps and games
Locative Media
  • mobile locationbased series
    • using our locations in forms of media e.g talking with people in different countries
  • Mobile phones become traceble just by looking at the logged locations people have posted about on their phones
    • even if you're not carefull with privacy settings you can be trace
Digital Convergence
  • The Internet is a key of convergence
  • Revolves around the digitizatrion and digital technologies
  • Also relies on networks
  • This type of convergence hinges on the "creative destruction with the Internet
  • However our media institutions are struggling to make sense of convergence.
    • Newspapers like the SMH are re-inventing themselves
    • media laws are outdated
Reading Notes: up by Thurs 10pm, week of lecture
  • Media are regulated through a combination of direct regulation (gvmt, laws, licences), co-regulation (codes of practice) and self-regulation (industry endorsed code of practice) which privilegies the actors: government and the industry.
  • In todays internet age people more than ever have the possibility to challenge these regulations. Through blogs, social media, youtube or other internet platforms, anyone are able to produce material online.
  • The internet is not a new form of media, it is a new media environment where the users can both consume and produce

  • Australia have an advanced digital economy and the people using internet are increasing rapidly. Especially the mobile adoption rate is very high.
  • The social networking has increased the engagement online of the Australians. And as more we engage, the faster connections we sign up for, the more time we spend online.
  • The online engagement result in many uploaded content, such as pictures, videos, music and documents, on a wide range online.
  • And the new digital technologies benefit with the internet behavior. Smartphones accessing facebook leads to many uploaded pictures.
  • But it is not only entartainment that this new technology has brought. Key international crisis events as protests, terrorism and natural disasters has also been captured by smartphones.
  • Traditional media companies have changed the way they offer their content to the audience. Many big newspapers offers journalism through iPads and mobiles. Television have strenghtend the link between web, mobiele and traditional programming and offer episodes online and on mobiles.
  • Australians are using multiple forms of connection. Most adults use three types of communication regurlarly.

  • Five important changes are in store for Australia the next five years.
  1. National Broadband Network
  2. Growth in new services and government plans to free up spectrum
  3. Faster mobile broadband
  4. Switching from analogue TV to full digital by 2013
  5. Deliver of TV over IP
  • All these technical and cultural innovations will result in a more digitalized Australia and will open up even more possibilities online.
  • New technologies will have to be developed and new skills learned.

  • The complexy of the current regulation of content is partly because of power distribution between the Federal Government and the State. The Federal Government has the power to legislate with respect to the internet, and the right to import and export audio, printed matters and computer games. But the State are responsible for the production and sale of audio, print material and computer games.
  • The ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) oversees the regulation of broadcasting, online content, radio-communications and telecommunications.
  • The Federal Governments inability to criminalise prohibited content means that the State and Territories are responsible for that part themselves. This creates differenties between the regulatory models across Australia.

  • Since the internet is so diverse and multifaced without a central gatekeeper, two significant future problems of regulation appears:
  1. Existing media becomes more digitalised and distributed differently and the current legislations brings each medium into question. The previous tight broadcast spectrum was restricted and are now challanged by this new huge digital transmission online.
  2. The second problem is that the same media can change between platforms and digital networks. The same program can be seen on TV, internet and on a mobile and even though the service is the same, different rules apply to the different mediums.
  • In Australia content are regulated differently - state-by-state, medium-by-medium.
  • The laws have not yet kept up with the speed of the technology and are not prepared for the changes that are happening.
  • About the protection of consumers online little is known, and the social networks exists in a grey area of regulation - constantly changing type of content.
  • The content makers cannot be held for anything since it is the audience that is the publishers.

  • After the vandalisation of an memorial page on facebook the debate of regulation blossed up. But facebook as other social media denies themselves as a publisher saying that they are just a platform. There are rules that apply on facebook that the users have to agree to about nudity and pornographic material, bullying etc, but if that sort of material appears, facebook is not responsible.

  • Australia is the only country in the developed world that does not have an R18+ (for persons over 18) restriction for games. There is a MA15+ (for persons over 15) and to sell a game in Australia the R18+ games have to be modiefied to fit into the MA15+ standard. The problem is that the modifications are very small and the games are still very violend and sexual.
  • Online games such as World of Warcraft are also regulated but since it is an online game and the context are very complax underneath, it is hard to know what the regulations apply. The concept of online gaming is very similar to social networking.

  • Australias content regulation are struggeling to kep up with the online consumption and production.
  • Social networking is both dynamic and networked publishing only user-generated content, therefore not guilty to anything.
  • Platforms as mobile internet, games and social networking constitutes blind spots in the current legislations.
  • More sophisticated and flexible regulations of media are rewuired to handle the 21st century with its technologies.
Type your Reading Notes here:
Tutorial Discussants: up by Sat 10pm, week of lecture
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Discuss how the Internet has been a major threat to traditional news media and journalism. Include how these areas are adapting to accommodate modernisation.

What are the positive and negative aspects of anonymity and “participatory cultures” on the Internet?

How should the Internet be regulated and censored in Australia? Is it working at the moment?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. John Gilmore"
In the light of the SOPA and PIPA legislation, how true is this statement?
Digital convergence is the main trend in technology today. So too is the convergence of laws. Can laws be combined as an answer to this change in technology or does do new technology specific laws that are liberated from past legacy need to be developed?
Who owns the content you produce and publish to an online service such as facebook, tumblr or blogspot?
In these days, Internet becomes a frequently used media platform that provides much more information than traditional media. And there are laws and regulations on regulating Internet.
So what are the enduring issues do you think on the Internet under government's regulation?
A anti-Mohammed film sparked huge protests all over the world in the last week - is this a unique case in the "online freedom" that the general consensus wants? Should this be given the same treatment as other content on the internet or should this sort of hate material be censored and/or removed by authorities?
If it is a 'unique' case and should be removed, what kind of implications/precedent does this set for the future of online censorship and regulation?
Respondents: up by 10pm, day of tutorial
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
The protests against the anti-islam film that occurred on the weekend raise the questions of:
Cyber spying
Cyber safety
Cyber Censorship
Cyber Regulation and Control
Cyber Developments
Using the protests as an example, we were able to establish for and against arguments for topics such as Cyber Regulation and control:
- If Internet content was heavily regulated sand filtered through by government agencies, the anti-islam film may not have made it online, and would not have caused the conflicts to begin with.
- Regulation would keep young people unexposed to such content and thus, create a safer environment for them.
- It would make anonymous activity less prominent
- People's freedom of speech would be disturbed
- Not everyone should be punished for one person's actions
- Just because you pose strict regulations on the Internet, it doesn't mean that people would not try to find away around such regulations. In fact, it would make people more determined to find ways around the system, thus, giving rise to new types of breaches
The anti-American protests exemplified how the Internet and social media are being used to organise such events and it raises the question about whether things like text-messaging and social media communication should be moderated by officials in order to regulate unacceptable and disturbing activity. However, if this were to be employed, it would severely impeded freedom of speech.
A similar event that exemplified this type of protest and organisational process was the London riots, for which many blame social media for the way in which the event escalated. In an article written by Matthew Ingram, he looks at the pros and cons of using social media in such protests. Extract from the article:

"Social media provides validation"

"In other words, being able to see that demonstrators were revolting in Tunisia seemed to help trigger the same kind of response in Egypt, because it helped protesters in Tahrir Square in Egypt see themselves as part of a larger movement, or at least not alone in their desire to revolt. That’s a positive use of these tools (unless you’re a member of the totalitarian government in either country, of course), but the same phenomenon also theoretically makes it easier for people to justify their behavior in a riot in London, because others are doing the same thing.Is this specific to social media like Twitter or Facebook? Hardly. As some noted about the almost hysterical coverage of these tools by mainstream media, television news reports and tabloid newspapers arguably do as much to publicize and legitimize that kind of behavior as any social network does.The difference with Twitter and Facebook is that they are always on, and real-time in a way that even television often isn’t. But the real power comes from the connections that such tools allow between individuals: people who may not even know each other, but become part of a much larger phenomenon via their social connections and their ability to communicate quickly and easily. That can help citizens rise up against their dictatorial governments, but it can also help thugs and thieves take advantage of a cause to create panic and disorder. Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other."
Andre inquired about whether convergence of laws can be applied to the Internet. The simple answer would be no. Although some laws could be translated to the Internet realm, Internet audiences are not passive users; they are active, and this needs to be taken into account when creating these laws. Also, not everything on the Internet can be specifically categorised into generic genres like that of films. Laws need to be altered and created specifically for the way in which the Internet operates and the way in which users utilise it.
Disscussion of key issues of internet culture:
-cyber spying
-cyber safety
-cyber commerce
-cyber censorship
-cyber regulaiton and control--SOPA and PIPA
-cyber developments
The major issues and debates for this topic:
-copyright and IP
-expectation from different sectors of community
-the flow of power
Arguments for cyber censorship:
-a way of controlling unethical behaviour
-protecting children from harmful content
-prevention of criminal activity
-form of protection
Arguments against cyber censorship:
-where do you draw the line?
-special interests get involved
-allows for more corporatisation of the media--cyber commerce
-information can be destoryed
-a way of controlling the populaiton
-breach of freedom of speech
Recent example within the media:
-the anti-islam film 'Innocence of Muslims'sparked protest across the world, most notably within Libya and Egypt
-inherantly offensive to Muslim culture, the issue of cyper-freedom arises. Whether or not the polie have the right to go through peoples text messagesto see who incited the riots- therefore impeding freedom of speech
- the argument of who's to decide what's suitable and not suitable for the internet
- an article on the Onion network that is perhaps as if not more offensive than the film, implores us to ask the question have we moved to a society that's audio-visual?
-if the film was made in a satirical manner, would as much offence have been taken?
Muslim Protests Show Limites of Free Speech
Text Messages Sparked Sydney Protests
In response to Andre's question:
"Digital convergence is the main trend in technology today. So too is the convergence of laws. Can laws be combined as an answer to this change in technology or does do new technology specific laws that are liberated from past legacy need to be developed?"
- law makers rely on past laws to apply to new technology- do we have to make new laws to keep up with convergence of technology?
-can't expect laws of traditional media to translate to the new media
-we have to start fresh with new laws as we can't adapt old ones to new technology
-media institutions are struggling to make sense of convergence- newspapers are trying to reinvent themselves, media laws are outdated and laws designed to regulate traditional forms of media no longer apply.
-the audience is no longer passive, but rather are active producers. Need to consider how the public will be governed, not just content
-commercial realities-who has copyright, intellectual property
-how diffifcult it is to have regulation and control on flourishing global distribution platform
-becomes disruptive/destructive technology
-multiple forms of communication- should it be subject to those same laws?
-what is considered part of the 'conversation'?
Arguments for and against internet censorship and regulation
+ Protects certain audiences such as minors against harmful content
+ Protects intellectual copyright of work produced by individuals
+ Stops proliferation of global crime rings eg. prostitution, drug cartels, child pornography etc.
- Infringement of our civil liberties
- Censorship of the internet impinges on our right to freedom of speech
- Question of who will have power to regulate the internet and who's interests they will be representing as they will have their own agenda an political interests eg. the new web filter the Australian Government is proposing to introduce will also block access to websites about politically sensitive issues which have changing criminality statuses e.g. euthanasia and abortion - stifles public debate on these contentious issues
- Is internet censorship simply a way in which large corporations can protect their own interests? - use the protection of copyright as being their basis for regulating and censoring certain activity like online music piracy however, whenever corporations' streams of revenue and cyber commerce and economies are affected, people start paying attention.
- Regulation and censorship is simply a means of controlling the behaviour of the population
- Internet users will always find a way to get around government methods of control eg. for the proposed web filter, users can simply bypass it using a proxy server
A disruptive medium and technology; a wild west-style lawless frontier
Essential to the proper functions of a liberal democratic society?
Extract from the Convergence Review:
"The effects of convergence have been profoundly positive, resulting in new services, expanded consumer
choice and greater competition. In light of these changes some submissions to the Review proposed that no
regulation at all is necessary in the global digital world. However, the Review concluded that convergence in
itself does not totally remove the need for some regulation in the public interest. During its year-long process,
the Review asked the question, ‘Why should government regulate?’ The Review has identified three areas
where continued government intervention is clearly justified in the public interest:
> Media ownership—A concentration of services in the hands of a small number of operators can hinder the
free flow of news, commentary and debate in a democratic society. Media ownership and control rules are
vital to ensure that a diversity of news and commentary is maintained.
> Media content standards across all platforms—Media and communications services available to Australians
should reflect community standards and the expectations of the Australian public. As an example, children
should be protected from inappropriate content.
> The production and distribution of Australian and local content—There are considerable social and cultural
benefits from the availability of content that reflects Australian identity, character and diversity. If left to the
market alone, some culturally significant forms of Australian"
Tim's question: In these days, Internet becomes a frequently used media platform that provides much more information than traditional media. And there are laws and regulations on regulating Internet.
So what are the enduring issues do you think on the Internet under government's regulation?
Cyber censorship:
-Internet is a good platform for information and should not be censored.
-China's controlled internet environment is critcised internationally. They criticise the internet in China for sharing "unhealthy information". It lacks diversity and is perspectives is claimed to be manipulated by the government. They have a rumoured 30000 internet police to do this. The US urges China to respect internationally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms on the internet including freedom of expression"[1] However despite the blocking of certain sites, people in China have found other means to access those sites and criticising the government. These including using poxy sites, and changing their written language. For example, using a word that sounds similar to the word you want to say, instead of saying the actual word.This brings the question of whether its actually necessary to have internet censorship.-In America, sites such as mega upload have been blocked because its breaches the copyright laws. Mainstream movies and televisions shows were uploaded on the site. However, people argue that movie/television shows make enough money, and therefore watching it for free on the internet won't do any harm.
For-Censorship protect society from what they see e.g child pornography .-It could be said that the recent muslim riots was a cause of internet censorship not being strong enough. That video that caused this was leaked by someone. Perhaps , if the internet were more protected, the public wouldn't know about this, and there would be no turmoil.
-In Australia, censorship laws can be seen as pretty fair. There is a legislation that can be viewed by the public that shows us what is censored, so we aren't kept in the dark. Some of the laws that regulate the internet is the broadcasting servicing act 1992.
American ones include the SOPA (stop online piracy Act), and PIPA (protect intellectual property act) .



