Hi M13B,
We will continue our note taking/tutorial preparation tasks on this page, as the other page is getting rather large and slow to edit. If you want to review any of the content from lectures 1 to 5, then please click HERE.

Table of Contents

Lecture 12Lecture NotesReading NotesTutorial DiscussionWiki ResponseLecture 11: Setting the Agenda and Public RelationsLecture NotesReadingsTutorial DiscussionWiki ResponseLecture 10: Accountability in a New Media EnvironmentLecture NotesReadingsLECTURE 9: MEGAN’S STORY - A LESSON IN MEDIA POLICY AND ETHICS Lecture NotesReading NotesSexting and Youth: Achieving a Rational Responseby Nancy WillardTutorial Discussants:Respondents:** End of Lecture 9 List ***Lecture 8 - Internet Cultures - Guest lecturer Professor Gerard GogginLecture Notes:Reading Notes:Lecture 7 - Silence, Power, Catastrophe - Online Lecture by John KeaneLecture Notes:Reading Notes:Tutorial Discussant:Respondent:Lecture 6: Democracy in the Digital AgeLecture Notes:Reading Notes:Tutorial Discussant:Respondent:
Here is another copy of the Weekly Schedule. Please make sure you are aware of the weeks in which you are expected to contribute to this page.

New Schedule!!! Updated on Wednesday September 26 2012
Have a great long weekend everybody! ~ Scott


Lecture 12

Lecture Notes

Lecture 12 - How far have we come?

So far, we have learnt about:
  • Media - ways of regulating media in Australia and in other countries
  • Society - our engagement with the media
  • Politics - political systems restricting media
  • Emerging relationships

Media, society, politics
  • Traditionally, politics/media directed their message through a passive audience/and a 'top down' approach
  • Now, its more of a dynamic relationship

Promise of new media
  • Whether or not the audience is becoming empowered - as there's more of a wider participation from the audience nowadays
  • Horizontal communication
  • Redistribution of power

Consequences for regulation
  • Media - convergence: not engaging in traditional format anymore
  • At an individual level: freedom of expression and speech

Our champion
  • Get up - an online organisation that has 610,000 members - relies on the public to sign petitions, help get ads to be aired on TV and attend events etc
  • Challenge for this organisation is to: reach out to detached communities and the shift from the virtual to the actual

Micro blogging
  • The notion of 'breaking news' on Twitter - who is tweeting, and whether or not that person is an authorised, influential person
  • As, if it is an unauthorised person, on most cases, the audience needs confirmation on these 'breaking news' to believe whether or not it is real e.g. Amy Winehouse issue discussed in the lecture
  • Suicide prevention
  • Product promotion
  • Real time reviewing - reviews of certain events/functions whilst it's actually happening
How far have we come?

Where have we been?
  • 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?

Our champions of the 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

Reading Notes

Chapter 11 Global Politics, Global Media

The media, war and terrorism
  • War is politics at its most brutal, emotional and desperate
  • Bias towards interests of elites comes about because the sources that new services rely upon for news about foreign policy are often part of the state
  • Terrorism introduces different perspectives about the media and conflict since the security of the state is not under any serious threat, but the lives of citizens may still be endangered
  • Decentralised nature of new media enables anyone to get their message to the world
  • Internet has enabled terrorists to bypass mass media in promoting their cause
  • Internet is an important tool not only publishing training manuals and distributing propaganda aimed at recruitment and fundraising, but also for spreading messages and images that the mainstream media refuse to touch
  • Television is perfect medium for terrorist propaganda
  • Wide-spread dissemination of images of destruction is usually more important than the act of terrorism itself

The CNN effect
  • Livingston's three elements of CNN effect:
    • images of humanitarian disasters frame the foreign policy agenday away from hard-headed notions of the national interest towards emotional concerns
    • instant coverage of events forces accelerated decision-making response time
    • graphic images of war undermine public morale and support for a conflict
  • CNN effect refers to television, but more generally to our globalised media
  • CNN effect causes greater urgency in debates over wider political debate
Chapters 10 and 11 of Media and Politics
New Media and the prospects for Democracy
- Every single phone holder has the ability to create new media through various platforms. Smartphones and new media.
- The heavy rise in computer use in the 80s and 90s has brough usage to what it is today
- New media outlets: Viral marketing, shift in media audiences
- skyrocketing rate at which weblogs are becoming popular amongst bloggers of all ages.
- Issues which arise from the large amount of blogging online, the threat this plays on traditional media
- The dynamics of the internet, what it can offer us.
-What impact technology has on media diversity, and as a result how the government changes its perspective on regulation.
- Linkages between Social Media and politcs. Discussion as to whether social media can encourage young people to gain an interest within politics, by going on a familiar platform and making politics a more accessible area for young people to gain an interest in. By addressing the younger audiences, politics can ensure they are addressing all ages, thus making them seem more appealing. Who follows Obama on Twitter? --> Has so many followers
Global politics, Global media
- After 2001,Australia placed new restrictions on freedom of speech as an overall response to terrorism.
- How the media plays its' role in giving information to its' audience, and how they then perceive the world
- The media, war and terrorism:
- In the second world war, countries such as Australia created dedicatated departments responsible for the distribution of information. These departments could access a true 'mass media', creating propaganda etc.
- A balance had to be found between the need to influence the media, whilst allowing the media to be independent and reliable due to the wide audiences which received access to media at the time of war.
- The media showed high support for the war, thus gave opinions about the need to enlist and the responsiblity of the citizens to be part of the movement. The media was a spin as such, as they persuaded heavy opinion on the need that was had to be part of the army.
- In the Gulf war in 1990-1991, there was a misuse of information displayed on television. Due to the first acheivement of getting 'round the clock coverage' The gulf war was subject to exessive coverage. The tv was then used as mass propaganda, aimed at civilians. This was a new feat for the military to be part of the management of media, which lead to several news outlets proclaiming that they would never again be so tightly controlled.
- Due to the concerntrated media sphere, commercial media is not able to play the watchdog role as well as it could due to it's reliance on advertising revenue. It focuses on entertaining their audience, with only a small fraction of resources going towards news and foreign affairs.
- There was a heavy bias displayed in the news reporting, with interests leaning to the favour and opinion of the country and it's relations.
- Terrorism has shaped a new culture onto present media, with the ability to go beyond mass media, and it's difficulty to regulate means stricter efforts are put towards the internet, yet terrorists are determined to spread fear, and they choose to do it online due to it's low cost and higher anominity.
- Decentralised forms of new media has lead to the possibility of anyone getting their content global.
- The television has real-time coverage and the ability to bring the war to your household through the T.V. The access held by the individual is immense, yet political and military leaders still contribute to the influence of media coverage that is displayed on war.
- ' The instant and continuous coverage typical of our era creates new challenges for those involved in war' , as it forces upon them decisions that would otherwise be delayed, but there becomes pressure to take action.
- During the first world War, media was much more restricted, with it being a rarity to see images straight from the frontline, and heavily sensored. Australians had to wait weeks for the first report to be given. Nowadays comparatively, we get constant images and videos flooding our screen, and excessive war coverage beyond our need.
- 'the media have a greater chance to affect policy debates when it comes to foreign affairs because few of us have direct experience of this area' -> underpinning the strength the media holds to give power over what coverage is received, as we as an audience don't have the knowledge anyway to understand what is 100% correct.
- It is noted that it only takes one big news story such as war or disaster for people to take an interest in global politics, maybe lack of knowledge means people don't show an interest?
- National security vs. the right for the public to know
- ' How can we freely debate the appropriate balance between security and civil liberties when the media are not free to report the activities of our secret agencies? '
- Because there are laws that restrict the flow of information on law enforcement, it becomes difficult to make correct assessment on the terrorism prevention.
- In 2003 we saw the introduction of 'embedded journalists' responsible for staying in military units to gain first hand access to what unfolded in the military scenes. This causes problems, such as bias towards the soldiers, difficulty staying objective.
Chapter 10 New Media and the Prospects for Democracy
This chapter is about:

1. the potential for new media to change the way news about politics is created and distributed
  • Moving away from an era that parliaments and media companies were the gatekeepers of what we can see, hear and read.
  • New media will enable more horizontal communication through internet and instant message. Horizontal communication is the communication between creators of content and their audience.
  • The interactivity of new media makes possible a return to what Americans call 'town hall democracy', in which citizens gather in their local communities to debate issues and make decisions
  • Information technology has the potential to centralise and to diffuse political power, depending on which groups are better organised to take advantage of the technology (Van Dijk, 1999, p. 84)
  • the online world has 'no-centre, no gatekeeper, no margins'
  • New technologies have the potential to enable much wider participation in politics and in the media.
  • it may reduce some of the cynicism associated with politics.

2. the ways in which new media are altering the structures of politics and communication in our society
altering the structures of politics:
  • Blogs have made an occasional splash in the mainstream media by breaking stories about political issues like election campaign.
  • One of the successful bloggers, Glenn Reynolds, said blogs, and the internet more generally, are attractive to libertarians of the Left and the Right, due to the lack of government regulation of the internet.
  • The internet will help keep it honest and allow a good deal of social autonomy for those who have political interests outside the mainstream.
  • In the USA, moveon.org uses new media to raise awareness of progressive issues and raise funds for its favoured candidates. This type of political participation, particularly for those alienated from mainstream politics, is often 'a highly valued cultural goal in itself'.
  • Some group of people using new media also form the 'democratic laboratories' of our age. Freedom gives us the ability to be destructive as well as creative.
  • the interactive technologies can open for political minor parties, social movements and interest groups to increase their influence by engaging citizens in their activities.

altering the structure of communication:
  • Some protests are now spreading through decentralised communications strategies using email, mobile phones and the internet. Images and stories from the protests are then circulated on sites such as the Independent Media Center to bypass mainstream media.
  • The internet is often put forward as a catalyst for young people's re-engagement with politics. Part of the attraction for online organising for young people is their perception that they are exluded from traditional forms of political representation.
  • Vromen discusses 'cyber optimists' who expect that the cornucopia of information on the internet will increase our knowledge about politics, while the increasing opportunities for communication will allow for a more politically active citizenry.
  • Vromen also discusses 'cyber sceptics' who fear that technology will widen the gap between those willing and able to participate in politics and those who are simply not interested.
  • However, people can watch streamed video instead of going to the movies, and using the internet to satisfy our individual pursuits may make us more withdrawn from society rather than more engaged.

3. the impact of new technologies on some of the essential parts of the media as we know them, such as news gathering an copyright protection
  • Intellectual property is a unique subset of property rights. 'the public's right to a rich intellectual realm'
  • Patents are a type of intellectual property that protect design and innovation rather than content.
  • The creator argues that their work provides an incentive which helps them to create more ideas and art, but only for a limited period time.
Due to Globalisation and emergence of new technology
  • Computers make the flouting of intellectual property laws so easy and widespread that enforcement becomes difficult. We need to balance the financial incentives for the creators with the public benefits of having their creative output distributed as widely as possible.
  • Internet piracy has emerged, especially in music industry.
  • On the other hand, there is open source which is a program that is made available to anyone like Wikipedia.
  • The open source movement provides better programs and accessibility to people and try to incorporate 'the twin goals of individual liberty and social democracy'.

Tutorial Discussion

  • Has self regulation of the media failed? Do we need a new form of regulation?
  • Should different platforms distributing the same information be held to different laws?
  • Helen said that we don't trust Twitter for breaking news, but she used a celebrity story as an example. If someone broke a new story on Twitter would it be taken more seriously? What would make Twitter a reliable source?
  • Is new media better than old media? Why or why not? What have their differences contributed to our, as an audience, relationship with the media?
  • What are the differences between a couch potato and a passive audience? What are the evils of both?
  • As an audience, we now have the freedom to choose what we watch and when. But who is providing the material we choose from? Does this lessen the positive impacts we've felt from our freedom to choose?
1. Do you believe that the current power in Australia is effective in informing us on global matters in a fair and just way? Why or why not?
2. Do you believe a redistribution of power is possible in the near future? So, is it possible for small groups of the public to change any possible injustices in the media and regulatory bodies?
3. Could social media be the future for obtaining our information on news and current affairs?
4. In reference the to amount of sports journalists conpared to political journalists in Canberra, have our concerns on newsworthiness and what people are intrested in diminished in a way, or been dumbed down?
1. In the lecture it was mentioned that now more than ever audiences/general public play a major role and have more of an influence in media. Why is this now so? What events or changes occurred to create this? And what effect has this had on the media?

2. Besides ownership and convergence regulation is there another aspect of the media that should be regulated by the government (ignoring the criticism of a nanny state)?

3. This course has focused on how Australian media follows a liberalist model with a reliance on self-regulation. Is this the most appropriate model in the Australian context? How could this model be supplemented or adjusted to better address current problems in Australian media such as content and source diversity?

4. Alan Jone's, on his 2GB radio talkback program has made several comments regarding Julia Guillard and other female politicians, calling her a lying cow and saying that women are "destroying the joint". Should the government or other regulators intervene in his program on grounds of sexism and defamation? Or does his right to free speech include being able to express these sorts of opinions in order to perform the role of the fourth estate?

