=Weekly Schedule of Duties=

week 8
week 9
week 10
week 11
week 12
week 13
Lecture notes
Lecture notes
Lecture notes
Lecture notes
Lecture notes
Lecture notes

Floudas Anthea
Kim Jenny
Alexandra Metros
Alkac Hazal
Kilalea Sasha

Grogan Taylor
ki Jenny
Taylee Lewis
Teutenberg Amie
Stephanie Park
Reading notes
Reading notes
Reading notes
Reading notes
Reading notes
Reading notes
Stephanie Park
Hamling Amie
Alexandra Charicila
natalie talevski
Floudas Anthea
Allen Liam
Kieran Sainsbury
Huyn Kelly
Taylee Lewis
Angus McKenzie
Kim Jenny
Ky Jenny
Natasha Simmons
Kilalea Sasha
Alexandra Metros
Victoria Munoz
Grogan Taylor
Lucie Street
Discussants
Discussants
Discussants
Discussants
Discussants
Discussants
Lucie Street
jenny Kim
sainsbury Kieran
Alkac Hazal
Victoria Munoz
grogan Taylor
Natalie Talevski
Jenny Ky
Simmons Natasha
Allen Liam
Stephanie Park
Angus Mckenzie
Teutenberg Amy
Lewis Taylee
Lucie Street
Alexandr Charicilia
Hamling Amie
Huyn Kelly



Respondents
Respondents
Respondents
Respondents
Respondents
Respondents
Liam Allen
Kieran Sainsbry
Stephanie Park
Hamling Amie
Natalie Talevski
Alexandra Charicilia
Justin Datu
Natasha Simmons
Huyn Kelly
Grogan Taylor
Ky Jenny
Kim Jenny
Angus Mckenzie
Alexandra Metros
Victoria Munoz
Kilalea sasha
Taylee Lewis
Teutenberg Amie





Table of Contents

Lecture TWO

Lecture Notes:

Reading Notes:

Tutorial Discussant:

Respondent:

Lecture Three: Australian media- shrinking or specialising?

Lecture Notes:

Reading Notes:

Tutorial Discussant:

Respondent:

Lecture Four: Media and Politics

Lecture Notes:


Reading Notes:

Tutorial Discussant:

Respondent:

Lecture Five: Liberalism and Press Freedom

Lecture Notes:

Reading Notes:

Tutorial Discussant:

Respondent:

Lecture Six: Democracy in the Digital Age

Lecture Notes:

Reading Notes:

Tutorial Discussant:

Respondent:

Lecture Seven: Megan's Story

Lecture Notes:

Reading Notes:

Tutorial Discussant:

Respondent:

Lecture eight; WEEK 9

Lecture Notes:

Reading Notes:

Tutorial Discussant:

Respondent:

Lecture NINE; WEEK 10

Lecture Notes:

Reading Notes:

Tutorial Discussant:

Respondent:


Lecture TWO

Lecture Notes:

Liam Allen
Media Ownership – the Australian Example
"Our reach is unmatched around the world... Virtually every minute of the day, in every time zone on the planet, people are watching, reading and interacting with our products. We’re reaching people from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep. We give them their morning weather and traffic reports through our television outlets around the world. We enlighten and entertain them with such newspapers as The New York Post and The Times (of London) as they have breakfast, or take the train to work. We update their stock prices and give them the world’s biggest news stories every day through such news channels as Fox or Sky News … “ (Rupert Murdoch)
  • The media in Australia is concentrated in the hands of very few, powerful families.
Why do we have media rules and regulations?
  • Prevent common ownership of newspapers, television and radio broadcasting licences that serve the same region
  • To encourage diversity in the ownership of the most influential forms of commercial media – The Newspaper, TV and Radio
  • The effective functioning of a democracy requires a diverse ownership of the mass media to ensure fair and open reporting.
The Australian Media Landscape
Media companies in Australia
News LTD
  • Rupert Murdoch = Chairman
  • Built his media empire in the US
  • Owns much of UK press, USA, Hong Kong among others
  • News Ltd is an Australian subsidiary of News Corporation
  • Major Australian titles include:
    • o The Australian
    • o The Daily Telegraph
    • Hold a 25% stake in Foxtel and News interactive
    • Murdoch attempting to get into Chinese Market with News Corporation
Fairfax Media
  • The company owns
    • o Sydney Morning Herald
    • o The Age
    • o Australian Financial Review
    • o Sun Herald
    • o BRW
    • Fairfax also owns radio stations 2UE, 3AW, 4BC, 6PR
    • Gina Rinehart is the major shareholder with a 15% stake
Seven Media Group
  • Chairman = Kerry Stokes
  • Controls 5 metropolitan and one regional television licenses with a potential to reach 72% of the population
  • Recently invested in Telstra
  • Online venture with Yahoo7
  • Entered into a joint venture with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and co – a foreign media group
CMH & PBL Media
  • John Alexander = Executive Chairman
  • James Packer = Executive Deputy Chairman
  • Foxtel, Fox Sports, Seek
  • 50% foreign owned by CVC Asia Pacific
    • o Channel 9
    • o ACP
    • o Magazines
    • o Ninemsn
  • Up to 2007 - PBL was a very powerful Australian media and entertainment company which owned Nine TV network, the magazine publisher (Australian Consolidated Press), three metropolitan licenses and one regional television licences giving it a reach of 51.5% of the potential audience, 25% interest in Foxtel and a 33% stake in Sky News, published over 65 magazines and its share of the circulation of the top 30 Australian magazines was around 40%, as well as a join venture with Ninemsn and the Microsoft Corporation.
  • 2007 – PBL sold 50% of its media interests to a foreign owned company called CVC Asia Pacific for which PBL received $4.585 billion.
Ten Group LTD
  • Controls 5 metropolitan television licences, with a potential audience reach of 65% of the population
  • Largest shareholder is a Canadian company CanWest Global Communications, which holds 14.9% voting interest and an overall 57.5% interest in the company
  • Recent acquisitions include a 10% share to Gina Rinehard, and 18% share to James Packer
ABC/SBS
  • Public Service Broadcasting
  • Radio, TV, iView
  • Special Broadcasting Service – public service broadcasting but combines with commercial income through advertising; radio network includes 68 languages, 2 T channels, 2 digital music channels, website.
Regulating The Media
Liberal democracy advocates:
  • Private media ownership with light regulation;
  • Subject only to libel and decency laws and the tenets of good taste;
  • Any official regulation should only prevent unscrupulous business practices (media monopolies) and maintain general standards.
Legislation
Both in terms of commercial interests and specifically related to the media industry:
  • Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act (FATA) 1975
  • Trade Practices Act (TPA) 1974
  • Broadcasting Services Act 1992
  • Radio Communications Act 1992
  • Special Broadcasting Services Act 1991
  • Australian Broadcasting Services Act 1991
  • Radio Licence Fees Act 1964
  • Television Licence Fees Act 1964
Regulation
Commercial regulators:
  • Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
Media Industry regulators:
  • Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
  • Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC)
  • Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)
Industry bodies
  • Free TV Australia
  • Commercial Radio Australia
  • Community Broadcasting Association of Australia
  • Press Council
  • The Newspaper Works
Partisan patronage
Packers, Fairfax and Murdochs have relations with politicians that have power to change legislation. Media owners and journalists have power because they have the ability to make or break politicians.
1930s – Lyons Government
Sir Keith Murdoch and Prime Minister Joseph Lyons.
  • Lyons created policy precedent in the Commonwealth Govt facilitating INCREASED levels of concentration of media ownership.
  • Murdoch, in return, curbed press criticism of the PM, which apparently proved crucial in his election to PM.
  • A year later, Murdoch complained about restrictions to ownership of radio stations.
  • TWO days later the PM had issued new revised regulations on the ownership of radio stations.
1950s – Menzies Government
  • The introduction of TV in the 1950s  New licensing laws needed: TV stations had to be owned by local interests.
  • The Govt intervened and licences were granted to the same big press/radio oligopoly  highest concentration of media ownership in the Western world.
  • Murdochs (Rupert) and Fairfaxes = heavily involved in the process.
1970s - Fraser Government
  • Malcolm Fraser’s Govt was guilty of some of the most extraordinary interventions in licensing and policy making, and even commissioned changes to the Broadcasting and Television Act.
  • Eg. late 70s Murdoch had purchased Channel 10 in both Sydney and Melbourne. The Australian Broadcasting Tribunal (ABT) questioned the legality of this, as Murdoch already owned a Brisbane TV license and there was a “two station rule” at that time, which meant that Murdoch was now breaching the rules by owning 3 licences. The initial ruling of the ABT went against Murdoch, but the matter went to appeal and Murdoch won his case. The Fraser Gvt then changed the legislation removing the ABT‟s power to act in the public interest  the “Murdoch Amendments”.
    1980s-1990s – The Hawke-Keating Administration
  • PM Bob Hawke introduced new government media legislation  catalyst for the greatest spate of media takeovers in Australia‟s history.
  • The 2 station rules was changed to a system based on % of audience reached  Australia ended up with just 3 oligopolists controlling the media.
  • Unsustainable prices were paid for TV licences, and many TV stations went bust
  • As a result Murdoch owned more than 60% of the major daily newspapers in Australia.
Media restrictions on ownership during the period 1987 to 2007
Cross-media Ownership:
A person must not control:
  • a TV licence and a radio license in the same area;
  • a TV licence and a newspaper associated with the TV licence area;
  • a radio licence and a newspaper associated with the radio licence area.
Foreign ownership:
A foreign person must not
  • Have company interests of more than 20% in a broadcasting licence or combined interests of more than 35%.
  • Foreign interests in national or regional newspapers must not exceed 30% and a 25% limit on any single foreign shareholder.
Changes to Media Laws in April 2007
On 4 April 2007 the Liberal Government with the following changes introduced new media laws:
  • Deregulation: Foreign and cross ownership restrictions on media markets were lifted.
  • “Two out of three‟ rule introduced to allow companies to own up to two media outlets (TV, radio and newspapers) in a single area.
  • Any merger or purchase must pass a media diversity test that ensures there are 5 independent media groups in metropolitan markets and 4 in regional markets.
Impacts
  • Mergers and purchases are subject to approval of ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) and ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority)
Why change the rules?
The purpose of these changes to the rules included:
  • support competition policy;
  • discourage concentration of media ownership in local markets;
  • enhance public access to a diversity of viewpoints, sources of news, information and commentary.
So what happened?
Immediate effects of the news laws on the media market were:
  • PBL (now CMH) sold half the share of its TV and magazine business to CVC Asia Pacific for $55.5 billion in order to expand its gaming interest.
  • News Corp bought a 7.5% stake in Fairfax Media and 7 months later sold it for $20 million profit.
  • Seven Network bought a 14.9% share in West Australian Newspapers.
  • Fairfax Media merged with Rural Press worth $9 billion.
  • Currently, all Australian TV networks as well as 2 leading magazine
groups are partly foreign owned.
Murdoch still has a monopoly on metropolitan newspapers in 4 states/territories.
hazal alkac
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Type your lecture notes here:

Reading Notes:

Jenny Ky
CHAPTER TWO
THE AUSTRALIAN MEDIA SYSTEM: AUDIENCES, FIRMS AND GOVERNMENTS
Three groups are central to the organisation and survival of the Australian media:
1. AUDIENCES
  • Seek information, news, entertainment and escapism from the media and expect “access to an industry that is able to deliver choice, reliability and quality and a reasonable price.” (p. 20)
  • Within the estimated 22 million people that make up Australia’s population, approximately 81% are moderate or heavy users of the media.
  • Due to their availability and reach, the most popular media forms within Australia are:
    • NEWSPAPERS àconsists of a mix of daily state-based metropolitan dailies (e.g. SMH), national daily metropolitan newspapers (e.g. THE AUSTRALIAN), regional daily papers, non-daily papers and free papers.
      • HOWEVER, due to technological convergence and other media forms, only an estimated 10% of the population still regularly buy newspapers.
      • Figures from the MEAA show that paid sales of national and metropolitan newspapers have fallen on average of 2.9% year on year.
  • BROADCAST MEDIA àincludes radio and television; allows for a more efficient system of simultaneous transmission of image and/or sound – thus allowing for a greater frequency in news reports as well as “cultivating a sense of intimacy and personal involvement.” (page 22)
    • Following RADIO’S introduction in Australia in 1923, it remains one of the most popular mediums due to its “flexible and economical mode of production and its ability to offer niche content.” (page 22)
      • Approximately 95% of the population listen to the radio once a week, with 11% considering it their primary source of news.
    • TELEVISION was introduced in 1956 and was rapidly adopted within Australian households.
      • 99% of households now own at least one television set whilst 60% possess two or more.
      • Also has the HIGHEST PARTICIPATION RATE of all media and is the main source of entertainment for most households as well as a primary source for information for many people.
      • HOWEVER, the growth of pay television has been much slower, as is the growth for digital television.
  • THE INTERNET à distinguishing characteristic is its HYPERINTERACTIVITY, i.e. the way it allows users to not only interact with content, but also create their own content and transmit it to a wide audience.
    • It also isn’t controlled, owned or organised by any single organisation; however this poses significant challenges in its regulation.
    • Experienced rapid growth with household access increasing from 16% to 72% between 1998-2008/9.
    • Beginning to compete directly with traditional media as an information source as users begin to blend online and traditional media sources.
    • THE DIGITAL DIVIDE: the disparity in access, skills and experience in the online environment due to age, geographical location and income.
    • While there have been significant changes in medium to heavy users of the Internet, the number of people who are light users or don’t use the Internet at all hasn’t changed much.
2. MEDIA FIRMS:
  • Firms have a financial interest in the media.
  • The role of media firms is to SUPPLY CONTENT AND SERVICES.
    • Main motivators include the profit motive as well as power, influence and prestige.
    • Consider Gina Rhinehart’s investment in Network 10 – Rhinehart argues her decision was based on the media’s importance to the nation’s future; however it could also serve as a platform for her to establish pro-mining views.
      • NEWS LTD (RUPERT MURDOCH) – dominant in the newspaper/magazine market, as well as subscription television and Network Ten.
      • CONSOLIDATED MEDIA HOLDINGS (JAMES PACKER) – interests in subscription television.
      • CVC ASIA PACIFIC – a private equity firm; dominant shareholder in PBL Media with assets including the Nine Network.
      • SEVEN NETWORK LIMITED (KERRY STOKES) – significant interests in television broadcasting, subscription television, news and magazine publishing.
      • WIN CORPORATION (BRUCE GORDON) – the dominant regional free-to-air broadcasting group.
      • FAIRFAX MEDIA GROUP – has assets in publishing, film and television production and distribution.
      • Concern over the major media groups increasingly consolidating their holdings and establishing “deeper levels of control across the industry” (page 26), especially as they go across multiple platforms.
      • While print, television and radio generate a decent amount of revenue, many believe that the commercial potential of the Internet is yet to be realised.
3. GOVERNMENT:
  • Umpires the relationship between firms and audiences, and ensures neither group has an unfair advantage. However, they are reliant on the media to communicate with the public and advance their political position.
  • Manages the media’s competing interests, oversees and monitors the allocation and distribution of media resources, and establishes legislation by which stakeholders must engage with.
    • For AUDIENCES, the government must protect consumers from exposure to offensive material and poor business practices.
    • For FIRMS, the government must maintain a stable economic environment for them to operate in.
  • The government has FOUR MAIN REGULATORY FUNCTIONS in regards to:
    • who can OWN the media,
    • HOW MUCH of any particular media can an individual/company own,
    • the CONDITIONS under which individuals and companies use media,
    • the government as a PROVIDER of media.
  • Different media forms have different levels and degrees of regulation.
    • Overall, the federal government have the power to implement media policies given to them by the Constitution.
    • Responsibility for the regulation and administration of electronic media falls to the minister for communications.
    • Other government agencies are also responsible for regulation such as the AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY (ACMA).
    • Regulation of print media is shared between state and federal governments.
    • Two important acts:
      • FOREIGN ACQUISITIONS AND TAKEOVER ACT 1975
      • TRADE PRACTICES ACT 1974
      • Both of these acts allow the government to determine the terms and conditions under which media businesses can buy and sell.
Finally, a note on the effect of CONVERGENCE to aspects of the media sector:
  • Convergence has led to the accelerated fragmentation of audiences, destabilised traditional business models, as well as forcing the government to re-assess their media policies.
  • Four faces of convergence in: media products and markets; media platforms; corporate structures; media regulation and policy.
Student 4 [Anthea Floudas]
CHAPTER FOUR: THE NEWS MEDIA IN ACTION
Journalists - "heart and brains of the media" Von Dohnanyi 2003 p. 15).
- crucial to operation of liberal media.
- protect public interest
- culture of jouralism is of public service and norms of journalistic responsiblity.
- must be cofused on the public service element
- re inforced in the code of ethics (statement of principles that outline the behaviour expected)
Australian Journalism:
- journalists were lowly paid and worked long hours in the 19th and early 20th centuries and didn't hold the same prestige as today.
- The formation of the Australian Journalism Association (AJA) in 1911 > improved wages, conditions and conceptions about journalism
- 1940s the Code of Ethics created industry standards.
- 70s and 80s saw rise in people entering journalism > university education and degrees
- changing management and ownership within media organisations > now large scale media corporations
Regulation of Australian journalists
- Australian journalists have the right to publish freely > important impact on how the profession is regulated
- Australian Press Council and Media Watch > monitor activities of journalists
- Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)> created in 1992, 36000 members. developed The Code (balances concerns of government regulation whilst upholding that journalists should act with impurity. 12 points (set out how journalists should act).
However the code only applies to those who have joined the MEAA, therefore others aren't constrained.
- The Code is vague and is policed by a private body therefore limiting penalties.
- Turner (1994) concerned with the ineffectiveness of coping with press freedom threat posed media ownership > calls for reforms
- however it is argued that self regulation is the only reliable way to impose standards and accountability of journalists.
Constraints on journalists:
- 850 journalists killed in line of duty since 1992.
72% of these were deliberately murdered in reprisal for their reports, of which 44% was due to political matters and 29% corruption related.
- Committee to protect journalists > independant, not for profit, dedicated to global press freedom
- journalists are not popular (ranked 27/30 in 2010 research poll)
Legal context
- Australia's Right To Know (ARTK) group comprising of biggest media corporations to address issues of free speech in Australia 2007 > uncovered excessive official secrecy, more than 500 legal restrictions on journalists and regular rejections.
Have been some reforms since the original report e.g. amendment to the federal FOL legislation.
Media ownership constraints
- declining number of media firms.
- 2 media companies (Fairfac and News Limited) control 90% of daily capital city newspaper market and 100% of national daily papers.
- benefits for journalists in larger firms are that media companies have more of a say in those they hire as the owners are less likely to interfere with this.
- however a reduction in media companies has meant a reduction in employment opportunities.
Demands of the job
- highly commercial environment constraints.
- newsworthiness is driven by potential advertising revunue.
- journalists need to be conscious of audience demands.
- journalists are rarely given a final say and are 'supervised'