Lecture Notes: by Thurs 10pm week of lecture

Type your Lecture Notes here:
Young people and sexting in Australia; ethics, representation and the law
Sexting: refers to taking photographs of nudity which is then sent to someone who then sends it to someone else beginning a chain.
Sexting law:
  • It is illegal for an individual to take or distribute pornographic photos of citizens under the age of 18
  • If an individual has “kiddy porn” on their phone or has sent it to another porn the person could be charged and end up with a criminal record and put onto the sex offenders list
  • Young boys and girls are getting charged for precession of child pornography ruining their futures by being put onto the sex offenders list
    • They cannot work with children
    • Will have trouble travelling to other countries
    • Will have trouble obtaining a job or going to university
  • These legislations have not been altered with changing technology and doesn’t take into account varying situations
    • E.g. there is a clear different between a 17 year old boy with pictures of his girlfriend compared to a 49 year old man with pictures of a 15 year old girl
  • This limits their rights to expression à laws these days seem to protect rights rather than increase access to them
  • Belief that we should protect children à difficult when there is a different culture in young people now compared to when adults were children
  • In Australia we condemn and eliminate sexting through surveillance à people are blamed just for knowing or receiving pictures
  • Pictures pornographic level is rated for their content rather than context.
    • Many messages can have sexual connotations attached to it, not revealing any nudity
      • Selfies
    • while other photos can show a boys entire body but can be viewed in more of a humorous manner
      • the sneaky hat
Sexting ethics
  • Many debates over whether Australia sexting laws are appropriate:
  • For Australian legislations:
    • Protects children from sexual predators
    • Forces young people to think about their actions and the “consequences” they hold
    • Sexting can be linked to bullying, by eliminating sexting, we are working towards the elimination of bullying
    • There is a belief young people shouldn’t be introduced to sex à ensures they retain their innocence
    • Protection of morals
    • Against legislation
      • The legislation does not give young people any say in decision
      • Doesn’t take into account various scenarios
      • Hasn’t been updated with new technologies and media trends
      • Limits young people’s rights to freedom of expression
      • Doesn’t collaborate with the sexual intercourse law
      • Difficult for older people to create laws around it when they cannot relate to the situation
      • Young people do realise what is appropriate and what isn’t
  • Australia has tried to address the issue of sexting by create different campaigns
    • E.g. the federal police released a short add demonstrating the dangers of sexting called “Megans story”
  • However they are often gender focused condemning females for making the decision to send the photo
  • Really it should address the male who has decided to send the photo to other people
  • Doesn’t deal with the various pressures put onto the male to send the photo or the reaction of people when they receive the photo
Type your Lecture Notes here:

Reading Notes: by Thurs 10pm week of lecture

Volunteer Spot
Type your Reading Notes here:
Albury, K and Crawford, K 2012, 'Sexting, consent and young people's ethics: Beyond Megan's Story', Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, vol. 26, no.3, pp.463-473

-While there is a recognition of the severe impact of bullying and harassment via mobile phone among youth, Albury and Crawford argue that applying current child pornography laws to sexting is excessive and inappropriate (p. 464).

-Images produced and circulated by young people should be removed from the category of child pornography (p.471)

-Policy responses should promote ethical models of sexual communication, rather than just threaten youth with legal penalties and sexual shame (p.471).