Wiki Response

We began by discussing the Final Exam. Some points to remember included;
  • reference from the materials of the course (textbook and readings)
  • think laterally across the different weeks of the course and tie in the various topics
  • create a well crafted answer, as the logic and cohesion of your answer is marked on

Discussion of the Course
Q. What was the most significant issue and why?

Our group came to the decision that we felt regulation in general was very important. This general umbrella covers the issues of;
  • The Flow of Power and how regulation can affect the balance of the media in an attempt to avoid bias and encourage a variety of conglomerates
  • The Internet and how the regulatory authorities still have catching up to do in regards to the convergence of the media into this space. There has been widespread growth with the prevalence of media on the internet and there is less control at the moment over the content that is released and published online
  • Sexting and how regulations are often flawed in this area, how the real victims and culprits are hard to deal with and when considering this, the international nature of sexting over the internet can make it difficult to control even if the regulations are in place. It can often be difficult to define the offenders
  • The freedom of the media, speech and expressions, and the regulations around censorship of the media. The impact the private sector (corporates, advertisers) and the government can have on influencing the agenda that is set by the traditional forms of media

We also spoke again about some other issues and raised questions which were previously important.
  • The idea of where we draw the line of regulation and at what point it is inhibiting our freedoms and liberties
  • What needs to change in regards to the media? Classify who the media is
  • The idea that liberalism has previously focussed on the state and their breaching of our privacy, but this is not adequately extending to the corporates in society (eg. Facebook and Google tracking and having access to personal information)
  • The power of the state and their control over the release of information - the relation of this to Assange and Wikileaks challenging this idea
  • The link of Political parties and the media - creating bias - eg. Rupert Murdoch and the Liberal Party having associations, Alan Jones and his allegiance to Liberal
  • Traditional media still sets the agenda of what the blogosphere and other mediums find topical
We started off the tutorial going over tips for the exam. Some points to remember are:
  • Think laterally and creatively when answering the questions
  • Work alone
  • Aim for a 400-500 word limit for each response
  • Draw on relevant scholarly literature or references
  • Use paragraphs
  • Use the Harvard referencing system (One reference list at the end of the paper in alphabetical order)

Group discussions
What's the most significant issue that you've learnt and why?

Most groups generally agreed that the topic of Media Regulation was widespread throughout the semester, and was relevant to most topics studied in the course. Some of the ideas/issues that were brought up and discussed were:
  • Australia's media regulation falling behind, e.g. R18+ games classification
  • Regulation of the Internet falling behind as well, in regards to convergence. More content is being published online and accessible from various media platforms yet Governments and regulatory systems are failing to keep up with the fast pace of technology and the internet.
  • Sexting laws and regulations not sufficiently up to date in relation to mobile media and the internet as well as the impacts on victims and perpetrators.
  • The importance of classifying media.
  • The question of what needs to be done in order to adequately regulate media.
  • The idea of freedom of speech and expression and how censorship flows down to that.
  • Flow of power, trying to catch up in terms of internet and the changing nature of media, and the different aspects there are in media.
  • Governments/Regulators not knowing how to or what to regulate.

We also discussed some of the occurrences that happened throughout the span of the course that were relevant to media, politics and society:
  • Alan Jones scandal and most recently, Julia Gillard's responses to the issue.
  • Julian Assange and Wikileaks
Today's tutorial began by a discussion of the final exam with some key tips

- limit each response to around 400-500 words
- employ scholarly references and correctly reference them using the Harvard System (only at the end, no in text)

We then discussed the course and its key points in groups - "What was the most significant issue you've learnt and why?"

It seemed as though most of the class agreed that the issues surrounding Media regulation were the most significant and relevant to how the media has and continues to be shaped. However, other topics were also raised including the flow of power throughout the internet and the restrictions it creates upon certain media such as the internet although it is not regarded as 'The Press', Sexting and the issues linked with this such as the fact that the laws surrounding this issue have not changed over time like our society has, in fact, we are now criminalising people who have been said to have done nothing wrong but the ageing law states their act was in fact criminal and the questions on how do we, as a society in fact, address these issues correctly and fix them to generate an improved law enforcement.

Further questions were raised to assist in improving the course for next year which included:

- How do we adequately regulate media?
- What is the importance of classifying media?
- Who are the media and what characteristics describe them as such?
- What is the impact of politics upon the media's development?
This final week recapped the topics we covered throughout the semester. The complex relationship between politics, media and society was highlighted during the lecture, showing the more active role that society now plays due to increase freedom as a result of technological innovations. Organisations such as Get Up! and social networking sites have been used to promote causes that politics and media have missed. The readings delve deeper into these changes, showing the role new media can play in shaping politics and media. It also highlighted the issue of free speech, especially in times of conflict. The notion of free speech was discussed in the tutorials. It became particularly difficult to agree on how media can be regulated and to what extent it should be done in light of new forms of media emerging.

A recent video released by Get Up! concerning Julian Assange and America's attempts to extradite him exemplifies the complexities of media, politics and society today. The video shows the relationship between politics and society, wherein the government can withhold sensitive and controversial information under the guise of protecting national interest. Media can act as a voice for politics, spreading their sentiments about WikiLeaks' alleged terrorism, thus spreading fear and hostility towards Assange. The relationship between all three comes full circle as society reacts by demanding change. In the case of this Get Up! video, the campaigners are asking the Australian government to provide support for the organisation that exposed US corruption and crimes in a bid to protect free speech. The video is only 6 minutes long and worth a look here: http://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/wikileaks/julian-assange/assange-exclusive

This example perfectly shows the potential for new media to become a prominent influence, especially as media organisations become preoccupied with advertising and ownership allegiances, and governments focused on using the media to gain support and votes. This is even more important as we discussed some of the significant issues raised throughout the course, with one being the role and influence of the media. It's role as a watchdog has been downplayed over time, and it is crucial that another group stands up to defend diversity of knowledge and free speech.

Lecture 11: Setting the Agenda and Public Relations

Lecture Notes

This weeks lecture was on Setting the Agenda and the relevance of Public Relations
The notion of 'setting the agenda' is the idea that the media is plays a significant role in the influence over not how we think, but what we think about. The ideas put in our head about the relevant issues in our society and lives at any given moment is often brought to our attention through the media.

Helen began with the discussion of some of the major issues in Australia at the present moment. Some responses included globalisation, the rise of new media platforms, asylum seekers and global warming. These ideas essentially come from the media.

News Media
  • The public agenda (eg.affordability, economy) are the issues that we are concerned with on an everyday basis and there are put onto the medias agenda. The things we are worried about influence what the media displays and vice versa
  • Walter Lippmann (Harvard University, 1920s) is known as the father of this idea of 'setting the agenda'. He spoke of the idea that we construct pictures of what we perceive as reality and the media is responsible for the constructed realities we have in our heads. From this we expect these issues to be dealt with.
  • Other agenda setters can include organisations, interest groups, public relations and political campaigns
  • Editors and news directors focus our attention and influence our perceptions therefore there is added importance on journalists being fair and honest. There is a selective process in what the media decides to put on the agenda due to the premium of space
  • Different issues have different longevity. Some issues are more temporary or come and go (eg. Alan Jones, media regulation, the minority government and Julia Gillard) and others are perennial (eg. marriage equality, the economy, globalisation, asylum seekers and global warming)
  • the 'Learning Effect' spoken about by Paul Lazarsfeld discussed the broadening effect of the media and how we are incidentally learning
  • Journalist role is to inform not persuade, it can be difficult for the differences between fact and opinion to be recognised, especially with the online space
    • they're commitment to public interest
  • Public Interest in terms of the peoples right to know and keeping us in line with the law
  • Other players who shape/capture the media agenda - Crikey and UTS found that up to 70% and on avg. 50% of news stories came from press releases
    • Press Releases have a different focus to news stories, they are promotional documents and aim for positivity and image maintenance

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Don Shaw and Maxwell McCombs asked the question 'What is the most important problem facing this country today?'

They found a direct correlation between what was provided as the answer to that question and what the media was reporting on in the area at the time.

They found that generally 2-6 issues were dealt with at any time, and a few long term issues remain in the forefront. There is generally a 2 month period between what we talk about and whats in the media.

Public Relations

Strategies include Rhetoric, Repetition and Rebuttal.
The use of PR to a greater extent in government and politics has given rise to the idea of a PR State.

Politicians find that it is an effective way to reach a larger demographic, work on timing and with live talk-back radio, they may bypass journalists. Radio also has sympathetic hosts, who don't often 'grill' the politician with the difficult questions.

  • Anne Davies of SMH is critical on the use of PR by politicians and the notion that the media is being muted by these PR stunts. She argues that running a press release without investigative journalism is like advertising and not in the publics interest.
  • Video on Media Watch - 'Echo Newspaper' - copying directly from pres releases and printing them under the journalists by-line
  • Politicians are compelled to stay on the message of their party often repeating the same lines and phrases to ensure the message is consistent

Lobby Groups are responsible for the manufacture of doubt, which is the first move in changing the thoughts and opinions of audiences. By sowing a seed of doubt, momentum is gained. Examples include previously the tabacco companies, and more recently Climate Denial groups.
Lecture 11
Setting the Agenda & Public Relations

‘The news media may not be successful in telling people what to think, but they are stunningly successful in telling their audiences what to think about.’ – Cohen (1963, pg. 13, after Lippman 1922)
  • Put issues out there for us to think about, for us to discuss.
  • Relationship between the media, society and politics.
  • The ways in which regulations and policies are developed.

Agenda-setting defined:
  • News media
  • Chapel Hill
  • Learning effects

The things we think about are often incredibly similar to what we see in the media. The relationship goes in both directions – it’s not only us telling the media what to write about, the media helps us at times to think about certain topics (look at flow chart in week 11 slides).

Media pick up on what we think about, put them in the press, and become part of the news coverage they write or broadcast about.

Walter Lippman ‘… the news media, our windows to the vast world beyond direct experience, determine our cognitive maps of that world. Public opinion responds not to the environment, but to the pseudo-environment constructed by the news media’.
  • A pseudo-environment composed of “the pictures in our heads”
  • The media would play an important part in the furnishing of these pictures and shaping of this pseudo-environment.

Who are the agenda-setters?
  • The news media
  • Organisations
  • Interest groups
  • Public relations organisations
  • Political campaigns.

The News Media:
Editors and journalists not only carry a huge responsibility to the public in choosing items and reporting fairly and accurately, the also carry a tremendous amount of power in deciding what we are going to talk about. The news media are extremely good at telling us what to think about. They’re giving us a very selective examination of what is going on around us. They have to chose and select, and give us their versions.
We get a second hand reality through the media, as it is reported through the news media.
  • Editors and news directors focus our attention and influence our perceptions of what are the most important issues of the day
  • A second hand reality, a reality that is structured by journalists’ reports about these events and situations;
  • Selective
  • A by-product of media gatekeeping
  • A constructed reality

Australian news agenda…
  • Of the day…
  • Trends
  • Asian trend – Donut shape in forehead (Bagel Head body art)
  • That comes and goes…
  • Afghanistan
  • Gillard Minority gvt
  • Media regulation/ethics
  • Allan Jones
  • Longer term…
  • Climate change
  • Asylum seekers/Pacific solution
  • Interest rates/resources boom/bust
  • Carbon tax
  • Marriage equality

Chapel Hill
  • Don Shaw and Maxwell McCombs
  • University of North Carolina’s school of journalism, 1968
  • ‘What is the most important problem facing this country today?’
  • Correlated with issues covered in the news media.

Concluded that there is correlation between what the public are talking about and thinking about and what’s presented in the news media.

Print and broadcast media in the 60’s, this media has limits on the amount of paper, amount of space they have. The size of the agenda correlates with the limited amount of space we have.
  • Today we are working with a limited number of journalists, a limited number of people and photographers to report these stories.
  • Starting to use more citizen journalism. Stuff that is produced by ordinary people out there, but still has to go through some sort of selective gatekeeping process before it is published in mainstream media.

Paul Lazarsfeld – Incidental learning from the mass media.

From a journalistic perspective…
  • Very much focused on informing
  • Learning is more central than persuading
  • More about serving the ‘public interest’.
  • That’s the way that journalists would see their job. Journalists have this responsibility to the public and they work within these two notions:

‘The people’s right to know’
Based on the notion of ‘freedom of information.’
  • Demanding a more open government and greater access to public records and government decision making
  • Maintaining an informed citizenry.

‘In the public interest’
Matters the public need to know in order to exercise their rights and duties as citizens eg, new laws, rules, regulations.

Shaping/subsidizing/capturing… ‘The Media Agenda’
  • Who sets the media’s agenda?
  • What other agendas are out there?

One of the way’s the PR gets into the media is by sending them press releases that are so well written and so much like news stories they get approved and put in. Studies of the new york times and Washington post across a twenty year period found that nearly half of their news stories were substantially based on press releases.

Press releases:
  • Function as promotional documents
  • Try to balance information with promotion, but ultimately aim to positively promote an organisation or a product
  • Have an element of ‘image maintenance’.