Justin Datu
An audience, an audience, my kingdom for an audience
  • This article was written by Annabel Crab, a journalist for the ABC and deals largely with the tenuous relationship between media and politics in Australia
The Media Battleground
  • She presents the relationship as a hostile one, describing the “battleground between media and politics”
  • Politicians accuse the media of having an obsession with triviality, polls, and having a tiny attention span, while the media continues to criticise the “shoddy” offerings from the government
  • She presents the idea that neither side is reliable as both are biased and have a stake in the standards of contemporary debate
  • She describes the way that politicians and media had a symbiotic relationship, where the media received access to “exclusive” content and politicians were able to gain a way of speaking to the masses. The politicians thanks to this relationship, in at least some way had an influence on what could be said about them. This was the "national conversation" on politics, a monopoly on political information.
The Times are Changing
  • Because of technology, this relationship has changed. Previously, politicians controlled everything, including the media, now technology has allowed motivated individuals to control the flow of information.
  • Journalists no longer have a monopoly on information regarding politics, there is no such thing anymore as “exclusive” content as through technology anyone can access information such as videos and press conference
  • Media can be written by anyone. Blogs, youtube, twitter, facebook
The Active Audience
  • Through social media such as twitter, the audience becomes the editors who decides what is news worthy and what is worth sharing. The audience is now “active” rather than “passive”
  • Through this changed relationship political debate can be seen to have been “dumbed down” due to this more widespread media where everyone and anyone has their say. Media has been made into a democracy where everyone has a say, regardless of their level of expertise.
  • however, access to political news is far more widespread and in depth and can now be disseminated regardless of geographic location
  • Many have argued that due to technology, there is an increase in soft news, as readers no longer have to buy the whole bulk of a newspaper and can pick and choose the articles they want to read. Crabb argues that this was always happening.
  • She argues that the technological revolution simply helps identify the audiences rather than changing them
  • "The most legitimate concern about today's fractured media marketplace is that we no longer have a town square." This means that media is no longer centralized. Politicians no longer have control of the message delivered by the media and there are increasingly fewer ways of doing so.

Tutorial Discussant:

Victoria Muñoz Torres
  • In lecture, it was discussed that one of the ideological reasons as to why we have media rules and regulations in place is to "encourage diversity in the ownership of most influential forms of commercial media [...] in order to ensure that public life be reported in a fair and open manner." However, in reality, the Australian media are predominately controlled by a very small number of firms. Do you think it is still possible for news to be reported fairly even though the media ownership in Australia is in opposition to the ideology behind its supposed regulation?
  • The proliferation of new technologies has led to an explosive increase in content diversity. However, some argue that this has actually narrowed the rate of exposure to diversity. Why?
Kelly Huynh
Media is becoming increasingly digital , we no longer need to access newspapers for information. The internet is regarded as a heavily relied upon medium for international news and specifically, news about Australia. Because of accessibility, there is no other time than now when people can publish their opinion as easily. To what extent do you believe the internet undermines the quality of debate of journalists?
In the lecture Dr Caple discussed how audiences, despite having a large plethora of information at hand, youtube videos about ‘overly girlfriend’ receive a significant amount of attention (over 4 million views) thus audiences are very attracted to trifling entertainment. Contrastedly, Crabb describes the media as agents for the general population, freeing us from politicians and their information control. Which side of the debate would you argue on?
Consider this statement from Crabb about our plight for democracy: "But the truth is that democracy is a long, inexorable story about decentralisation of control over information, and we are still far from the end." Do you share this concern? Why, or why not?
Amie Hamling
In the lecture we discussed the interactions between media ownership and politicians, and the importance of this relationship to the political agenda. As stated by Errington and Miragliotta (2011), "politics is all about power, its effects and its distribution… and media outlets have power." To what extent does the media influence debate of important issues in politics? Do you believe the media influences the outcome of elections?
The Australian media has an extremely concentrated news ownership compared to other nations. Does this lack of diversity hinder exposure and reach to different forms of media and points of view?
Taylor Grogan
Seeing as our media is the most highly concentrated in the world, can you think of any examples where a certain media powerhouse has explicitly projected a particular political view (in either a favourable or unfavourable light)?
Does the internet diversify our news intake? If so, how? How do you use the internet as a source of news? Who owns these?
What do you think fuelled Gina Rhinehart’s decision to purchase a 10% share of network 10 in 2010? What are the repercussions of this?
Owing to the high concentration of media ownership in Australia, do you think this influences us to take a specific view on issues presented in the news?
How valuable is public broadcasting in Australia? Should there be an increase in this sector?
Student 10 [Name will be inserted]
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:

Respondent:

Kieren Sainsbury
Media is becoming increasingly digital , we no longer need to access newspapers for information. The internet is regarded as a heavily relied upon medium for international news and specifically, news about Australia. Because of accessibility, there is no other time than now when people can publish their opinion as easily. To what extent do you believe the internet undermines the quality of debate of journalists?
We all seemed to agree that the digital age does not undermine journalism because despite 'everybody' being a media outlet on social media and blogs people continue to agree that journalists and traditional media brands are well known and trusted for their quality information and reliability. However, the traditional brands have noticed this trend and countered it by creating official social media outlets for their brands.
In the lecture Dr Caple discussed how audiences, despite having a large plethora of information at hand, youtube videos about ‘overly girlfriend’ receive a significant amount of attention (over 4 million views) thus audiences are very attracted to trifling entertainment. Contrastedly, Crabb describes the media as agents for the general population, freeing us from politicians and their information control. Which side of the debate would you argue on?
After discussing this, we all conceded that the media, both online and traditional, needs to find a balance between 'trash' and news. YouTube, to me, is not a news source and scrutinising the entire internet over this single website is extremely one-sided. YouTube is place where people can create their own content and I think it is important to keep that "people being people" aspect which continues to make the website one of the most visited in the world. We have stations like ABC24 and Sky and online outlets like Al Jeezera for 24/7 news and channels like 11, GO! and FOX8 for entertainment while channels like ABC1, Ten and Nine strike a balance. I think both sides of the arguments are purely theoretical and, for a business and profitability angle, would result in a lot of outlets 'going bust'.
Consider this statement from Crabb about our plight for democracy: "But the truth is that democracy is a long, inexorable story about decentralisation of control over information, and we are still far from the end." Do you share this concern? Why, or why not?
I do not share this concern. While, on paper our media is a very scary place dominated by the rich and powerful the reality is with the rise of the Internet we are able to choose from thousands of news sources. Overregulation of the media works both ways, it may get rid of the News Limited control but it also puts the power in the Governments hand to interfere with media corporations - that scares me more. I suppose the best way to sum up my point is "why fix it if it isn't broken?"
Eleanor Paynter
After talking about everything we covered last week for the first half of the class, I hope everyone understands the assessment now!
Jenny, Anthea and Justin covered three readings we had for this week really well, and all spoke with knowledge and understanding of their topic.
Jenny expanded on her reading about the Australian Media System, covering areas about audiences and engaging in media, making good references to modern technology expanding our daily amount of media participation. Jenny also spoke about popular forms of media, and compared them to each other (10% of the population daily access the newspaper media platform, where as 95% will listen to radio daily.) She also discussed the internet and its audiences, and discussed the content on the internet being largely diverse in opinion which is good for broadening knowledge and ideas, yet the content is also hard to regulate and confirm its validity. The internet also has a much younger audience, and although it is expanding into older age groups, the audience which doesn't use it often, or at all, hasn't changed.
Jenny then spoke about media firms; power, influence and prestige. This covered major media companies and owners, this was quickly skimmed as she was running out.
The last topic spoken about by Jenny was Government involvement and regulations in the media, mentioning of Acts in place (i.e. Trade Practices Act etc)
Anthea spoke quickly about Journalists and their role in the media, mentioning the the Code of Ethics. She also expanded on Australian Journalists and a quick history of Journalism, before getting on to the topic of regulation of journalists. I though it was interesting that in a recent poll, Anthea mentioned that Journalists had been rated 27/30 for their profession. sad that 850 journalists have been killed in their jobs, yet we still don't appreciate them highly in society. Anthea didnt get to finish her reading, which was disappointing as the further topics she has written above were really interesting and had great discussion points for the class.
Justin spoke REALLY quickly about his reading , as there was no time. he covered the hostility in the relationship between media and politics, neither side as being reliable and the need for both media and politics to rely on each other. Justin also spoke about how technology had evolved to allow more opinion, bias and diversity, and the Twitter audience as editors. Justin was really great to listen to and had a great way of using examples for his statements.
We were then put in groups for this Wiki exercise.
I'm unsure about what else to summarise and respond to, as none of the discussant questions were actually discussed. So here is the general summary of what we did/spoke about in class this week. :)
Alexandra
Metros
After this week’s lecture/ reading topic on: The Australian Media Landscape my group reflected on the questions Victoria rose. In relation to the question:
Do you think it is still possible for news to be reported fairly even though the media ownership in Australia is in opposition to the ideology behind its supposed regulation?
  • We came up with a few ideas:
  • To an extent it is still possible to be reported fairly as opinions are always structured and carefree
  • It is idealistic that it can happen
  • Regulations should enable news to be reported fairly
  • If you are a huge stakeholder you are free of the public
In regards to Victoria’s second question:
The proliferation of new technologies has led to an explosive increase in content diversity. However, some argue that this has actually narrowed the rate of exposure to diversity. Why?
  • We came up with the conclusion that even though new technologies has increased in content diversity there is only so much for an individual to pick and choose.
  • For example, when watching television there are many different channels to pick and choose from although because there is so many options we would only pick one channel and stick to it. For instance, if MasterChef was on and you liked that particular program you would stay on that channel despite the diversity of other programs that are on offer.
In order to provide further information and ideas on this topic I found a useful article examining media ownership.
Student 14 Natasha Simmons
In this week's tutorial, our group discussed the questions posed by Amie Hamling. These mainly focused on the influence of politics on the media and the impacts of the concentrated media ownership of Australia on the content of the media.
We agreed there was a very close connection between government and the media, as the government (and opposition) uses the media to promote their party and certain views of new legislation. The media is the primary force in shaping their public image, whether it be good or bad, and so it is favourable for politicians to remain on positive terms with the media. This can come at very high costs, but ultimately has a very influential role in determining the attitudes of society and even election results.
We also discussed the impacts of concentrated media ownership, initially believing this would create a lack of diversity in content. The oligopoly of media ownership would assumably mean the values of a small group of dominant individuals or groups and promoted, but due to the ever changing nature of the media we believe this is not necessarily the case. An increase in globalisation and the internet allow the views of more people to be promoted and shared, particularly through social networking sites, allowing news content and opinions to remain broad and created by anyone interested rather than the major shareholders or media owners. Traditional media is owned by the concerntrated group of powerholders though, so while it is possible for media to remain broad online, we thought alternatively traditional media forms such as print and television would be influenced by concentrated ownership to lack in diversity in content and opninions to develop an amount of bias.
Student 15 lucie street
Seeing as our media is the most highly concentrated in the world, can you think of any examples where a certain media powerhouse has explicitly projected a particular political view (in either a favourable or unfavourable light)?
One such example could be Rupert Murdoch's news paper, The Sydney Morning Herald, which has been accused of publishing prejudice articles about the Julia Gillard government. The paper has consistently printed unfavourable comments about the prime minister and her party which has subsequently affected her popularity amongst the australian public. Murdoch's decision to run these type of politically 'bent' articles could suggest a deeper agenda and alliance with the liberal party.
Does the internet diversify our news intake? If so, how? How do you use the internet as a source of news? Who owns these?
i firmly believe that the internet has permanently changed the way we access the news and allows us to stay abreast of what is happening in the wide world. we now are able to read all the major national newspapers online, watch the latest television programs via the internet and listen to radio broadcasting services thanks to incredible scope of the web. the internet offers a wide ranging variety of news coverage that allows people to stay connected and up to date with breaking news around the world. the issue however comes down to the reliability of the source. so often people are getting their news via social medias like facebook and twitter. no longer do we rely on the trained journalist to report on the latest news, instead the public is becoming actively involved in the news making process, becoming authors themselves as they determine what is 'news worthy.' this creates the problem of inaccuracy and prejudice.
What do you think fuelled Gina Rhinehart’s decision to purchase a 10% share of network 10 in 2010? What are the repercussions of this?
i think rhineharts decision to purchase a 10% share of network 10 was simply because it allowed her to have greater ownership and involvement within the television station. she would ultimately be given more of a say in what the network produces and televises. this would potentially help her to promote he views and opinions about the mining industry by reaching a wider audience
Owing to the high concentration of media ownership in Australia, do you think this influences us to take a specific view on issues presented in the news?
yes and no. its hard to answer this question because obviously i am not privy to what is being 'kept' from me but i would like to think that the majority of the news within australia is freely regulated and without heavy constraints. however it is clear that there is a great level on involvement by the big media corporations who determine the sort of news made available to us which can be politically bias at times.