Current legal and policy responses to sexting are inadequate (p.467)

  • Disconnected with the realities of teenage culture and the role of technology
  • Fails to acknowledge diverse options about intersection of technology, sex, sociality and morality
  • Fails to acknowledge different sexting experiences, meanings, intentions, motivations and context
  • People under 18 are seen as unable to give consent to sexting but legal age of sexual consent is 16
  • Sex offender registries will lose impact - A teenager engaging in sexting and a convicted child molester treated equally under the law (p.470)

ThinkUKNowAustralia's campaign video Megan's Story fails to engage with the serious legal penalties for young people who are charged for sexting (p.464)

  • Lack of legal framework awareness
  • Portrays technology fear and body shame
  • Only addresses one subject - implying consequences of public humiliation are only serious for 'you'
  • Gives no indication of criminal consequences for other participants
  • Evokes 'risk management' model of sexual violence: Women are at risk of sexual violence but also held responsible

Tutorial Discussants: by 10pm Saturday, week of lecture

If a minor sends a sexually graphic image of themselves, should they be held accountable as accessories to child pornography charges?
Should revised law take into account a committed relationship between two minors as consensual ownership of a sexual photograph?
If consent can be given by teenagers at 16 for sexual intercourse, why is a nude photograph illegal at 17?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
"While laws prohibit sexting, they are ultimately ineffective in curtailing what is a very human drive." Discuss.
"Sexting is used to victimise. It corrupts standards of decency and its prevention will stop sexual predation." Refute this argument.
Volunteer Spot
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Volunteer Spot
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:

Respondents: by 10pm day of tutorial

Everyone should be aware of what possiblilities there are online, and be responsible for their own actions. If you upload a picture you must be aware of the fact that it can be spread. Then you have yourself to blame if the picture ends up in the wrong hands. It is a different story if someone else takes a nude picture of you and upload it online - that should be considered a crime.
It is hard, if even impossible, to control the internet with laws and legislations. People like it because they can be both the producer and the audience. But because of the online freedome, there will be damage if the wrong picture ends up in the wrong hands. It is probably easier to go after those who both take and spread nude pictures, than those who spread already uploaded pictures.
The age of sexual intercourse and nude photograph should be the same. That would remove some confusion since the two actions are so simliar.
There are lots of rules regarding internet and mobile censorship, but people need to take responsibility for their own actions. If you upload a photo of yourself to Facebook then you only have yourself to blame. If you message nude photos of yourself to others than you also are at fault. If you message to someone you trust, then that is another matter. People shouldn't be accessories to child pornography if they are under 17. We all make mistakes when we are young and you shouldn't pay for them for the rest of your life.
Part of what makes the internet so appealing is its freedom, so their shouldn't be more rules because a few can't use common sense.
  • It is true that while there are laws that prohibit sexting and pornography, it cannot be completly stopped as there are too many platforms of spreading information and pictures in this day and age
  • People who post these sorts of pictures can be found and can face charges and punishment but ultimately by the time they do it's already too late.
  • Whoever posts these pictures should be held accountable as they are the ones that distributed it so freely with or without thinking of the consequences
In today’s tutorial we discussed the laws surrounding sexting, and how they should or should not be applied to minors who are participating in this sort of activity.
We found that, although sexting can have serious consequences, it still constitutes a form of freedom of expression. Individuals who participate in this act are creating content and then publishing it using various forms of social media. The context in which this content is created is vital to the understanding of which consequences should ensue. We deduced that consequences should be applied to those who use the sexual imagery for deliberate pornographic reasons. They have taken photographs, which were not meant for child pornography and have corrupted them with this opprobrium, therefore, the child who took the photo in the first place, should not be a victim of legal consequence.
Having said this, if you are old enough and responsible enough to have a phone, you must automatically be aware that you have become a part of this space in which child pornography and sexting occurs. These days, there is enough education about cyber safety that you should be conscious of the risks you take when you choose to publish sexual content, because, if it falls in the wrong hands, it could be put to illegal use.
An exemplary case of this is the recent controversy surrounding X-Factor contestant Josh Brooks, who attempted to solicit sexual photographs from his Twitter followers on the social media platform. TV programs have strict regulations about the behaviour of their contestants and do not tolerate any sort of behaviour that could corrupt their image. As a result of such behaviour, Brooks had to answer to the consequences, which in this case meant being kicked off the show. This article illustrates how Brooks did not realise that he was committing a felony found under Commonwealth law.
Case Study
  • The sexting phenomenon brings to the fore interesting notions of consent for children in today's highly mediatised landscape.
  • In the last week, the media fall out of a 14 year old girl admitting to have been raped at the age of 12, on Kyle and Jackie O's morning radio show on 2day FM, was broadcast live to a national audience has led to the program being pulled off air.

  • This intersects with the sexting debate where a minor can not consent to a naked photo of them being taken and yet they can be dragged on national radio against their will (the child clearly states that she is "scared" and unwilling to participate at the beginning of the interview) just because her parent has consented to her being on the radio and being strapped to a lie detector, against her will.
  • An example such as this clearly disregards the rights of the child which have not been taken into consideration at all.
  • Australia's regulatory body, ACMA has had a weak willed response to the event, simply advocating that 2day FM must now insert a new condition in its license that states when children are on air, their interests must be put first and they must not be exploited
  • Margaret Simons, a writer on Crikey has slammed this puny response writing "In a weak regulatory regime, public profile naming and shaming is everything. ACMA could do so much more to lift its profile, and thus the effectiveness of its rebukes"
Further reading:

Lecture Ten: Accountability in a new media environment
Lecture Notes:
Type your Lecture Notes here:
Type your Lecture Notes here:
Code of ethics
- Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of facts
- Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics like race, ethnicity and gender
- Disclose conflicts of interest
- Respect grief
- Do not plagiarise
- Achieve fair correction of errors
"Are these codes of ethics wide ranging enough to take in account all different circumstances?"
Traditional ethical framework
- Right to privacy
- Rationality
- Delineation of fact and opinion
- Disclosure of vested interests
"How might these traditional framework of ethics evolve"
Existing regulatory framework
- Australian press council
- All media must operate within Australian law
"Should these frameworks be expanded from all of the scandals that have emerged in Media recently"
Finkelstein Report
- Commissioned by the Government
- critically evaluated the way media was regulated in Australia
- Murdoch under scrutiny for the phone hacking scandal which involved David Cameron
- Recommendation: Introduce a statutory media news Council
"Did the Finkelstein Report lead to the right conclusion and has that made any impact on the ethics of the media"
- Form a partnership with the government as a watchdog
- Have a self regulatory system
- Have codes of practice commitment
- Fund more research and education
- Implement a strong framework for regulations, nationally and internationally.
"What other recommendations could be made to improve media quality?"
Codes of Ethics

Media, arts and entertainment alliance
- Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts
- Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, religion, or disability
- Disclose all conflicts of interest and any payments make to sources
- Respect private grief
- Do not plagiarise
- Do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors
‘Cash for Comment Affair’

Traditional Ethical Frameworks

- The right to privacy
- The importance of rationality
- The clear delineation of fact and opinion in public.
- The disclosure of all nested interests
- The separation of matters of public interest from matters which merely interest the public

Existing Regulatory Frameworks
- Newspapers are self regulated; Australian Press Council/Ombudsman looks over this matter
- Radio and television standards or ratings need to be approved by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA)
- All news media must operate within Australian law

Finklestein report
- journalistic standards by News Media Council, how do you determine what is News Media?
- handling complaints by public in relation to all platforms

How are emerging genres/ platforms and technologies reshaping our public sphere?
What changes in an era when media consumers are media producers?