  • The particular angle, meaning or interpretation assigned to a political event by a spin doctor

PR State – Suggests that politics has come to be as much about presentation and spin as it has about public policy.
  • Timing announcements to maximize coverage
  • Expensive advertising campaigns
  • Attempting to bypass journalists altogether
Something that our politicians have been resorting to in order to get favourable coverage in the media. John Howard and Tony Abbott are very good at this. Various politicians who rely heavily on talk back radio and television.

TV – television distracts us from, and trivializes, politics. Reporting of politics is often criticized for focusing too much on the close infighting and the personality contests, and too little on the contest of ideas over policy.

Radio – Comments go to air unedited. They can get their message out without the fear that the news organisation will selectively edit their comments to show them in a poor light.
A way that politicians have exploited PR mechanisms in order to get positive messages out there. Positive messages that go unchallenged.

Anne Davies – Journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Exclusives that set the agenda are important in boosting circulation. But simply running the government’s announcement before it is made, without any serious critique, comes perilously close to being advertising for political parties. It may be of mutual benefit to newspapers and politicians, but it’s certainly not in the public interest.’

To keep the public confused about the hazards posed by global warming, second hand smoke, asbestos, lead, plastics and many other toxic materials, industry executives have hired unscrupulous scientists and lobbyists to dispute scientific evidence about health risks. In doing so, they have not only delayed action on specific hazards, but they have constructed barriers to make it harder for lawmakers, government agencies, and courts to respond to future threats.


CHAPTER FIVE: THE POLITICS OF 'SPIN' in Media & Politics, An Introduction

  1. 1. Outlines the evolving relationship between politicians and journalists and the changing demands of each profession
  2. 2. Demonstrates how politicians attempt to manage the way their image and messages are presented in the media, and their strategies to bypass the press gallery through talkback radio and government advertising
  3. 3. Considers the ways in which journalists must now deal with a large media management infrastructure operated by governments, which makes it more difficult for them to hold politicians accountable for their actions.

Government and the Media: A Changing Relationship
- the media are used as a source of communication between the news and the people and the government wish to ensure that any communication delivered does not reflect badly upon their actions and political decisions. The public must believe their governments are doing the right thing.
- More journalists employed by Australian governemts than by all the newspapers that cover Australian politics. Every member of the federal parliament has a part-time or full-time media adviser, confirming that each reputation shall remain intact.
- The media and the government each rely on each other to generate as much success as possible. The government rely on the media to get their ‘spin’ or message out to the public just as much as the media need the government to ensure a stable economic climate, enforce legal contracts and guarantee its rights and property.
- However the media has become asymmetrical recently as media is becoming more internet distributed which has put plenty of journalists out of jobs. Therefore the government has the upper hand in determining their successful timing in announcements to expensive advertising campaigns that now accompany major policy changes.

- The idea of a public relations state suggests that politics has come to be as much about presentation and spin as it is about public policy.
- The emergence of television created the trend of images in the media and the reporting of politics. Politicians tailor many of their strategies to the demands of television which leads to the reporting of such media favouring image over substance and giving participants in political debate only a brief opportunity to make their case. This way of reporting is misleading and the visual option brings upon both advantages and disadvantages.
- Can public figures have private lives? Or are the public inclined to know their every secret? Many politicans have used their public lives to generate popularity but often there are skeletons found that were intended to be hidden.
- Jurgen Habermas (1989) argues that television represents the ‘closure of the public sphere’

- Politicians follow the league of celebrities and big corporations by turning complex policy issues into slogans and symbols with which voters can easily identify.
- Governments employ a number of techniques to foster journalistic dependence on them as a media source
èemploying journalists who were formerly part of the press gallery
èselectively leaking stories
èblacklisting journalists who dare to challenge the government’s agenda and rewarding those who do the governments bidding with exclusive stories
èhijacking reporters

Media Units
- The role of media units is to coordinate communications strategy within and between various agencies.

Media Monitoring
- transcripts of broadcast programs that politicians and government departments use to keep track of what is making news and check the results of their media management techniques

Plausible Deniability
- Used when controversy arises with political campaigns
- When no official records exist of what a minister was or was not told of a given matter, the politician is said to have plausible deniability of any knowledge of that matter.

The Role of Government Advertising
- the trend of increased government expenditure on advertising began under the Hawke and Keating governments, spending consistently higher under the Howard government but was reduced by the Rudd and Gillard Governments.
- Money spent on advertising is accepted until it is perceived to be promoting the policies of a political party. It is often very difficult to differentiate political campaigns from election campaigns, and governments are deliberately burring the distinction between the two, which is essentially, unethical.

- politicians have learnt to bypass journalists in their public communication by appearing on live radio and rapidly increasing the amount of money spent on government information campaigns. This process undermines the accountability of politicians by limiting the extent to which they are questioned by journalists.

Tutorial Discussion

Which institution or group do you think is most successful in setting the public agenda?
Do you think that politicians circumventing journalists for their public policy communications has lead to journalists becoming more adversarial in other aspects of politics? e.g. Journalists hounding politicians over gaffes.
1. Do you think the way the politicians advertise themselves in the media is suitable for the world of politics?
2. Would you prefer to watch a political debate between two opposing politicians or just watch a campaign video that is created by their media advisers?
3. How can we create media that is not manipulated and shows only part of the truth?

Wiki Response

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.
Ethics and accountability, from last weeks lecture. How do media regulations need to change in the new media environment. With the ever increasing amount of social media and blogging etc.

There are so many bodies that regulate this, but because of this it’s hard to actually regulate everything properly.

ALLAN JONES à vicious attacks on the prime minister, which have become very misogynistic,
Right-wing shock jock, he goes too far, if it were a male prime minister, would this be happening?

He calls himself an entertainer instead of a journalist, so therefore he gets away with it.

Interesting that it was not on the air, and so therefore there wasn’t an opportunity for it to be discussed. It was at a private event, where there wasn’t supposed to be audience.

Gruen Planet: “compulsory” to talk about on the ABC. He is a spin master, one of the best promotioners in the country.

Media play a massive part in deciding what we think about, setting the agenda. The things that are important are brought to our attention. The media’s priorities become our priorities.

Politicians are now trained by journalists on how to fend off bad questions from other journalists; they now know how to regurgitate the answers that the party wants to let out.

Would you prefer to watch a debate or a video created by their media advisors? Depends on the fact that debates aren’t really accurate in getting real opinions out there.
This week we talked about 'Ethics and Accountability'. We discussed how institutionalised regulation be applied in disperse media world and that the present regulations may be out-dated for today's media form.

Then we looked at an example of media ethics. We drew Allan Jones as an example because he criticised Julia Gillard and made bad comments about her that one could hear for being a woman. So he criticised a person whose name is Julia Gillard, not PM Julia even making gender-discriminating comments. We watched a video clip where two parties appeared and argued whether Allan Jones was apologising or not. This was an example how people work with media. Jones might have consulted his media advisor before he augmented the press conference where he apologised to Julia Gillard. This has raised a quetion: do they use pre-written answer provided for them to use in press conference or interview to avoid any unwanted issue or problem?

Then we went through some of the questions raised up by tutorial discussant. We talked about the definition of 'agenda setting' and the transition of the relationship between politicians and media. Firstly, agenda setting is how the media set priorities over public priority. Thus, agenda setting can greatly influence public's priority of issue. Second question was 'how has the relationship between media set priorities over the last 20-30 years?' In the beginning, I guess they had almost rivalry with media inspect politicians and trying to criticise them whereveer possible to maintain themselves providing neutral or even negative view of politics. Nowadays, politicians consult media advisor who mediate politicians and media. Media is being manipulated by politicians now so they can use it to speak out and express themselves. The balance of power between media and politicians has changed. Somebody brought up a arguable question regarding this matter: are the politicians managing social media account actually using them to communicate? Or is a media advisor using the account for a safe messaged posting or upload things.
We started off this week by going over some admin to do with the exam for next week. How to approach the questions, what type of questions to expect and how to apply your knowledge to the questions.

Because of the long weekend last week, we did not have a tutorial and therefore the topic of ethics and regulation was not discussed so this is what we started to discuss this week. The general idea was that the code of ethics for journalists was outdated ad did not incorprate the growing uses of social media and blogging as a form of information for viewers. The code of ethics surrounding ournlaists is called the Media, Entertainmens and Arts alliance and is more of a guide for journalists to go by rather than a forcible code that would stand up in a court of law. The FInklestein Report was discussed with a great deal of negativity due to its out of date publication and its lack of awareness of the media landscape these days. It was concluded that in order to properly govern the media industry, the code of ethics needs to be updated to incorporate such things as social media otherwise there will be inconsistencies throughout the investigation of journalists. We also discussed how the media does not tell us what to think but what to think about. This means that the media is not necessarily influencing our thoughts on issues yet it is putting the issues in our heads in order for us to think about them. This is why they filter information and choose to present or withhold certain stories or pieces of information

We then moved on to discussing Alan Jones' comment about Julia Guillard and his lack of apology. We watched a short clip of an interview with feminist Merideth Burglemann who stated that Jones' comments were filled "Misogynistic and gendered language". the other issue was that Jones' comment was made in a private room and not on his talk show which would have raised a debate on air of the issues surrounding his comment yet because it was made in private and presented to the public as a news story, the public took it as it was presented by the media. Burglemann also compared Jones to other radio presentors such as Ray Hadley and how they criticise Julia Guillard because she is a woman. Although everyone agreed with this comment and everyone agreed that what Jones said was wrong and uncalled for, they also said that it doesn't really matter that she is a woman, she would've been attacked either way by the public however, male prime ministers have been criticised on appearance as well. John Howard was criticised a great deal when he was releasing the GST reform and people focused on his eyebrows to take a shot at rather than his policy concluding that the public is becoming less concerned with the policies of the party and more about the personalised aspects of the leader. This also comes from the public being frustrated with the leader and their actions in leading the country that they take this frustration out on the leader rather than the party taking issues way out of hand.

We then watched a short section of an episode on Gruen Planet where they criticised Jones' 'apology' or lack of. They focused on his press release and raised the question of why he decided to hold a press conference and not just release a statement apologising. They stated that for someone who talks for a living, he was so bad at communicating as he was rambling out "Verbal Viagra" that was complete waffle. The issue of who he consulted about having a press conference was raised and it was said that he would have spoken to a PR person and the 2GB station manager to gain advice as to how to go about the issue of 'apologising' and that all political party persons have a PR go to person for how to handle the media and that they are now highly trained in dealing with these situations. In the end, it was stated that Jones did not actually say sorry and although he may have been advised to - he did not actually show remorse for his actions yet if he had of released a statement, there would have been uproar stating that he is not facing what he has done where as this way he was criticised for not saying sorry. These days all leaders have an adviser when it comes to the media and this is shaping their image in the media.

We finished by discussing how the government has more power than the media these days and how the government takes on a more social role in the media then what they used to. Politicians have become more like celebrities than politicians. And the question was, Would you rather watch a political debate or an advertisement set up by the media advisors? And the conclusion was that the public don't really care anymore and even a debate has been turned into a social situation with the introduction of 'the worm' which is public opinion therefore all media is being infiltrated by advisors to make it more like entertainment and less about politics. Also, the conclusion about media advisors was that there are no permeable boundaries between media advisors and the media which is affecting how we view the political sphere today.

Lecture 10: Accountability in a New Media Environment

Lecture Notes

Code of Ethics surrounding journalism and reporting:
This code is put in place to ensure that journalists work fairly and openly when reporting, with as little bias as possible.
However, do we consider radio presenters journalists? They are able to express thier opinions to a wide audience, often influencing them greatly. Although 'AM' stations now have to openly say when they have been sponsored to talk about a certain product or person, 'FM' presenters are still able to speak freely about whatever they please, without any such restrictions. Presenters such as Kyle Sandilands were brought up as an example of person who is very opinionated, but also not under the same restrictions as 'AM' presenters.

Ethics involved when reporting include privacy and disclosure. Not all aspects of journalism are regulated, and some parts may be considered unethical but are not illegal.

Current regulatory bodies:
  • Newspapers- Australian Press Council/ ombudsman
  • Radio and television- standards approved and overseen by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA)
  • All news media must operate within Aust. Law- particularly the laws of defamation and contempt.

How are emerging technologies re-shaping the public sphere?
- The move from a vertical to a horizontal media environment.
- professional content gets caught up

- Not a mandatory internet filter
- Too hard to regulate the internet
- Needs to be done to protect children
  • For example sexually explicit groups that 'pop-up' on facebook.
- The industries need to commit to codes of practice that enhance user agency.



Same as above ........



Lecture Notes

Nude and semi nude images sent under the age of 18 are judged based on the content, not on the context. Possession and distribution can put people in the sex offenders list. Willard is advocating for a change in laws, especially concerning children's rights and harm minimisation. Legislation is lagging behind technological innovations, undermining aspects of citizenship, ethics and socialisation.

Australia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that children can form their own views. They aren't always consulted, but should be under this convention. They also have freedom of expression.