Stephanie Park
Seeing as our media is the most highly concentrated in the world, can you think of any examples where a certain media powerhouse has explicitly projected a particular political view (in either a favourable or unfavourable light)?
At the end of last year, Rupert Murdoch was biased against the Gillard government and would blatantly attack the government at any opportunity. This was seen within the Sydney Morning Herald. Having such negativity surrounding the Gillard government explicitly projects a biased political viewpoint, which influences all Australian readers.
Does the internet diversify our news intake? If so, how? How do you use the internet as a source of news? Who owns these?
Yes. The internet diversifies our news intake to a great extent. The internet can be used to gather news and current affair sources from different countries and cultures. Having different view points about (maybe) the same issue entitles us to unbiased viewpoints- we are able to form our own opinions about issues as opposed to biased news sources. Furthermore, the internet exposes us to both public and independent news sources where comparisons can be drawn. The internet is also the home to many opinion based news sites and blogs. Some people consider opinion columns to be more important than the news itself, because of the biased nature that surrounds news media. Furthermore, it enables individuals of similar viewpoints to discuss issues as well as people who oppose opinions to debate about the story. This is further seen within social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Social media can be particularly interesting news sources as they have an informal vibe about the information that is shown. Internet newspapers are owned by their respective 'paper' owners.
What do you think fuelled Gina Rhinehart’s decision to purchase a 10% share of network 10 in 2010? What are the repercussions of this?
Pretty much, our group decided that she was a hungry power seeking business woman. Not necessarily a bad trait, but it isn't the best for Australian media. Also, in retrospect, she probably wants a greater position within the news network, enabling her immense power to control what is broadcast and produced by particular news outlets. The repercussions that result are that the news that is produced under Gina Rhinehart's control will be extremely biased, either based on her own opinion, or opinions based upon her 'media friends' or 'political friends.' Pretty much, in a nutshell, the SMH will be the 'gina rhinehart paper'
Owing to the high concentration of media ownership in Australia, do you think this influences us to take a specific view on issues presented in the news?
To some extent, yes. High concentration of media ownership in Australia news media means that the 'voice' of the paper becomes more biased. As readers, we believe what is given to us. Thus, large percentages of media ownership will 'force' readers to take a certain view point on issues of the paper that we're reading.
How valuable is public broadcasting in Australia? Should there be an increase in this sector?
It is!! It's cheap, isn't overrun by opinionated media moguls or individuals for that mater. I think that it should be increased. Not just because of the opinionated factor, I find that public broadcasting produces a wider range of news- more global news, different current affairs and not solely based on Sydney affairs.















Lecture Three: Australian media- shrinking or specialising?