Emerging ethical challenges
- these issues affect all of us today
- how do you handle a material that was sent to you?
- getting a hold of a picture of a dead person from their facebook page or other social network - Is it the right thing to do? Can you file a complaint?

Recommendations for media regulation
- Create a Convergent Media Board
- Mobilizing communities >> self regulation, not a mandatory interent filter
- Industry commitment to code of practice that enhance user agency
- Support media literacy education
- National and international frameworks (internet is an international institution), support collaboration between governments and users
- Maximise user participation and agency
- Recognise full digital citizenship
Reading Notes:
Type your Reading Notes here:
Type your Reading Notes here:
Tutorial Discussants:
The Finkelstein report highlights the growing severance between media practitioners and media education. What dominant ideologies are formed by these media practitioners, which stifle media education that seeks retain a democratic notion of media distribution and regulation?
Should media practitioners face litigation for ignoring basic media education which they first had to pass in order to get where they are?
Do you believe the MEAA code of ethics is outdated?
Should comments on media platforms such as facebook, twitter, blogs and other forms of online expression be required to follow the same industry guidelines and federal laws, or are they simply a place for individuals to express their opinions freely?
Should radio hosts be considered journalists? If so, should they abide by the same regulations and laws as journalists?
  • The Finkelstein Report argues that as Australia’s newspaper industry is amongst the most concentrated in the developed world, more regulation is needed. He writes:
Ordinarily, the preferred option would be self-regulation. But in the case of newspapers, self-regulation by code of ethics and through the APC has not been effective. To do nothing in these circumstances is merely to turn a blind eye to what many see as a significant decline in media standards. Australian society has a vital interest in ensuring that media standards are maintained and that there is public trust in the media.”
Do you believe that as Australia's media ownership is not pluralistic and diverse, Finkelstein is correct in advocating that we need increased media regulation?
  • The news media has slammed the Finkelstein report for being too heavy-handed in advocating for more media regulation and legislation, with journalist Timothy Andrews writing in The Financial Review:
"Rather than attempting to impose yet another layer of restrictive bureaucracy to take away our freedoms, policymakers ought to focus their attention on the empowerment of citizens, and allowing for personal responsibility by reducing controls over our lives. This is particularly important in so personal a realm as political expression.
The Finkelstein report, by taking away more of our rights and ceding them to government-appointed apparatchiks, is misguided, based on flawed reasoning, and is an unabashed attack on the fundamental human right of freedom of speech. It is a report that, at its core, recommends disempowering ordinary Australians and exacerbates the very “problem” it attempts to solve."
Andrews likens the Finkelstein Report's need for increased legislation and regulation as being a blow to our very right to political expression and the fundamental human right to free speech. Do you agree with him?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
This week the tutorial discussion mostly revolved around notions of ethics, accountability and regulation - particularly in regards to the 'new' social and technological environment. For example, that thinking about ethics is outdated as, while there is a Journalist Code of Ethics, it is not enforceable and thus has no "binding power". Additionally, how regulation is focused on the old traditional environment and as such ignores, or does not effectively deal with and respond to, new and emerging communication technologies like blogging. However while criticisms like this are important, and may be valid, it is also important to acknowledge that the sheer variety and diversity in media platforms, mediators, creators and potential audiences means that there is no one simple solution to regulation and institutionalisation. How can we keep up with such a dynamic environment?

We then started to look at spin and the media in relation to ethics and accountability, focusing on the recent controversy surrounding radio personality Alan Jones and the comments he made concerning the Prime Minister. We looked at his "non-apology" which was a prime example of spin - while the public largely demanded and expected an apology from Jones, he seemed to do everything but that. It appeared to show great concern over his public image and a lack of repentance for his attack(s) on Julia Gillard. Rather than apologising to her, he stated that he should not have made such comments about a daughter and a father (that might undermine the sense of loss and relationship between the two). Interesting was that such a reaction was received from something he stated in private - while comments made on air, perhaps equally offensive, have had little media and public attention. Why is this so? Would the comments have had less of a response had they been made on his show?

This brought us to another key issue concerning the relationship between the media and its audience. The readings and lecture involved this notion that the media influences what we think about, not necessarily our opinions of it. Rather than just impacting the responder through what they think about a certain issue, they can bring certain issues to ones attention and ignore, or divert us from, others. In other words, "how the media's set of priorities become the public's and the extent to which they overlap".

Finally, we discussed how the power dynamic between the media and Government/politics has changed. There seemed to be consensus that the media has become increasingly less the "people's voice" and more a political tool and outlet. Also that politics itself has changed dramatically, with politicians becoming more involved in the social, utiltising social media platforms like Twitter to adopt a "celebrity role". This seems to reflect a shift in the importance of image, with politicians deeply concerned about personal lives, representations, images and entertainment as oppose to policies, plans etc.
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:

Lecture Eleven: Setting the Agenda & Public Relations
Lecture Notes:
Type your Lecture Notes here:
Type your Lecture Notes here:
Agenda setting/ Organisations shaping the news

Agenda Setting

A study was conducted by Harvard in the 1920s, and it was the first exhaustive study to examine the impact of media.
-The cognitive window: The cognitive window is what shapes our perspective. It is our response to the pseudo environment constructed by the media. It is a window in the sense that while the media influences the public in regards to discussion in the public sphere, the public also influences what the media discusses, because they are reliant on our interest to fuel their buisness.

The media has a responsibility to the public for choosing items and reporting fairly, and have a great power to influence the public sphere. Problems arise when the media is selective with the information it presents. The media gives a '2nd hand reality' to its information, it is mediated through their perspective, constructed to flaunt a certain stance with which the public engages.
A few examples of these are what issues are deemed to be long term and continually arise in the media are: Climate change, refugees, the economy.