Australian responses to sexting have been prohibition, surveillance, shaming and condemnation, tabloid panic and moral edutainment. These did not cover every aspect of the repercussions of child pornography laws. Many males and females under 18 felt that the adults did not understand the issue and that laws were excessive and strategies employed were inappropriate. Additionally, males and females felt that they were being treated differently from each other. While males may be able to take certain photos of themselves, females may not be able to do something similar.
This weeks lecture was delivered by Dr. Kath Albury. It focused on legal ramifications and education concerning "sexting" - specifically in regards to minors (those under 18). In a legal context if one takes, sends or is in possession of a nude picture of a minor it is considered to be child pornography. Thus, they may be prosecuted and registered as sex offenders regardless of their age and the context surrounding the photos and their distribution. She stated that her stance, and that of her project, was very much that of an activist. E.g. She believes the regulation and education around issues such as sexting needs to change, which is reflected in her lecture and research. The main reasons for change were:

1. That the laws in place, and education, concerning sexting are "lagging" behind both technology and modern communication systems e.g. social media.

2. That both the laws and education ignore the context surrounding sexting and nude pictures.

E.g. Corey Delaney was charged under child porn laws for having photos of a game of strip twister - played by minors - on his phone. AT 17, so a minor himself, he was registered as a sex offender. In contrast, there have been cases where sexual assaults have been filmed and distributed to humiliate the victim(s). She made the case that instances like these two are vastly different, and that by not recognising context these differences cannot be reflected legally (in how certain cases are dealt with and in the punishment "consequence" received).
Also, the notion that what may be considered to be sexual depends on how, and who, is looking at something. What an adult may look and see an expression of sexuality is not necessarily what it was in reality.

3. That perceptions and reactions to sexting are very much gendered. As a result, the way in which the law is implemented and the message being given to children is conflicting. Also, that rather than educating children about the legal consequences - which many were unaware of - often authorities such as the Government and Police adopted an approach that moreso involved an education of sorts about the possible personal humiliation that could result from sexting.

E.g. The video "Megan's Story" (supposed to be) showed in the lecture centred around a young girl whose naked pictures were shared. It does not mention legal issues, instead opting to discourage sexting by honing in on a sense of shame - that should be engage in sexting, they should feel ashamed. Also, from interviews with boys and girls aged from 16-18, many seemed to view male and female nudity differently. Where a circulated naked selfie of a girl may provoke strong reactions - outrage, shame, disgust etc - they found that the same photos of boys tended to be viewed with more humour and less significance.

4. In terms of education, she believes there is also a conflict in the message being given and taught about what should be private v public.

E.g. A fact sheet was created and distributed by the Australian government in response to sexting. It was targeted at parents, and encouraged parents to access and monitor their children's text messages and facebook pages. This would be considered an invasion of privacy by many, and yet the reason it may happen is to ensure privacy. To avoid certain details and pictures being shared with others.

It is also worth noting that in NSW, and some other states, although one may legally be able to press charges it is generally avoided/chosen not to, yet in VIC prosecution is more commonplace.

Reading Notes

Moveable Types: Youth and the Emergence of Mobile Social Media in Australia
by Gerard Goggin and Kate Crawford

Today, the questions surrounding the mobile phone and mobile communication is that the term "mobile phone" is no longer adequate to indicate what is occuring. Mobiles are now increasinfly being recognised as media.
The most recent development in mobile media is the intersection of mobiles and the Internet, and this is shaping how the mobile phone is now used. This coupled with the growing need to access social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter have created a space where accessing the Internet on mobile phones is imperative to their use.

In their study on youth and their use of media, these were some of their findings:
  • Quite a few people always have their phone with them, even when asleep, and it is never turned off.
  • The phone has become "like your friend", as it is a "network of friends in one" with its capability to access Facebook and Twitter as well as phone contacts
  • The use of text messaging has evolved to now occur online, with status updates on social media sites instead of SMS messaging.
  • Facebook, for many of the participants, had become an essential technology they used for networking and friendship.
  • A dependency on these social media platforms being always available is seen when web servers crash for a couple of days, leaving people in disarray.
  • Participants found it easier to upload photos and media directly to Facebook from their mobiles, instead of firstly putting them on their computers and then selecting which photos to upload to the Internet.

For companies such as Facebook and Twitter, mobile media platforms are an area of strategical expansion that allows them to reach a greater number of people at higher frequencies.

Cost plays a large role in the use of Internet on mobile devices, as some people felt that the high costs limited their use of the Internet on their phone, whereas others benefited from the ability to send mass text messages to groups of people on Facebook for free, compared to SMS rates.

While youth have been associated with new forms of media and mobile devices such as smartphones and 3G, it has been discovered that a lot of people in that age range (under 20s) could not afford the technology of the new iPhone, for example. They are suspicious of the push for new technology at a faster rate.

Internet use on mobiles has begun to play a large role in the way that friendships are created and sustained; mobile phones are becoming "portals" that open up into many spaces, instead of being one stand-alone technology.
  • With the constant need to check Facebook, Crawford states it as a "practice of listening", as people spend more time checking what others have posted instead of updating themselves.
  • There are many different types of categories of contacts that are now contained within a mobile phone; "Facebook friends" are differentiated from "Twitter friends" and again from mobile phone contacts.
  • The degree of friendship is also distinguished by which media platform they occur; with one participant saying "we're just friends on Facebook for the sake of being friends on Facebook...somehow being Facebook friends...it's less of a friendship"
  • The mobile phone has evolved into becoming a strategic node in networks of friendships.

SMS messaging has becoming almost identical to Twitter messages or Facebook updates. The mobile is now a "container technology" (Sofoulis, 2000), as it constantly receives and emits information via different systems and networks.
The mobile phone has become less of a thing itself, but more as an embedded idea that encapsulates many different networks and platforms simultaneously.
This reading aims to contrast the Australian policy and the real experience of young people about sexting. By surveying young people's experience, motivation and context of sexting, this article argues the inappropriateness of application of child pornography law to sexting.

  • The term "sexting" is defined as "youth writing sexually explicit messages, taking sexually explicit photos of themselves or others in their peer group, and transmitting those photos and/or messages to their peers" by National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in the USA.
  • Consent decides whether or not a sexting experience would be positive.
  • 16 - 18 year-old people considers themselves as having full sexual agency whereas under 18s are unable to give consent to sexting by the law.
  • We need legislative and educational policies that emphasise the significance of the sexual agency and consent.
  • In some context, sexting is a mean of self-representation and communication that is inappropriate to be criminalized.

Megan's story is a campaign video that has been promoted in September 2010 by ThinkUKnowAustralia to raise awareness of the openness of uploaded images. The video which conveys Megan's experience of her sexual image that is sent to someone via mobile being forwarded to everyone in her class. This article aruges that the film is inappropriate because it focuses on an individual's bad choice and loss of control rather than putting it in a broader context such as the whole class who forwarded the sext of Megan to each other. This video was criticized for gender discrimination as a female character was depicted to be an inherent victim of sexual violence. It is not just an individual to be thoughtful but the whole society. Thus, if each character of the video was visually labelled with their legal liability for the production, possession and distribution of child pornography, the ad could be more realistic and effective.

The article focuses on the diverse contexts of sexting which help developing more suitable responses to sexting for educators, policy-makers and legislators.
  • Majority of interviewees responded that they were not directly involved in sexting but have heard of someone who has sent or received it.
  • Sexting was found to occur between friends as a joke or a bond, not just in the context of flirtation or sexual relationship.
  • The variation as to how sexually explicit images are produced, shared, discovered and possessed is remarkably diverse.
  • Participants of the study who shared their direct involvement of sexting showed positive perception about the activity describing it as "a different form of erotica" and "a means of staying connected to a partner living overseas."

Sexting and Youth: Achieving a Rational Response

by Nancy Willard

  • "Sexting" is a combination of the two terms "sex" and "text" and is being applied to situations of sending self-created nude or semi-nude sexually provocative images or sexually explicit text.
  • It appears to be the result of:
    • Digital imaging technology that can easily capture and send messages
    • Impulsivity
    • Raging hormones
    • Peer and partner pressure
    • And teens biological incapability of effectively predicting the potential negative harmful consequences of their actions
  • Not just for kids - both single and married are using sexting to spice up their sex lives
    • It is "fast, easy and fun"
    • Because of this - it can sexting can be classified within the range of normative human sexual behaviour
  • There were significant surveys done in the field of Sex and technology, Digital Abuse, Teens and Sexting
    • Results that were common across all fields suggested that
      • A minority of teens are engaging in sexting activity - involvemtn increases with age
      • A significant amount is related to personal relationships - current and desired
      • Boys and Girls are participating at an equivalent rate
      • A significant amount reported that pressure by others to participate was an issue
  • Behaviour is prominent in romantic partners
  • Situations from sexting that have occurred:
    • Developmentally Normative Activities
      • When the action does not intend to cause harm
      • Often seen in romantic partnerships
      • Youths playing spin the bottle
      • Used for attention purposes or to "gross others out"
    • Malicious Activity
      • Intended to cause harm
      • Usually peer pressure
      • When an image in intended to be private and is then spread
      • Fake images created by merging a nude body with someones head
    • At-Risk
      • Teen depicted in engaging with at risk behaviour
      • Intentional dissemination of an image
      • Teen depicted in engaging in "hook-ups"
    • Significantly Harmful Behaviour
      • Intended to cause harm
      • Demand for an image by an abuse person or a controlling partner
      • Revengeful distribution of an image after a break up
      • Blackmail threats by the recipient to disclose the image
      • Sexual solicitation of a young teen by an older teen
      • Abusive acquisition of an image with intent to widely distribute
  • Revenge porn
    • Homemade porn uploaded by an ex girlfriend or boyfriend after a particularly vicious break up as means of humiliation or for own amusement
    • Affects both adults and teens
  • Cyberbullying sexting
    • The objective of a group or individual bully is to trick an intended target into providing an image that is then sent to others or used as blackmail
  • Malicious dissemination either after a relationship break up or in the context of cyberbullying cause the most emotional harm
  • Girls are more likely than boys to be pressured into providing images and are more at risk of having images spread resulting in a damaging of their reputation
  • Techno-panic is the heightened levels of concern expressed by an adult in relation to youths and their use of the internet and other digital media
  • An overwhelmingly majority of situations could more appropriately be characterised as sexual harassment by teens, young adults or possibly teens pretending to be young adults
  • A study shows that 1 in 7 children will be solicited for sex in a year
    • The growth in the internet has regrettably resulted in an increase of predators using the internet as a means of communicating with young victims
  • Child Pornography
    • Efforts are underway to criminalise sexting
    • Addressing concerns against child pornography or sexual exploitation of a minor
    • 24% of 14-17 year olds reported to have some involvement in sexting - have been told that they can be arrested for this behaviour
    • Raises issues of what is not classified as child pornography
    • In certain situations - the person receiving the images is arrested, not the person sending the images
    • Under federal laws, child pornography is any visual depiction that involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and any form of actual sex
    • If the image has not been produced under conditions of abuse or coercion of the minor depicted, it is not child pornography
    • Uneasy about child pornography laws because
      • Youths who are sexually abused and photographed will be more afraid to report it because they would be charged as accomplices
      • Youths who provided an image on impulse can be easily blackmailed and threatened
      • Youths who are faced with the no-win situation of public humiliation, arrest and prosecution may consider suicide as a viable option
    • Therefore it is essential that state legislatures and law enforcement recognise that if they criminalise self-creation, they are placing minors at a higher risk of sexual abuse
      • Consensual sexting behaviour that falls within normative development behaviour should be addressed with educational means and counselling not with criminalisation
      • It is necessary to adress the true harm caused by sexting through criminalisation - actions that violate the trust of the teen depicted
      • For the teen whose self-creation has crossed the line from normative developmental behaviour to self-exploitation, if there are criminal statutory provisions such as teen prostitution that the teen is placed in a remediation treatment program that will adress the dangerous behaviour
  • Young adults who have turned 18 and can now think like adults, receive or send nude images to a minor can be faced with a felony arrest and registered as a sex offender
    • Many social environments where the 18 year old socialises with a minor
    • Therefore, an effective legislation solution includes a safe harbour exception for all sex crime laws that relate to sexting behaviour where there is an age differentialisation of 3-4 years in most states
  • In situations where an image is disseminated - Invasion of Privacy laws have been put in place
  • False light image
    • Prohibits making virtual child pornography
    • Increases the appetites of pedophiles and encourages them to engage in illegal conduct
    • Do not addresses the situation where one imposes the face of a minor onto a semi-nude or nude body
      • Places the minor in a false light
    • The harm is grounded in the misinterpretation of the person depicted as engaging in behaviour that is not what he or she has or would do that damages the persons reputation
  • Registration as a sex offender have raised concerns about the effectiveness of this list
    • Majority of the offenders who abuse children and teens are relatives
    • No teen or young adult should be required to register as a sex offender unless their actions are truly egregious and clearly demonstrate risk of that they may engage in sexual abuse in the future
  • On campus, school officials have the authority and responsibility to respond to any harmful or inappropriate speech
  • Off camus, school officials have the authority to formally respond to a situation that could create substantial disruption at school or interfere with the rights of the student
    • When situation have the ability to create bullying or harassment - school officials have the authority to impose discipline for off campus sexting
  • School officials clearly have the responsibility to respond if a hostile environment has been created
  • In 1985, a balance between privacy rights and schools ability to maintain order was revised
    • 2 questions had to be asked, whether the action was justified in the beginning and whether the extent of the search conduct was reasonably related to a circumstance
    • To search records on a students digital device, a school official must have a reasonable suspicion that the records would reveal that a law on school policy was violated - and that the search would return results
  • Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) are a group of professionals wh work together in a coordinated and collaborative manner to ensure effective reponse to reports of child abuse and neglect
  • Proper legislative laws need to be put in place to protect abused youths and draw the line between offence and stupidity in youths
  • Incident intervention recommended for each situation
    • Developmentally normative activities
      • Handled primarily through education and counselling
      • Implement mild level of restorative justice in school disciplines for students
    • Malicious activites
      • Implement restorative justice in school disciplines for students
      • Implement juvenile court review of circumstances
    • At-Risk Behaviour
      • School discipline only appropriate if harassment occurs
      • Implement juvenile court review of circumstances
    • Significantly harmful behaviour
      • Implement juvenille court review of circumstances
    • Young adult students
      • The MDTs should advise against an overreaction
      • Encouragement of lower level criminal charges and the result of required registration as an official sex offender
    • To prevent sexual harassment
      • Articulate a plan to stop anticipates sexual harassment
      • Implement a plan to provide emotional support

Tutorial Discussants:

  1. Children have the freedom of expression to seek and receive information from various types of media, such as print and art etc. What are the consequences of this? Does it potentially lead to children being more 'aware' of harmful things? (sexting)
  2. Ethical context comes into play with this issue of 'sexting, culture, politics and the law.' What are the ethical implications of sexting?
  3. How does sexual education affect young people?
  1. Q: What implications does mobile technology/communication have on the social functions of the youth in todays society?
  2. Q: How is todays' youth cultures affected by Facebook as a form of essential technology used for networking and friendship?
  3. Q: Do modern day technologies such as mobile phones and the internet force individuals to deal with an excessive amount of communication, thus affecting their social relationships/dynamics in a negative way?
  4. Q: Would a higher level of discipline exist for individuals (i.e. young adults at school) if internet devices such as Facebook and mobile phone messaging didn't exist?
  5. Q: Are an individuals obsession with checking their Facebook/twitter accounts and text messages classified as a type of unhealthy addiction?
1. Do you think there are major influences affecting upon the increasing levels of sexting amongst teenagers? Such as the media?
2. The age range of people sexting cannot be revealed to a precise amount, but it is undoubtful to say that it is constantly becoming a broader method of expressing their emotions and feelings towards an opponent. However since it has become rather casual for such acts between relationships, more social media are reporting on this matter causing discomfort to parts of our community. Sexting is done mostly amongst private conversations between 2 people, and detailed information about the text is most likely unrevealed to others. For reasons like so, if the media does not report on this matter, the community will be less aware and concerned of the matter. From this point, do you think that the media must report on this matter to create ways to manage this or do you think it doesn't necessarily have to be reported because it's between a relationship without themselves involved?
3. Do you think, because of the reports on sexting, people have become more aware of it and in fact caused the increase in numbers of people sexting?
With 11% of young teen girls admitting to sexting before, how would we appropriately and effectively educate young Australians about issues and implications of sexting if it is such a controversial and incidental form of media?

Should social media sites such as Tumblr, Facebook and other similar sites with photo posting or blogging be more responsible for what is posted? They say they are strict on nudity and explicit images but they don't seem to be following up on this statement?

Are Social networking sites detrimental to sexting? Pages such as 'naked selfies' exist, would you agree that pages such as this leads to redistributed material made public without prior consent? Why do they get away with publishing these images?

Is it fair to say that the sexualisation of youth through the media leads to increased numbers of nude photos and sexting on a whole? Or are there more predominant factors?
-Do you think the reason why teenagers are engaged in sexting is mainly from the access of social media? or peer pressure?

-In a what way could we manage and filter sexting out from a wide range of media? Do you think it is possible to manage it even though the law for sexting and social media are "lagging" behind in terms of technology and modern communication system?

-Do you think social media actually allowed others to easily share information and send photos and affect one's private life? Do you think it results only negative consequences?


  • There is a disjuncture between culture of youth and culture of regulation.
  • Social media platforms mean you can receive something you don't necessarily want.
  • "Revenge porn" websites, where self made pornography of exes are encouraged to be submitted to the public view.
  • If uploading nude photos (not necessarily of underage individuals) were made illegal, on what grounds would someone be charged? Privacy, defamation, harassment, consent?
  • What would be the implications of the decriminalisation of minors taking/sharing nude photos of themselves and how would it be policed?
  • Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus (and her Vanity Fair debacle) who are sexualised early in their careers
  • This form of child pornography as cyber bullying. It involves peer pressure and power imbalances in relationships.
  • Responses to sexting are gendered. Ideas of women's sexuality as something to defend have made the exposure of their bodies shameful, where as men just get compliments.
This week's tutoriual we focused on 'sexting', what it is and the implications surrounding it.
We came to find that there seems to be a disjunction and the regulators of this 'child pornogrphy' as one can be charged for creating child pornogrphy if they are under the age of 18 and taking naked photographs of themselves, but the laws do not take into account that there is no malicious intent when these photos are being taken. On the other hand, when a person forwards the images that falls under 'distributing child pornogrpahy' and although there is malicious intent, I don't belivwe that the repercussions should be so harsh as, with underage persons, it is more an act of harrassment or bullying and, in my opinion and that of others in the class, shouldnt warrant a name being put on the sex offenders register. These rammafications are enormous and most underage people do not understand these, so we discussed the idea of whether they should alter the laws to accomodate for these extreme punishments that usually dont warrant it and instead of such a harsh punishment, there is more education offered, in a way that they do for repeat drink drivers.
So is criminalising these acts ineffective? That was the debate we had in class, as mentioned previously, devised some alternative reactions to young people who unfortunately end up in these circumstances.
We spoke for a while on celebritie and whether or not they promote this 'sexting' and sexualisation at such a young age. When celebrities naked photos surface, there is not so much negativity surrounding the incident and instead it become the norm; there is littler 'shock' effect when one hears about a celebrities nudes being released, so this could indirectly influence young people to do the same in hope to recieve positive attention from those of the opposite sex.
One of the final topics we touched on was that of children having rights, but also they need to be protected, as the law shows. In the UN Rights of the Child, children do have the right to freedom of expression (eg taking photos of themselves) but laws surrounding children are trying to 'protect them' when in actual fact they could be punishing them for their expression, which is a right anyway? We concluded that laws need to catch up with the times, but it is difficult to determine what to punish and how as this is no black and white area.
In todays tutorial we focuses on the disconnect between the laws and sexting in regards to youth.

Points raised:
Sexting is a criminal matter and often teens get penalised unfairly under the current laws such as being put on sex offender lists.
Teens believe sexting to be just part of being a young person
Sexting is often integrated with social media
Sexting can be unwanted, such as receiving a photo through social media that you didn't want
Through social media sexual pictures that were supposed to be private can go publicly viral
Sexting can be used for malicious reasons such as revenge on an ex-partner
As lots of aspects of a teens life is online its natural that parts of their sexuality is expressed through this medium as well

We also discussed how under the current laws society is are even criminalising young people for taking photos of themselves and putting them on social media sites such as Facebook or other websites. More often than not teenagers don't fully understand the ramifications of what they are doing in regards to sexting, and child pornography laws.

We also discussed the gap between teenagers legally being able to be sexually active at 16, and the legalities in regards to pornography which states any sexual images taken of people under the age of 18 is considered child pornography. As well as young celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens taking nude and sexually provocative pictures almost as a way of promoting it.
In this weeks tutorial we discussed the laws between sexting in relation to children and child pornography.
The points raised covered issues surrounding:
  • Laws that are lagging behind the changing technology and the way it affects todays youth.
  • the repurcussions (often unknown) that occur when this activity takes place.
  • That the laws don't take into account the context in which sexting occurs.
  • Privacy and harassment laws and the issues surrounding them.

We also discussed the availabilty and ease at which images can be sent from person to person. Teenagers in this day are easily able to spread information very quickly among their peers, through facebook, email, text... They have access to more information and technology than other generations, and are feeling the effects of this.

Are celebrities aiding in the process of changing the laws surroundin gsuch issues by highlighting their importance to change, or are they serving as role models to younger teens, even when their actions are harmful and not appropriate for children, as in the case of Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus? Are todays youth given too much information surrounding sexuality, and too aware of harmful things that may lead to sexting?

Privacy and harassment issues also came up a lot in the tutorial, with controversy surround sites such as 'Revenge Porn'. These sites which have videos or images of people over 18 are not child pornography, however the grounds on which someone would be charged for posting onthis site are still uncertain. The laws surrounding these issues are not clear enough and possibly not strict enough, however the laws surrounding child pornography may be too stric in certain cases. Where is the line?

End of Lecture 9 List ***

Lecture 8 - Internet Cultures - Guest lecturer Professor Gerard Goggin

Lecture Notes:

Tina Giannoulis
This week's lecture focused on Internet cultures and mobility's effect on the rapid rise of the digital age, as well how it has affected different areas of the world and our lives.
In something of a mash up of several ARTS1090 lectures, Professor Goggin went over the history of the internet, how it began and how Australia first became involved. Being the product of several universities trying to link their computers, there was an early importance placed on academia, with a ban on online commerce and domain names being a matter of speaking to one man in Melbourne. He went on to speak about how the internet has mushroomed since its inception as well as how rapid improvements in technology have lead to mobility.
Mobility, in turn, has changed the way we interact with our devices, the apps we use and how these interacts with our real lives. A big part of this is locative media which uses location services to supplement your activity. Examples of locative media are apps such as Foursquare, Facebook and camera phones which integrate the information it collects from the phone for the details of your photos.
Once the lecture slides are up, be sure to download them and have a look at the infographics on the amount of wired vs mobile internet users in Australia and developing countries as well as a number of recommended resources Professor Goggin included.
Claire Fuller
In this weeks lecture we spoke about internet cultures, the way the internet has changed over time and how we manipulate the internet for our personal use, and also the issues that arise with ther intorduction of new technology.
The lecture began with the history of the internet and how it has evolved to become what it is this present day. In the 70s ans 80s not everyone had a computer so very few people were familiar with tyhe internet and its uses, in the 90s it became a reality. There were the .com rivals with companies taking names that would be more suited to other organisations and the idea of harnessing the internet for business and prfit through marketing and advertising became a core function of the internet. As we move in the the 2000s other things have become possible through the internet such as smart phones and the use of location introducting the 'death of distance' and allowing anonimity.
Thye lecturer alsao spoke about the introduction of wifi and how it brought together the internet and modern mobile phones and now the majority of the world are connected, although in differnt way, he even mentioned how low income earners are still abnle to afford smartphones and phone bills. This highlighted the dependance modern society has on the internet and the technology we invent to mediate it.
This first half of the lecture just kept reminding me of topics we covered last semester in arts1090, particularly mobility, which was one subject I felt like I could connect to, due to my sad reliance on my iphone. The areas we covered were touched on in this lecture such as the fact that GPS and locations have been added to our mobiles requries an introduction of new rules and laws and cautions. The lecturer also spoke briefly about Facebook and how it is accessible across multiple platforms and how it is sort of like the older phone books or even telegram directories. From my own knowledge I can say that with the new hyped up iphone 5, one of the key selling points is that this phone will be directly tied in with Facebook. This makes this new mobile dependant on the internet, more specifically social media for users to gain the whole experience.
The second half of the lecture concerntrated mainly on regulation of the internet as with these new pages and additions, new means of moderating need to be implemented.
The lecturer asked the question who is responsible for the regualtion of the internet? He saids that the issue lies with the state to provide access to the intenet, but self-regualtion must be implemented to govern what each single person looks at. He also said that is the is the responsiblity of certain industries to regualte themselves on the internet. As there is a great deal of 'offensive' content widely available on the web the governement introduced the idea of a blacklist wehere certain websites would be bloked, but this caused an uproar as people were not able to see what had been blocked and may not agree with it; each person has a different opinion. Now internet providers offer customers the choice to block certain sites from being accessible from thier computers before purchase, the option of filters with passwords is also available.
The issue of intellectual property and freedom of speech over the internet was also touched on as it is difficult to regualte what is posted over the internet. In Australia we have a relatively free press with multiple voice heard from all over the world telling both national and internation stories. The lecturer said that it provides a 'news diversity' and we are able to access a wide range of information. From my own research, Saudi Arabia belive in complete censorship of everything that the monarchy does not agree with and have even gone so far as to regualte the internet and only allow access to local news that never sheds a bad light on their own home country. Journalists have been held and punshied for 'offensive' stories tey have written in Saudi as they have very strict laws against it. This leads to an unfair press and uninformed public. As for intellectual property, new rules have to ber brought in to esure the safety and protection for people personally and for their work. This is difficult as the internet is always changing and people are finding new ways to get around things. The idea of computer hackers came to mind when I thought about the fact that people are about to access and post files that are meant to be protected with the utmost security, such as information found on wikileaks, some is taken from the FBI and major corporations.
Finally, we ewre told about apps and the 'appification' of the internet. With apps readily available on mobiles people have instant access to whatever they are searching for. But os causes issues such as where is it going rather than how is this public space changing? The decentralisation of the internet is also a major concern.