Professors McCombs and Donald Shaw conducted the Chapel Hill Study in 1968 which they researched the effect of media on the public sphere. They found it was a dominant influence, the correlation between the media and the issues in the public sphere attest to this.
It suggested that a few things stay on the agenda, such as the economy and international relations. There is generally a 2 month overlap between what people are talking about and what is on the media agenda. There are short term cycles around a few key issues. This study was conducted when print and braodcast media was dominant, and that was limited by space. The presence of the internet has changed this, with multiple stories, ease of access of information. There is more citizen journalism but still has to go through a certain gatekeeping prcoess. (Well, considering the near infinite vehicles of transmission on the internet, that's debatable, but hey, that's what the lecturer said. Word.) The most important issues in the media are still prevlant in the public sphere, regardless of the media's medium.

Learning effects: There is a broadening effect on the population through education. Journalism is focused on informing and giving us the agenda. The media tells us what to think about, not what or how to think.

Organisations shaping the news

If the news media have a level of influence, organisations naturally want to exploit this in the name of profit.

Spin: Information that is biased.

Public Relations Spin gets into the media via press releases that sound like news. Journalists find it tempting to use these releases unedited because it saves them from having to do the work themselves. The University of Technology Sydney in conjunction with the Australian Centre of Independent Journalism and Crikey! found that some newspapers had some 70% of content that was lifted from press releases.
Public Relations use certain methods to get their propoganda out, such as slogans. The repetition embeds the message into peoples' brains. e.g. Julia Gilard's campaign featured a 'forward' motif once, and the media adopted it.
Public Relations is carefully monitered: Polticians have been known to parrot the party bylines: Is there a room for individuality for public relations?

Organisations have resorted to unscrupulous motives to promote a better brand image in the media. Tobacco companies had industry scientists that denied the negative health effects of smoking. The objective was not to disprove the harmful effects of smoking, that isn't possible, and much evidence runs contrary to that line of thought. Their goal was to cast doubt on the issue, dilute action and construct barriers for laws that make it harder for future laws to be created against the tobacco companies.

As final anecdotal evidence for the power of media, when there was a tsunami in South East Asia in 2004, that had 600 reports in the media, while an earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 had 66. The money raised for relief efforts for the tsunami were far greater. The media informs the public sphere, and has a great deal of influence as to what occurs.
Reading Notes:
Type your Reading Notes here:
Type your Reading Notes here:
Tutorial Discussants:
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
-Which institution or group do you think is most successful in setting the public agenda?

-Do you think the way the politicians advertise themselves in the media is suitable for the world of politics?

-How can we create media that is not manipulated and shows only part of the truth?

-What has the greatest influence in setting the agenda; media, politics or society?

-Is society the gatekeeper in media's agenda setting? Why or why not?

-To what extent is the media an influence in constructing our opinion? What are the benefits and consequences of this?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
  • Public relations and the politics of spin reflects the modern convergence of the world of politics, entertainment and advertising. Do you believe this results in today's political leaders being treated as if they are goods or "products", with "packaging” being all important and spin being used to help sell them?
  • Does this facade created by spin undermine their political messages?
  • Do you believe the growth of the spin industry in Australia, which is dominated by sophisticated levels of media management in governments and oppositions, has had a negative impact on journalism, distorting news processes and encouraging more passive forms of journalism?
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Mumbrella article
- Debate over Sensitivity vs ignorance of the subject
- Introduction of new opportunities when industries change
- Change of the industry shifting towards social media and blending into PR

Alan Jones - spin master. Who is in control?
- An expert in the long form, not for the short form
- Conference was a "non-apology", did everything but apologise
- By being controversial, the ratings rose instead of diminished.

Do you believe the growth of the spin industry in Australia which is dominated by sophisticated levels of media management in governments and oppositions, has has a negative impact on journalism, distorting news processes and encouraging more passive forms of journalism
- Media is very subjective and who is to say what is positive or negative?
- Journalism is changing and that is inevitable, and is tending to change from factual to more opinion based
- There always was propaganda, it's just more noticeable now because of the changes happening in the media
- The spin industry is encouraging a more passive form of journalism, however the rise of other forms of journalism like social media are encouraging interactive journalism. Spin could be seen as filling the niche of passive journalism instead.
  • Do you believe the growth of the spin industry in Australia, which is dominated by sophisticated levels of media management in governments and oppositions, has had a negative impact on journalism, distorting news processes and encouraging more passive forms of journalism?

I agree that growth of the spin industry in Australia has a negative impact on journalism, processes and journalism passive forms. So the basically spin is defined as an effort to persuade individuals or the public of a given proposition; and the term is usually used pejoratively to suggest that the proposition in question is an unlikely one.

It could be difficult for government nowadays to inform the public of increasingly complex policy changes without the media.

Media advisers, media units and public affairs departments can form up the media management. And each of the three has essential functions on media management.

  • Media advisers

Have an amount of roles in public relationship works e.g. press releases and speeches.

  • Media units

A government’s department in the role of coordinating communication methods within and between a large amount of agency. Its essentiality lies in the strategy they link the government’s national communications way with individual parliament members, especially on members in marginal seats. And that helps election.

  • Public affairs departments

They are public servants that they are not working for government officially, designated to raise policies and methods and answer daily media and public questions regarding to problems related to department.

The information flow can be limited by media advisers or media units that they serve for governments. So journalists may not be able to obtain much information to report, and media industries are influenced negatively. Moreover, the competition between political parties could be more frequent that it might be going to spend a lot of money from the public due to advertising.
Agenda Setting- Media and the Public Agenda
  • journalists serving the public interest role of 'the fourth estate'
  • public relations industry- how does it work and for whom
  • role of 'official' press statement (media release)
  • communication 'experts'

We read and discussed an article about public relations and the media industry, Mumbrella Article, which raised questions of:
  • sensitivity
  • opportunities when the industry is so rapidly changing
  • the view that the writer is ignorant, and by extension, the notion that the more limited we are in our reading, the more limited our reality is- links to concept of 'pseudo environment' that is compased of 'pictures in our head'; a cognitive map of the world through the media.
  • the opinion was held that we don't think the industry is necessarily declining, it's just changing- through social media and the blending with public relations.