Reading Notes:

Weatherall K, 'The new (old) war on copyright infringement, and how context is opening new regulatory possibilities'

Industries and government bodies concerned with copyright in recent years have been targeting 'rogue websites' which are websites that are involved with piracy, intellectual property infringement or counterfeit goods. They are addressing this problem through intermediaries which are the companies that provide the platforms for these websites. Pressure on governments to stop copyright infringement and stop rogue websites resulted in anti-piracy/copyright infringement acts such as SOPA which would interfere with the internets basic framework

SOPA- Stop Online Piracy Act (USA)
  • Abandoned in early 2012 due to large protests which included website blackouts
  • Aims to stop rogue websites.
  • Supported by congress
  • Directed at two kinds of websites
  1. 'foreign infringing sites' ie sites used and aimed at Americans but can't be prosecuted in US courts. Action against these sites was to require search engines such as google to remove them, credit card companies weren't to allow US transactions, and advertising services weren't to deal with them.
  2. sites that are 'dedicated to the the theft of US property' ie websites that primarily sold counterfeit goods, or goods/services that have a high probability of breaching copyright laws. Action against these sites was to include intermediaries such as advertising services and search engines no longer dealing with the site in question if the IP (intellectual property) owner contacts them. If the intermediaries don't comply and cease dealings then the IP owner has the legal rights to serve them with an injunction.
  • Under the SOPA act immunity is given to any actions taken under the act. For example if an intermediary stopped providing services to a website if they believe that they are infringing copyright then the owner can't take legal action against them.
  • Under this act intermediaries can take these actions without the copyright owners proving allegations in court.

Why the focus on intermediary libability in recent times?
In the 1990's governments tended to have a 'hands-off' approach to the internet, as they wanted to protect and develop it. In this time governments were excited about it's potential economic benefits and protected intermediaries. In recent times this attitude has shifted as governments are treating the internet as part of it's domain to be controlled. The question of 'should internet intermediaries be held liable for the material posted by their customers?' wasn't properly addressed until the 2000's as in the late 1990's concern was less about the intermediaries and more about individual infringers such as file sharing sites like Napster. This shift is believed to be due to the following reasons amongst others:
  • Interests of intermediaries ie. Telestra sells music & movies
  • Filtering and other technologies have proven to be effective. ie filtering has already been tested in the CleanFeed in the UK to filter child pornography sites.
  • Lobbying. ie. Large industries like the entertainment industry have a vested interest in governments clamping down on copyright infringement with the rise of illegally downloaded content.

'Digital Economy'
The relationship between governments and intermediaries has shifted in recent times. Governments are treating the internet just as another communications medium to be regulated, and as the internet has developed over the last decade or so they no longer have the 1990's attitude of treating the internet as something new and fragile. The attitude shift towards copyright laws and government regulation is not complete however which is shown by the way the SOPA act faced massive protests and was stopped.

Governments are struggling between the rights to free speech, and enforcing copyright and anti-hate speech laws.
Type your Reading Notes here:

Tutorial Discussants:

Regulation of the Internet.
  • Do you feel the internet should be regulated?
  • If so, should this be regulated by government bodies? Or the media?
  • Should there be restrictions on who can create content on the internet?
  • Generally, we see the negatives associated with the possibility of a censored internet, what do you think are some of the positives if the internet were to be censored?

Mobility and the Internet.
  • Do you use GPS functions?
  • How do you feel about these location-based functions pairing with social media? eg. Checking in on Facebook. What implications do you think this has socially and in terms of privacy?

Digital Economy.
  • Do you feel the government utilizes the internet as much as it could?
  • Do you think they should be communicating with citizens over the internet?
  • Would you vote over the internet?
  • Is there anything you wouldn't buy over the internet?

Media and the Internet.
  • Do you trust the media you read over the internet?
  • What impact do you think money and influence have over the flow of power online? Do you think it is less or more prevalent?
  • Mobile media has become increasingly popular over the last few years. However, our media laws still remain outdated, where mobile phones are not well covered by the law. What implications could arise from this?

  • The internet is no longer anonymous, special location based data and other services can now be stored and tracked. What impact do locative media such as foursquare, facebook check ins and google earth/maps have on us and our society? Are there any negatives associated with geo-locative media?

  • According to Goggin, one third of the world’s population are online, making the internet one of the most powerful media platforms. How does the introduction of mobile media increase our access to the internet and what does this mean for convergence? Are our other media platforms suffering?

  • The internet introduced a new form of press freedom and freedom of speech, almost anyone can create a blog or go on Wikipedia and upload any source of information. What does this mean for regulatory systems? Should the internet be regulated? Do you trust the information you receive online?
- How does the history of the Internet's development affect the way it is incorporated within the present day media?

- What are the social implications of the internet?

- What are the advantages of the Internet becoming 'mobile'?

- What are the issues associated with the internet being our main source of media? (Internet doesn't have a location, anonymity, communicating from a distance, location more prominent and known now).

- What are the issues surrounding the decentralisation of the internet?
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:
In this week's tutorial, we reflected on Professor Goggin's insights about the internet, focusing primarily on the regulation of this growing media field. We began our discussion by touching on the concept of the "applification" of the internet, referring to the idea that nowadays, we are always on the internet due to apps on our mobile phones, instead of having to log onto the internet at our discretion. We then moved onto questions of internet regulation, specifically in terms of SOPA and PIPA. Through this discussion, we came to consider who is or should be responsible for regulation of the media, and how far this regulation should reach. Our final questions, which necessarily remain unanswered, are: should the internet be regulated? And, can this be done in a democratic way? At this point in time, governmental, corporate, and social forces are trying to find answers to these questions, but no real solution has yet been reached.
This week we spoke about the history of the Internet and the shift in the regulatory approaches that governments have adopted in dealing with the Internet.
I think it was generally agreed among the group that the history of the Internet does not have have much significance for the contemporary web, except in analysing the policy approaches towards the net. Attempts to regulate the Internet face problems of enforcement as the contemporary web is decentralised and continuously modified and regenerated throughout multiple jurisdictions.
We spoke about the commercialisation of the Internet and touched on the concept of net neutrality, specifically how Google has softened its approach to net neutrality and the effect this has on our ability to access the information that we are really looking for.
The shift in attitudes towards the Internet is exemplified when observing the history of Internet regulation, whereas formerly governments aimed to protect the Internet, they now aim to regulate and control the information it disseminates. An example of this is the impending Protect IP's legislation in America where the burden of responsibility in monitoring peoples online activity is placed upon the intermediaries who provide access to the Internet to their customers.
In this week tutorial we talked about the Internet and its regulations. The censorship has quite negative response of the society but if we use it to regulate the illegal practices it is beneficial. Also there was a question how democratically without violating the freedom of individual we can protect the authorship, intellectual property. Also there is a question how can we protect children from content that is inappropriate for their age when even the parental filter is not sufficient enough for the power of Internet.
The Internet is worldwide and can be reached from almost everywhere in the world. Nowadays the internet connection is treated like water or electricity in the modern households. The potential of the information is huge, without borders since we can easily access all the website from every country. There is a problem of regulating its content which is far more spread beyond power of a single country’s jurisdiction. There were some legal documents like Stop Internet Policy Act that were supposed to protect copyright yet it did not worked well and was abandoned.
We also talked that the internet connection is extremely accessible and more “mobile”. That limits the potential of any law to regulate since not only computers are involved in the use of internet but smartphones, tabloids, e-books. Every new technology that is released with connection to the internet which makes it far more unattainable.
In Mondays tutorial we discussed the place of Internet in our society starting with whether or not the history of the Internet was a relevant study. Some argued that because the Internet is constantly changing and never stagnate its history is too detailed to be relevant. Others said the internet’s history is relevant because it demonstrates through its previous localization to university and government use to mass use in only a couple of decades why there are such policy failures surrounding the regulation of the internet.

Applification of the internet was also discussed and how internet users are always logged on and online now as compared to a previous decades where engaging with the internet was an activity that only lasted a couple of hours and then the users logged off. The obvious cause of this is the mobility of the Internet and how its use has permeated a lot of our everyday activities including driving, shopping, entertainment and communication.

Decentralization especially in relation to SOPA, PIPA and Protect IP were also debated.
SOPA was discussed as being a failure because it cannot police and apprehend offshore sites and thus enforcement is only available in the way of cutting funding to the offshore sites via advertisement embargo laws.
We then watched a video called Protect IP Act Breaks the Internet. This video reinforced what was being discussed in class in that the Protect IP Act is believed by some to purely exist so that private companies can regulate against piracy especially outside American jurisdiction through cutting resources. The video expressed that if this was to happen new sites to the Internet could be crushed if they are regulating poorly. Ultimately this act would lead to Big Business squashing competition and freedom of expression while at the same time increasing censorship.

Lastly we talked about the Internet in relation to Australia.
First was stated is that there is a tendency to celebrate the medium as a safe guard of freedom of speech, which is related to its anarchic nature, so regulation would impede this.
However some believed that this freedom of speech was already being harmed through the Internet now viewing the users as a consumer not a citizen, which can be seen in the lack of “Netneutrality”, where content and services should be neutral or objective with the information they provide. An example of this being compromised was that the Google search engine and how it places priority in searches to advertised sites.
Secondly it was discussed whether Australia’s Clean Feed or Black List would work in Australia. The debate was mainly around individual selection vs. blanketed coverage. In other words should people be allowed to regulate the sites that they are allowed to visit, so self-regulation or should there be a blanketed black list that blocks all people from the same sites regardless of their own input. This debate centered on child pornography and whether people could self-regulate against that.
Lastly the class agreed that in relation to the black list, the public should be aware of what websites are on the list as part of freedom of information, which has not occurred in countries such

Lecture 7 - Silence, Power, Catastrophe - Online Lecture by John Keane

Lecture Notes:

Amanda Seelig
In his lecture "Silence, power, catastrophe," Professor John Keane focuses on the institutionalization of silence in the world of megaprojects and catastrophe. He began his lecture by discussing the emergence of the megaproject, arguing that these megaprojects have resulted from systems of highly concentrated power whose footprints are without precedent. Most importantly, these megaprojects inevitably fail in one way or another, and Keane argues that the proximate cause of these failures is the privatization of power. Because of this privatization of power and the intermingling of corporations and politics within a media-saturated society, megaprojects bring about organized silence. Organized silence implemented by those in power threatens the tenets of democracy, and public noise is the only way to break the grip of arbitrary power. Keane's fundamental message in his lecture is that within this context, the 'early warning principle of communication' must come into play, serving as a means of damage prevention uniquely suited to this age of catastrophe.
SuHyun So
Type your lecture notes here:

Reading Notes:

Silence, Power, Catastrophe: New Reasons Why Media and Democracy Matter in the Early Years of the Twenty-First Century. John Keane
  • Media coverage of catalysis makes them seem more immediate, frequent and universal. Due to this exposure democracies find it hard to turn their backs on the media fixations on sudden disasters. How the states response is never straightforward and consistent, but always political.
Disasters at home.
  • This leads to democracies, and their containment of a means of public monitoring and opposition to power, enable individuals and groups to criticize the behavior of their government, businesses and NGOs when faced with unplanned disasters. For example the public outcries against the Bush administration’s incompetent handling of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, fuelled by the revelation that the chief of Federal Emergency Management Agency was a political appointee and not formally qualified for the job, are a poignant example.
  • Result is that democracies are unusually vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy. Leaders and governments are lambasted for not doing what they said they would do or their actions are too slow or at odds with acceptable standards of justice. This can fuel embittered resistance and lead to “democide if these cynicism and brute power are victorious.
Disasters abroad
  • If the government chooses to do nothing they are accused publicly of negligence and if they choose to act dispatching troops or NGOs they face criticism that they contributed to delays, confusion or loss of life.
  • Public acts of denial and violence, as suggested by Carl Schmitt, spawn breakdowns of law and order that can be repaired only by political means, which draw their strength ultimately from the deployment of violence.

Long-term disasters
  • Democracy is said to be heavy-footed, reactive, too dependent upon give-and-take procedures, and hence unable to galvanize effectively and to solve slow-fuse disasters. Most voters are interested mainly in lining their own pockets, so infecting democracies with myopia.
  • China however employs what Kishore Mahbubani describes as ‘smart power’. He states “The typical horizon in Washington hovers somewhere between the daily spin for the evening talk shows and the next election cycle. In Beijing the clear focus is on where China wants to be in fifty years in order to avoid a repetition of the two centuries of humiliation China experienced.
  • No account of the relationship between democracy and long-term catastrophes can be plausible unless it examines the disaster-prone effects of uncontested power. In practice power, which is unaccountable, can have crippling effects, especially in circumstances in which the powerful fall in love with their own judgments, as American psychologist Irving Janis labeled such behavior ‘groupthink’. A theory of democracy and disasters needs to extend this point, partly by drawing upon more recent examples of political decision and non-decisions protected by group thing e.g. the Afghanistan occupation.
  • These worldwide policy failures drive home the painful truth that power unchallenged by early warning systems is dangerous, because its vulnerability to groupthink makes it blind to its own dependence upon a universe of great complexity, dangerous unknowns and perilous unintended consequences.
  • The only known cure for this is free circulation of differing viewpoints, courageous conjectures, corrective judgments, checks and balances, the institutional humbling of power. That is why, when thinking through the subject of disasters, hubris is a problem for democracy- and why remedies for its malignant effects are constantly needed.
Keane highlights the significance of disasters and explores the ability of democratic systems to respond to them.

Democracies responses to disasters that are foreign are conflicted, considering they are open to criticism regardless of their response. If they choose to act they become open to the risks of being involved in a difficult situation, however, if they choose not to act they face accusations of negligence and inhumanity.

Keane posits that democracies are slow and ineffective when it comes to responding to disasters. This occurs from a combination of the medias inability to adequately cover long term disasters and the responsive nature of the democratic system.
The alternative that Keane provides is contemporary China and its employment of 'smart power' strategies.This involves using a top-down system of people who are capable and qualified to make decisions on behalf of a people in order to create and maintain social harmony and to better people. This obviously raises questions of unaccountable power and its obvious flaws.

Keane concludes that Australia has effectively avoided disaster thus far through luck, but it will surely strike us. He says that a healthy mix of scepticism, commitment to fair play and general resilience are the qualities that will enable us to effectively respond to disaster.
Type your reading notes here:

Tutorial Discussant:

Is it better for the public to be unaware of the possible danger of a mega project to keep the public from unnecessary worry and stress or is it better for journalists to speak up on every matter small or large in regards to a possible danger even if this causes public panic?

Do you think that silence is the cause of these catastrophes and if silence was avoided could these mega projects be run or conceived differently especially by the public and could they have a different outcome?

Is as Keane suggest, silence a sign of consent. Is silence in regards to these mega project catastrophes providing consent for it to go ahead?

Do you agree that human miscalculation, inadequate hedging, failed leader guidance, bad decision making and systematic lying by all parties involved in mega projects are the reasons for these catastrophes or are they inevitable no matter what guidance the project is under?

Is the early warning principle the way to stop these catastrophes from happening?
How does the "privatisation of power" effect the press and society?

Do you believe the public has a right to know about the risks posed by "mega projects"? Why/why not?

Would raising public awareness really help prevent disastrous situations? Would it be effective in some ways, but a hindrance or ineffective in others? How so?

Is there a need for balance in the reporting of these "mega projects"? Or does the inherent censorship in the determining of that 'balance' go against democratic and Liberal ideals? Would it be any different from the manufactured "silence" Keane describes?

How would the "early warning principle" be effective, and what are its limitations?
Is democracy too shortsighted? Is it even possible to improve its ability to foresee disasters and catastrophe?

Who is more to blame for the lack of accountability of megaprojects: the management and/or government for the privacy, or the media and/or people for lack of interest, awareness and activity?

Keane points out China as an example of a 'smart power' country capable of making wise decisions. Would a trade off between democracy and increased government control be a viable solution against disaster?

To what extent has journalism shied away from its role as a watchdog?

With catastrophes becoming more and more destructive, what roles must the government, media and society play?
Is humanity as a whole capable of responding to such global disasters that the government would otherwise refrain from divulging to the public?

Is it because of the lack of information being passed from the government to the public that these distasters occur?

Are megaprojects really effective in solving disasters?

Is it the media's job to seek out information on megaprojects or should the public be responsible for this?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:


  • The relationship between mega projects and silence - what type of press releases are chosen/what's left out in the media, for the public to view and access
  • The notion of silence and communication - whether individuals express their views, or keep silent, to play safe - and their reasons and implications in doing this
  • Those individuals that speak up for themselves, in relation to particular views, often don't get heard a lot/create a big issue, in society and from the media
  • Private, large corporations usually manage mega projects, thus is usually outside of public access - meaning that the general public doesn't have the power and authority to manage and control these specific projects
  • 'Silence, power and catastrophe' and 'mega projects' in relation to media - the public can potentially prepare for the risks associated with the dangers of mega projects if they are aware of the certain happenings (information about the mega project, effects and consequences of it etc) of mega projects - but debate on this as it possibly might be better for the public to be unaware of such things as it may cause stress and harm
  • Link to ethics - responsibility of individuals, in particular, managers of mega projects, to the general public and society, in working in an ethically responsible way and environment that takes into consideration the public's viewpoint

  • Mega projects: huge buildings, underground tunnels/railways etc which involve big companies and industries. Large scale Public projects that have costs of over $1 billion. Mega Projects can work within a silent world; meaning they are constructed within a private sector in which the public society are not involved with in discussing/deciding-- thus outside of the public view. Therefore, It is up to the private cooperations to manage these projects.
  • As a result of the silent world of mega projects-- public interest can often be abused and may influence their sense of democracy. The negative impact of mega projects can be felt when there is a catastrophe or a natural disaster that can reveal a project that may have been mismanaged. The process of privatisation removes the public from the ability to scrutinise these projects.
  • Q:Is it better for the public to be unaware of the possible danger of a mega project to keep the public from unnecessary worry and stress or is it better for journalists to speak up on every matter small or large in regards to a possible danger even if this causes public panic?
    • The public have a right to know what is going on in order to prepare for possible risks or in order to avoid the process of negligent projects beginning
    • even if an issue was brought up, we rely on society to do something about the issue-- however individuals in society at times don't have the necessary power to control these projects
    • the managers of mega projects have an ethical responsibility for the public and in turn must provide them with information about their project which would satisfy the ethical standards of society
  • Q:is there a need for balance in the reporting of these "mega projects"? Or does the inherent censorship in the determining of that 'balance' go against democratic and liberal ideals Would it be any different from the manufactured "silence" Keane describes?
    • There may be a need for balance in order to remain as a liberal democratic society-- meaning the information that is reported should have enough interest generated because it is interesting and important enough and it could directly effect society (in regards to relating to the effects/risks of the mega project). However, information which causes great catastrophe such as reporting on information about an extremely rare/unlikely risk that may occur as a result of the project could be held back in order to avoid huge conflict between society members, the media and these private sectors.
The overall discussion throughout today's tutorial was on the relationship between megaproject, silence and catastrophe.
  • Silence is linked to megaproject
    • What should the press releases include in their reports
  • What is a megaproject?
    • They are major projects that are under investment
    • For example, mining industries and so on
  • Would it be better to be aware of these megaprojects or is it better to be unaware?
    • By taking the recent local vote elections as an example, we understand that the majority of the people involved in the election and are to vote were ignorant and careless of who to vote for and if so, why. They just want things to be over and done with.
    • Individuals today, are more likely relying on the society to take action about issues occurring in their surrounding environment.
    • However, people have the right to know and be aware of the running megaprojects. The megaprojects aren't all positively influencing the environment. A complementing example for this was Fukushima (discussed in class). It is considered one of the negatively impacted megaprojects that has caused a catastophe. As office workers and built environment workers were unaware and uneducated about the evacuation procedures, many on land workers were harmed with years of damage that followed on.
    • We have also watched the gasland video online during class. It well presents an example of a megaproject where extraction of gas caused gas coming out of taps of households, and causing physical harm to the people's health. These people too, were unaware of the megaproject and were exposed to the infected water.
  • As a class, we agreed that, by not reporting; as in, going into silence; the more catastrophes may occur to the community and population. People have the right and should be well educated and aware of the works going around them.
Today we overlooked the previous online lecture by Keane on Silence, Power and catastrophe.
- A megaproject is a billion dollar investment which is large scale and is a public project which requires planning and management due to the implications which may unfold.
- The debate of whether a public project should be privatised, or is it better to be publicly developed?
- We talked about the organisation of silence, and whether these megaprojects should be made completely public, selectively revealed or completely hidden to the public, and we talked about each implication these circumstances would bring, whether that be outrage, media broadcast, public contribution etc.
- Discussed what the press releases would or should consist of to ensure the public are satisfied, links to the 'organisation of silence'
To what extent should this silence exist, if at all?
- Examples of megaprojects in Australia: Mining sites, desalination plants, highways, north-west rail link etc.
- What is made public, when are press releases timed, what should be up for public debate, what is considered important by which the public should be notified?
- It was agreed upon that the private companies should manage inevitable outcomes, prepare for the worst even if such idea is not projected.
- Example in Fukushima, where office workers and building inhabitants failed to evacuate from the catastrophe which happened there, due to the fact they didn't know how, or weren't educated about evacuation procedures. Such a small task could have impacted the outcome.
In today’s tutorial, we discussed about the relationship between mega project, silence and catastrophe.
  • Mega project indicates an idea of public projects that many large companies and industries are involved in. Example of mega project is mining industry. Most of mining places are public land that government controls(power). This means that most of public doesn't know how private companies control the land and how they decide to extract. Another example is privatization of airport station and Gas Land(the clip that we watched).
  • Some of the events could be caused by natural disasters but later it can reveal the mega project.
  • Negative aspect of mega project is catastrophe. One of the examples is that President Bush in USA appointed his friend as a leader of Federal Emergency group in USA. As a result, when there was Hurricane Katrina, the leader could not effectively solve the problem because he was not a qualified person for the group. This created a catastrophe.
  • There are bullying in large companies which indicates an idea of silence. There is no space for whistle blowers in large corporations. Now people have got a responsibility to be a whistle blower if the person above you doesn’t do or say something.

Lecture 6: Democracy in the Digital Age

Lecture Notes:

Lecture 6 – Democracy in the digital age

In this week’s lecture, the focus was on: investigative journalism (public interest journalism), the ways in which new media (particularly the Internet) have an impact on how we do journalism and the nature and role of WikiLeaks.

Investigative Journalism
  • The industry being in crisis as it needs to negotiate: in sustaining its profit, service profit (by providing journalism that improves the community etc), ethical standards (good quality journalism) and also be competitive in market conditions
  • In today's society, people have moved online (where they are able to access free information) hence, the journalism industry is declining (known as the Business Model Failure)
  • Hence, they are looking for ways to gain public interest, and make them pay for certain types of news content (complex, interactive) that the audience is already used to, from online media sources
  • In relation to the Business Model Failure, there has also been a numerous loss of jobs aswell as advertising loss
  • Also due to the fact that investigative journalism is seen as expensive, and not interesting enough (e.g. newspapers), especially to young audiences, it is potentially in decline

Role of Internet - WikiLeaks
  • Julian Assange - from a hacker (finding ways to expose corruption) to 'editor in chief' of WikiLeaks
  • WikiLeaks defines themselves as a media organsisation, focused in publishing news stories - however, important to note that not everyone agrees with this definition, as WikiLeaks tends to operate in a different way to other news organisations
  • Response from others: "A terrorist organisation." (US Politicians) and "Whistle blowing website" (Bacon 2011)
  • How it operates: providing security anonymous drop box, analysing material, which is then verified by journalists who write stories based on this material (hence they publish the actual story, and the original material, including such things as interview and research material)
  • Notion of harm minimisation, which refers to WikiLeaks analysing the documents it receives, and making a judgement on whether or not to include certain information (such as people's names) or to omit certain information, disallowing the public to read specific things
  • Stories they have dealt with: issues related to war, government, corruption, finance etc
  • WikiLeaks needs to maintain a relationship with mainstream media, as many people prefer to gain their news information via online, as it is convenient, fast and free

Public Right To Know
  • The notion of whether or not we have the right to know about certain private information/activities undertaken by the government (related to concept of freedom of information)
  • It can potentially allow the public to have a broader insight into certain things e.g. information gained, in order to vote for certain politicians, but it can also have the opposite effect

Asymmetrical Journalism
  • By publishing raw material, it can expose potential risk
  • Doesn't attempt to remove bias
  • Offers no rights of reply

The WikiLeaks Effect
  • Changed the view of journalism, politics and international affairs
  • Brought radical transparency to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • It introduced a more collaborative media model
  • Creates a lot of tension (particularly in the government level)
  • They tried to collaborate with mainstream media
Type your lecture notes here:

Reading Notes:

Errington, W & Miragliotta, N 2011, Media & Politics: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
Chapter Four: 'The news media in action', pp. 57-78

Australian journalism: From trade to profession

Journalism's and/or Journalist's early years:
  • average were lowly paid
  • had poor working conditions
  • in 1890s, they often worked 15 hours for little money (Mayer 1964, p. 193)
  • had little judgement on what to write and how they approach set tasks (Schultz 2002, p. 113)
  • low prestiged career
  • regarded as a trade (Hamiltion 1999)
  • 1911
    • Australian Journalists Association (AJA) was formed
      • significant in improving working conditions and changing conceptions
      • improved wages and conditions of employment
  • 1940s
    • Code of Ethic was formed
  • 1970s and 1980s (Schultz 1999)
    • more journalists with tertiary qualifications
    • growth in journalism degree courses in universities
    • journalists demanded for independence
    • media organisations began to change from small owner-operator concerns to large-scale media corporations
    • demand for charters and editorial independence from proprietors

Regulation of Australian journalists: Self-regulation or bust

Code of Ethics

  • formed in 1944 by AJA (now known as Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance; MEAA)
    • MEAA
      • formed in 1992
      • union and professional organisation
      • covers everyone in media, entertainment, sports and arts industries
      • 36 000 members all committing to:
        • honesty
        • fairness
        • independence
        • respect for the rights of others
  • tries to balance the concerns of those who reject the idea of government regulation but believe that journalists should not be permitted to act with impunity
  • has 12 points or clauses
  • Weaknesses:
    • only applies to journalists that are members of the MEAA
    • inherently constrained by its form
    • language is vague, causing journalists to interpret accordingly
    • because it's police by a private body, the range of penalties that can be applied is constrained

Constraints on journalists

Committee to Protect Journalists

  • independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to the global defence of press freedom
  • says that since 1992, 850 journalists have been killed
    • 28% while reporting in combat/non-combat zone
    • 72% by murder - 44% covered political matters and 29% covered corruption

The Legal Context

  • Australia's Right to Know Coalition (ARTK)
    • formed in 2007
    • addresses the industry's concerns about free speech
'Who wouldn't shout with the stakes so high' SMH 2011 Assange Article

Freedom of speech, does everyone have the right to know, what should be made public or concealed.
Assange writing about the fact where 'politics should not control information absolutely'
copies were made of the cables for safekeeping in regards to the Pentagon's approach to Assange because of the surveillance and agression which was thrust upon him. Julian sought a signed letter from the Guardian's head editor Alan Rusbridger 'guaranteeing the material would remain confidential' as well as the prevention of storing the information digitally to ensure it remained secure and excluded from press.