We watched the Gruen Planet episode referring to the controversy surrounding Alan Jones and the comments regarding Julia Gillard's father: episode 7 season 2
  • He chose not to usse a press statement at the time, instead diverting an apology in a drawn out press conference.
  • spinmaster tone of one of the best markerters in the country
  • conference labelled "non-apology"
  • expert in long-form communication- to think of as many words as he can not to summarise the issue.
  • "tail wagging the dog"- Alan Jones is a small part in the organisation (although having financial interest in 2GB) yet manages to have an enormous amount of influence and control- or is he a dying force? His audience share in 2012 is 18.5% of the Sydney audience. Jones' average number of listeners has decreased to 151,000 which is down from a peak in 1986 of 185,000. His overall audience has thus declined.
  • bolsters opinion held by his listener base
  • he "didn't make the comments, he just 'repeated them'"
Do you believe the growth of the spin industry in Australia, which is dominated by sophisticated levels of media management in governments and oppositions, has had a negative impact on journalism, distorting news processes and encouraging more passive forms of journalism?
  • we believe that is is fundamentally subjective- who is to say that traditional journalism is right and current jounalistic practices are wrong?
  • trend in journalism going from a more factual based work to more opinionated.
  • the distortion of news processes- always was propaganda. Everything has a spin to it, it's just more noticable now because of the changes happening in the media.
  • encouraging more passive forms of journalism, however so many non-passive forms of journalism are replacing it.
  • in a sense it is filling the 'niche' of the passive form of journalism, but there are still non-passive forms of journalism that are available.
  • this links to what is mentioned within the Mumbrella aricle with the writer's role of journalist in question.
  • is Alan Jones just being the "shock jock" that he was employed to be?
Public relations and the politics of spin reflects the modern convergence of the world of politics, entertainment and advertising. Do you believe this results in today's political leaders being treated as if they are goods or "products", with "packaging” being all important and spin being used to help sell them?

Politics seems to converged so much with popular culture that it is closer to marketing than to its professional, authoritarian function. We have witnessed a prime example of this in the U.S electoral campaign where political parties use celebrities to "sell" their party. The result is a political campaign working in the way that a typical advertiser would. They are persuasive and attempt to hit a target audience by trying to win them over with their favourite icons in popular culture speaking to them on a more "casual" level. The consequences of this could be that they would be persuading audiences to vote for them for entirely the wrong reasons. Furthermore, they do not do much, if anything, to informatively promote the political party's policies, which is the essential element which should be influencing votes.
An example of this sort of marketing is the newly established organisation called RockTheVote. In order to get more younger Americans to vote in the following election, they have compiled a video commercial of young, American celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Neil Patrick Harris urging the youth of America to vote.

The video is presented in a very melodramatic and cinematic way; something which would appeal to the younger demographic rather than long winding policy speeches.It is clear why marketers have chosen to do this, however, the result is detrimental to the way in which the public will continue to perceive politics.
The political parties become products which need to be "sold" to the public in order to win an election, and it is done so using popular culture, new media and innovative advertising. Although they may win over the public's votes, what they lose is credibility.
Do you believe the growth of the spin industry in Australia, which is dominated by sophisticated levels of media management in governments and oppositions, has had a negative impact on journalism, distorting news processes and encouraging more passive forms of journalism?
I believe the spin industry certainly has altered the journalism industry. This can be seen through the recent media storm on Alan Jones in reaction to his comments regarding Julia Gillard and her father. The idea of the Fourth Estate has been compromised here in my belief, in that not only is the concept of free speech discouraged by his public image bashing, but also that the article was published a few days after the comments were made. The fact that the publishing of the article was delayed suggests that it was not held in high regard by the publisher as a news worthy story, and was rather leaked on slow news day to fill the pages in the Daily Telegraph. This in itself is enough evidence to suggest that the media storm created was a result of spin created by News Limited to increase readers and create a saga to write about for coming weeks.

To contextualise, the comments were made at a private uni dinner for the Liberal supporters, and Jones was speaking under the impression that there were no media practitioners in the room, as they failed to make known that they were there. Whilst the comments were out of line politically, and patrons of the dinner were heard to collectively gasp at the comments, he did not make the comments whilst on the air. They were made to (what he believed were) a group of Liberal supporters, not the mass public, and so his duty to apologise in my mind is only due to those at the dinner party he may have offended.

The day when Alan Jones, arguably the most influential media personality in Australia has to curtail his thoughts and opinions on air as a result of a comment made at a private function, a precedent is set that more passive forms of journalism are appropriate to protect the image of journalists, an idea that is ironic in itself when journalism is looked at as the "Fourth Estate".
Lecture Twelve: Media Futures-Going Global
Lecture Notes:
(Don't have a volunteer spot, but not everyone does the lec notes anyway and I'm willing to whore myself out for marks.)

Exam content

Final exam due Friday 19th October 2:00 p.m. Hand in the hard copy at your leisure because the date of the electronic copy's submission is used to determine the time of submission.

There are five questions each requiring 400-500 words. Have a reference list of at least five scholarly sources. Use Harvard referencing in text.

How to answer exam questions (Skip this section if you have answered questions in an exam before.)

Make notes from the weekly electronic readings, course textbook and scholarly sources, draw upon your understanding of said notes to respond in a concise, precise manner. Structure your paragraph, don't make grammatical mistakes. Use real world examples. The execution of these procedures will differ with every single question but it could be useful to keep these broad, vague concepts in mind.

The influence of the media

Media has a uni-directional influence on society. The media has traditionally been in the preserve of the elite, as only those with a base requirement of income could possible produce print and television media. A redistribution of power has occured. Citizen journalism through the internet allows the public to participate.


Has self regulation failed? (Yes it has.) Convergence of media poses interesting questions concerning the legislation of different platforms and how they should differ.
Microblogging is a growing new media outlet, yet is not trusted by the public yet. [e.g. the death of Amy Winehouse was reported on twitter first, prompting google searches on Amy Winehouse to become the most popular. Yet when the news was leaked by the BBC numbers did not spike. A spike in google searches implies a correlation in a lack of trust and a need for confirmation.] Twitter has been credited for sucide prevention, product promotion and the destruction of celebrities' reputations.