Assange to reveal information through an agreement with the various press involved, the Guardian as such;
This information was highly important to withold and prepare for wide release, yet The Guardian struggled to maintain their side of the agreement with the New York Time receiving access to the information, and The Guardian were just keen to publish for their audience. Assange confronted the senior panel about the issue leading to long confrontational discussion which concluded the importance of concealing the information until preperation could be completed for the widespead knowledge which was to be released. The Guardian had no right to go beyond Asange's agreement whilst the cables were still needing to become secure and prepared for any backlash upon release.They didn't go ahead with any article until it was agreed to do so, although the Guardian did get an investigative journalist to make 'a dirty attack' on Assange.

Had the information been released, WikiLeaks would have gotten themselves into trouble as other corporations would take hold of this information.
Assange 2011 SMH NR

Headline: "Who wouldn't shout with the stakes so high?"
Publication Date: 15 October 2011

A story/article, that is written by Julian Assange** who is the founder of Wikileaks, is about unravelling of the tense relationship between Assange and two of the world's leading newspaper publishers.

Due to surveillance and the aggressive attitude of the Pentagon towards Assange, he often made copies of the diplomatic cables to ensure their safekeeping. He was not ready to work with the New York Times because they had shown themselves "cowards" and he was not happy with how things had developed with The Guardian.

Assange asked for a signed letter from The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, guaranteeing the material would be kept confidential, that nothing to be published until Wikileaks was ready to go, and that the information would not be stored on a computer that was connected to the internet or any network. Rusbridger agreed and Wikileaks signed the letter. In return, Assange sent an encrypted disk with a password and they had the material. The Guardian and Wikileaks were keeping in touch about the future plan.

However, a man who worked for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suddenly told his colleagues he wouldn't "appear on stage with rapist". This was unlike other investigative journalists who know how they have to be cautious and alarmed not to tell others.

Two of the media partners began to behave as if Wikileaks represented a moral risk. The content of the material and a passion to reveal it had not changed, but false allegations had been made against Wikileaks.

The Guardian started to harass Assange for publication of the material to keep his exclusivity against his rival journalist. They also made a copy for the New York Times and don't regard for any of the important issues after the material gets published. Assange described them as they behaved "cravenly and lawlessly, dumping the whole thing on our heads without warning."

The Guardian wanted to publish the material right away, but the truth is Wikileaks was not ready to go. Assange described that the media partners regard them as "a bunch of weird hackers and sexual delinquents."

Wikileaks also showed its implication that they can give the entire cache of the material to the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and News Corp if its media partners do not show respect.

Later, Assange found that The Guardian had been ready to make Wikileaks in a big trouble. It was even working with The New York Times and publish without giving any chance to prepare Wikileaks' data.

Assange also added that when American right-wingers were calling for him to be killed, The Guardian didn't run a single article in his defense.

Tutorial Discussant:

Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
1. Are whistleblower websites, such as wikileaks, an appropriate means of connecting the public with private information from governments and large corporations?
2. Do you believe that Wikileaks is in fact, a 'media organisation producing journalism'? Are they following the correct ethics that apply to journalists?
3. Wikileaks posts some extremely private and disturbing material at times under 'the public right to know'. Do the public have a really right to see such personal things?
4. Is Wikileaks a new dawn of investigative journalism? Would the positive outcomes outweigh the negative?
5. Taking into consideration the amount of secrecy that has already been exposed by Wikileaks and the like, are governments actively misleading the public? Why would this be?
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:


Watched a video on Assange's public speech.
  • Discussed whether he is placing light on the US ad if they believe in freedom of speech and expression
  • Does the public have a right to know? Some people put forward the point that perhaps ignorance was ok, people got through it in the past and maybe theres a safety to this. The point that without this knowledge people could not make informed decisions was also brought up. It was argued that war times does not mean that you have to authority to treat people the way that you want, there is not right to be inhumane which many of the Wikileaks videos gives us the opportunity to see, and potentially stop.
  • Many US citizens along with the government do not like the idea of military secrets being exposed, and are against Wikileaks
  • Are the governments actively deceiving the public? Yes

Is Wikileaks a media organisation? Discussed the meaning of media organisation. Technically it could be considered a solely online media organisation, but is the fact that it is unregulated asymmetrical journalism make it considered not a media organisation?

Asymmetrical Journalism
  • doesn't follow the 'rules' set up by journalists
  • a blogosphere - so doesn't give the opportunity to respond, or hear the other side
  • the relationship between the blogosphere and traditional media - the idea that in the past Wikileaks has acted more responsibly not leaking the sources of their information, whilst the newspapers didn't take such care with their release, and the man has now been in jail for 2 years
  • Traditional media outlets have let us down, they have cut the budget for investigative journalism significantly

Other outlets for these controversial stories
  • Pro Publica - investigative news organisation, focusing on long term investigations. They strike relationships with traditional media outlets to produce the results of their investigations. They are solely run by philanthropists.
    • New Orleans in the Aftermath of Katrina Story - went through records and found several cases of police apprehending black people and torturing and killing them. The author was thrown in jail in an attempt to get the coroners reports and it took him 3 years to finalise the story.
  • Rocketboom - like a blog, stories of public interest
  • Anonymous - videos of the 7 day riots in California. A very worldwide concept, affording the power to release corruptions from wherever they live and whatever they know

Now that everyone has a camera, we have access to information that news organisations didn't traditionally provide access to.
Assange in Equador (Video watched in class):
  • Freedom of expression.
  • Was this a contemporary practice of liberalism?
  • Issue of governments witholding secret information on wars and other crimes.
  • Journalists as "servants of the public record."
  • Witch hunt against Wikileaks, war on whistleblowers - "... must end."
  • United States to promise that they will not persecute journalists for doing their job and releasing private information.
  • Had this happened when the war was over would there have been as much social upheaval?

  • Should Wikileaks be considered a media organisation? What is the meaning of 'media organisation'?
  • Should Wikileaks be protected?
  • The fact that anyone can go on that knows about any type of corruption and expose it - unregulated asymmetrical journalism.
  • Did Wikileaks have the right to release private government information?
  • If after a number of years this information is legally able to be released, why did they not wait, why did Wikileaks chose to release the information and suffer the consequences?
  • Does society have the right to know this information?
  • Issue of welfare and safety of people.
  • Everyone trusts governments in what they're doing for the people - these documents have the ability to break this trust, resulting in social upheaval.
  • These documents may be inconvenient for us to know yet the more we know the more we can stop illegal actions/unfair government treatment and involvement.

Both sides of the argument make genuine points.

Asymmetrical journalism - Doesn't really give a chance to respond and does not follow rules set up by journalists. Meant to refer to the blogosphere. About the relationship between the blogosphere or Wikileaks and traditional media. Traditional media organisations are letting us down - Assange's account not very flattering. Budget's are being cut on journalism as well as entry level positions, media now focusing more on sensationalised celebrity gossip than actual 'news'.

Open source journalism: Anyone can go on and release information. Significant context for thinking about the digital future of journalism and these types of open source journalism such as Wikileaks.

Pro Publica - Another example of asymmetrical journalism. Investigate news journalism that focuses on long term reports and investigative studies. They employ 18 journalists and primarily strike relationships with traditional tv news sources like Frontline (PBS service that current affair's show in the US), work with other news organisations to produce results, screen it and get it out to the public. Wealthy people donating their money for the public good/pay journalists to do long term work (Sandler Foundation funding).

Are governments actively misleading the public?

Anonymous - Anybody can be anonymous in any part of the world. Anonymous is the mask. GLobalising hackers. Looks at high levels of corruption all over the world, not only in specific countries and governments. Also looks at corruption in the corporate sector.

Rocketboom - Read news stories and other information and release videos online. Stories of public interest. Similar to a blog more than a news source. Don't describe what they do as journalism however get discussed as being journalists.
  • Are blogs media organisations?
  • meeting of latino foreign ministers to discuss the issues surrounding wikileaks
  • freedom of expression
  • supporting the government in their decisions
  • fix the world where citizens “whisper in the dark” and journalists must hide from their discoveries.
  • The united states must promise that they will not persecute journalists for uncovering information which was not made to be read by the general public
  • Journalists are “servants of the public record” – they must be rewarded for their actions

- Are there media sources that are just online?
  • Fairfaxes ‘Brisbane Times’
  • Global Mail?
- Is wikileaks a media organisation? Should they be protected?
  • what would wikileaks be viewed as if it wasn’t released during the war period?
  • The government is heavily involved within sharing information and persecuting such acts that could force an issue of safety against their people, are the wikileaks an issue of safety? Have they broken laws by releasing information that the government so heavily intended to leave private?
  • If they had waited until after the war, would the government have been more likely to accept such information being released without warrant?
- Does the public have a right to know that such information has been released?
  • The more the public knows, the more we can fix the problems that the government are ignoring and creating by treating people unfairly etc.
  • In war history they didn’t have the information we have now, yet they still got by eventually. However, in the past they didn’t uphold the technology and media that we do today.
  • The video Helen advised not to watch – such disturbing violence that forces people to make a change and fix these issues
  • We would not be able to view such disgusting acts without wikileaks
  • The public responsibility has been filled in by this website
- the main issue wikileaks aimed to expose was the violent acts which were generated by the government and authorities which are against human nature and unfair and unjust use of their profession to ‘punish’ these innocent people’s behaviours.

- The bad side of wikileaks that doesn’t follow the rules of journalism?
- Journalism that doesn’t give the public a chance to respond.
- The relationship between the blogosphere and wikileaks
- The major media companies have all the power – they release the information quickly and vastly so as many people as possible have the chance to be knowledgeable of what is occurring in the world presently.
- Have traditional media sources let us down?
  • because they aren’t spending any money on journalism?

Philanthropist Journalism
- while investigative journalism is seen as a luxury for many news organisations, foundations like the Sandler Foundation have stepped up to fund long term investigative reporting in the public interest…
- “To expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.”
  • New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina (VIDEO)
  • Frontline – “Law and Disorder” (VIDEO)

- blog talking about interesting stories of the present day and putting their own twist on how they present it.
- Meeting with Joseph Kony (2012) compared to sandwich in a can

- aiming to reveal the authorities treating their societies badly and unjustly.
- Anyone can be anonymous
- Globalising hackers
- Not just focused on the government of the US
- What is the public right to know?
Democracy in a digital age

Assange in Ecuador
- ‘War on whistleblowers must end’
- Freedom of expression helps society
- Renounce witch hunt against wikileaks
- Give power to the people
- Endure servants of the public record

- What is asymmetrical journalism? How does it apply to wikileaks?
- Doesn’t give people a chance to respond, referring to a more blogosphere style of journalism.
- Enables sandwiches in a can and Sudanese Governments meetings to be all on the one website
- What would the situation be around wikileaks if it hadn’t come out during the war?
  • o Journalists have been killed on account of sharing information about the war
  • o People are against the release about certain information such as military secrets
  • o Displaying backroom dealings between governments
  • o Interesting paradigm between the public having a right to know and governments having control over incriminating information
  • o Information is posted 50 years after the event in a public domain – Wikileaks went against this to try and give power to the people to make a difference on decisions
- Even though its war time, it doesn’t give people the right to do whatever they want to the opposition
- There are good and bad points involving wikileaks

Pro Publica
- Investigative news organisation
  • o Specialising in long reports
  • o Striking relationships with TV news stations to screen it and get it out to the publica
- Philanthropist journalism
- ‘To expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing’
- Went through all the death records and deceased bodies and coroner reports after hurricane Katrina exposing that police justified killing people as marshal law