Movements such as Get Up are focused on inciting poltical action, and the challenge is to move from the virtual realm to reality.
  • Media
    • ways of classifying/regulating the media
  • society
    • ways of engaging with the media
  • politics
    • ways of freeing/restricting the media
  • merging relationships
    • ways of progressing/ technologising' the media'
  • Politics-media-society
  • The promise of the new media…
    • a redistribution of power
    • new technologies come in to play by trying to look at the notion of whether or not we have become empowered as an audience and whether we have participated in a greater change as a result of being more involved with the media and politics

Consequences for regulations…

  • as far as the media is concerned in the australian context it is widely understood that self regulation has failed
  • convergence poses interesting questions around whether to legislate different platforms in the same way
  • the way we use media and the way we engage with using content has an effect on traditional regulations i.e. downloading music illegally
  • do we need to look at the ways in which we regulate kinds of media content?
  • Should we be allowed to circulate vitriol throughout society through sources such as the media?

New Media
  • Particular online organisations have tried to instigate radical social and political reform in Australia-- For example the organisation known as 'Get Up!' which is an 'independent, grassroots, community, advocacy organisation.'-- reach out to the disengaged communities.
  • those who promote positive changing relationships-- e.g. those who promote gay marriage
Micro Blogging
  • breaking news is influential when it comes with qualifications-- it depends on who is tweeting-- whether they have authority, what type of reputation they have. Audiences are still very much suspicious of programs such as Twitter when reporting 'breaking news'.
  • suicide prevention
  • product promotion
  • real time reviewing-- e.g. Opera House allows a section of the audience to tweet their reviews during a show
  • airing and sharing of emotional responses
    • negative effects can include sponsors of celebrities pulling out because of a certain tweet
  • twitter has also been used in terms of resisting political oppression
    • e.g. Iranian elections 2009

The promise of the new media
  • a redistribution of power for society to join in with democracy-- an empowered populous
  • 'horizontal communication' (any to any structure of communication)

Our challengers
  • 'any to any' horizontal communication is difficult to regulate-- should it be regulated? I.e. Wiki leaks is a form of horizontal communication
  • Old media has a selective process (journalists edit ideas, programs and stories) whereas online we tend to get a massive dumping of information.
  • Old media has a sense of authority whereas new media has a lack of authority if there even is any
Exam Content

All lectures


Electronic readings

Response format

1 page answers

400-500 words.

1 reference list at end of paper.

Familiarity and confidence with key issues and real world examples.

Type of question

Drawing on your understanding

Asking for your opinion

Of a combination.

How to answer

Make notes to help you organize your answer

Structure your answer by contextualising first.
Relevant examples to demonstrate your understanding


Ways of classifying/regulating media





Emerging relationships


Top down approach to society from politics/media traditionally. Now more dynamic.

Redistribution of power.

Horizontal communication.

Getup! One of champions of new media.

Micro blogging

Breaking news twitter
People are still skeptical of Twitter news.
Twitter outbursts from celebrities.

Used as political oppression


How do we regulate? Should we?

Wiki leaks

Ad creep

Digital product placement in old movies/TV shows

How do we maintain serious debate in a society more interested in instant gratification.

When, where and how we watch and read has changed .

Who is providing the content that we get?
Type your Lecture Notes here:
Reading Notes:
Type your Reading Notes here:
Type your Reading Notes here:
Tutorial Discussants:
Does new media allow us to feel a false sense of autonomy and resistance via posting opinions on Twitter, making political Facebook groups, or signing online petitions? Does this interactive platform only produce a satisfying feeling of contributing to possible change, or do you think it is actually capable of creating a collective turning of attitudes that could ultimately affect the way politics is framed?

Are activist groups putting themselves in danger of being prosecuted and creating a World Wide Web that is heavily regulated because of their protests against political activity?
1. Are we seeing evidence yet of online organisations framing themselves as champions of radical social and political reform?
2. How do we maintain serious debate in a society that seems more interested in instant gratification than in thoughtful reflection?
3. Do online activists groups such as GetUp really make a difference to the way politics is conducted or do they give their members a false sense of political involvement
  • Do new media platforms really represent a redistribution of power that empowers citizens? Do you believe they actually have a lasting effect on real life political situtations eg. The Destroy The Joint facebook page against Alan Jones - over 18,000 likes on facebook but does this have any real impact on the current Alan Jones situation?

  • How do you believe regulation should be applied to "personal opinion" forms of new media such as Twitter, Facebook and online blogs? Should individuals be able to be prosecuted for their comments on such forums?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
For the final exam, you must demonstrate knowledge of the course concepts and higher order thinking. Clearly articulate
the meaning of core ideas (ie, freedom of press, liberalism, flow of power, media effects theory)

Apply these core concepts and ideas to real world issues…evaluate the relevance and usefulness of such applications to your understanding of the way things are/ought to be

Use the wiki, create one reference list at the end of the paper.

How to answer-
take notes beforehand so you can organize your answer. Bring in specific information about the question, using references from your lectures and readings…
Contextualize topic first then use that to help you understand the question

Use examples from Australia only!
Using mind mapping as a tool for notetaking.
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
1. Are we seeing evidence yet of online organisations framing themselves as champions of radical social and political reform?
Yes, we are. Many organisations like GetUp and Kony 2012 have shown some considerable success in raising awareness for issues and actively transferring this online influence in the real world by rallying real people int he real world to protest and become involved. Online organisations should simply be seen as normal organisations that take advantage of the internet.

2. How do we maintain serious debate in a society that seems more interested in instant gratification than in thoughtful reflection?
Whilst some on society are interested in instant gratification, there will always be a subsection of the community that are interested in thoughtful reflection. These people always was and always will be the people that maintains the serious debate. Those that are for instant gratification would naturally be less likely to engage in these debates to begin with.

3. Do online activists groups such as GetUp really make a difference to the way politics is conducted or do they give their members a false sense of political involvement

Organisations that are politically active do make a difference, on a couple of levels. The first being that the organisations make a tangible difference, whether its to raise money for a political cause or by actively lobbying for an issue. The second is they actively raise awareness and allow people to become more politically active which in turn helps people think more about issues critically.
This same concept can be applied to slacktivism. Even though slacktivism is more of a passive form of political action, it is still action. Raising awareness is the most important part of political involvement.

This video succinctly summarises Slacktivism and provides ideas on how to step up