Lecture Notes:

Student 1 [Amy Teutenberg]
Lecture 3: Audience & Effects
Two key ideas surrounding the media industry are that:
1. The media need an audience
2. Audiences need the media.
This notion demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between audiences and the media and their reliance on each other for revenue (the media) and information (audiences)
However should the media (or the journalistic endeavour) be deserving of public trust?
Whilst journalists can be a source of vital information with the capacity to shape the world and opinions, sometimes these powers are not used in the public interest.This includes behaviour such:
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Omitting important details
  • Plagiarism
  • Cheque book journalism
How do journalists view their role?
  • A public service
  • Built on the values of objectivity, truthfulness and accuracy.
  • Independent from government, media proprietors and official censorship.
So the question is, if this is how journalists view their own role within society, then how do the afore mentioned actions play such a large role in how society views journalists?
Journalists are placed under constraints in many different aspects of their job, which can hinder their ability to carry out their work according to its values of honesty, fairness, independence and respect.
Constraints
Media monopolies- means fewer jobs and an unwillingness to challenge employer opinions
Regulations- MEAA, Australian Press Council, Media Watch
Legal- Defamation, respecting confidential sources, FOI legislation
Audiences- newsworthiness driven by perceived relevance and significance to an audience - must attract advertising revenue.
Audiences - community or captives?
  • a "shared collective experience" (Schirato et al. 2010, p.93)
  • we collectively experience an event and then share our thoughts and feelings on that event.
  • However is this notion based upon stability and bonding together as a community or is it based upon the idea that advertisers require a captive audience and therefore herd us together, transforming us into commodities?
Passive audiences
  • Having a passive audience enables the channeling of irrational desires into proper outlets of consumption and orderly social behaviour. In other words, passive audiences can be shaped into the 'perfect' consumers, they are told what they want rather than ask for it, and eventually form one large homogenous group.
Standardisation, Commodification and Pseudo- individuality
  • At present, there is a trend within the media industry to standardise and commodify products across different audiences and markets.
  • They also attempt to create pseudo- individuality through the idea that addressing the audience gives the impression that they are independent and free thinking individuals.
  • Are these aspects of the modern media industry homogenous and dictated by notions of power and influence or does it expose us to cultural variety and foster understanding?
  • Another question raised within the lecture was which kind of T.V programs encourage this inactive response and which programs negate such passivity? Can television become a new form of investigative journalism where traditional forms fail to respond?
Active audiences
  • Audiences as a group which engage and interact with the media in a critical way or to serve a number of different needs.
  • The uses and gratifications model suggests that audiences use the media to meet needs such as social interaction, identification, information and education, to escape and for entertainment.
  • The reception theory suggests that meaning is worked out by reference to a set of cultural codes including race, gender, location etc and depends upon one's reading position.
  • Reading positions include: Dominant hegemonic( share point of view presented) Negotiated (accepts point of view presented) Oppositional (does not accept point of view presented)
TV and different ideologies
  • Residual discourse - older values still accepted by some
  • Dominant discourse
  • Emergent discourse
Genres adapt to hegemonic changes. In other words if dominant representations of a certain idea on television begin to alter from the consensual view, then the genre must adapt.This is known as giving the public what they want whilst also creating a new dominant ideology.(Dunn 2005) As said in the lecture: Hegemony presents a preferred world view, but it is also part of a dynamic struggle over meaning and cultural value.
Therefore the question arises over whether we actually have a say over what we believe and what constitute our social values? Or whether they are simply placed upon us without our knowledge?
Other active audiences:
  • Subcultures
  • flash mobbing
  • culture jamming
  • fan cultures
Audience overview:
  • Mass media - has a broad appeal and a passive audience
  • Niche media- has a specialised appeal and an active audience
  • Micro media - community
Student 2 [Natalie Talevski]
Lecture 3: Audiences and Effects
In this week's lecture we focused on issues of how audiences view the media, how the media view themselves, and how the media view the audience.
An important point that was stressed at the beginning of the lecture was that the media and audiences exist in a symbiotic relationship - they are mutually dependent on each other.
How audiences view the media:
There is a general sense of mistrust towards journalists and the media. This is based on the perception that journalists invade people's privacy, lie to obtain information, omit important details and sensationalise stories in the interest of attracting audiences.
How the media view themselves:
Journalists view their role as a public service. They see their profession as an independent authority built on values of objectivity, truthfulness and accuracy. However this has been argued to be an unrealistic ideal as a consequence of constraints placed on journalists. These include:
  • Media monopolies:
This means fewer employment opportunities and can lead to journalists becoming unwilling to challenge the views of their employees. This is a major issue of contention and warrants address.
  • Regulations/legislation:
Journalists are also regulated by industry constraints such as the MEAA Code of Ethics, legal constraints such as defamation legislation/shield laws, and public institutions such as Media Watch.
  • Audiences:
It has been argued that newsworthiness is driven by an event's perceived relevance with reported news seeking to attract advertising revenue. This leads to questions of whether audiences are being entertained rather than informed.
How the media view the audience:
  • Passive audiences:
Passive audiences are linked to ideas of manipulation and propaganda. This is based on a process of:
- Standardisation: generating the same kind of responses.
- Commodification: of cultural products such as films, music and TV show formats.
- Pseudo-individuality: where direct address gives us the impression that we are independent, free-thinking individuals.
  • Active audiences:
Based on a uses and gratification model where audiences use the media to meet different needs such as escape, social interaction, identification, information and education, and entertainment.
TV and different ideologies:
  • Television texts can include:
- Residual discourse: older values that are still accepted by some.
- Dominant discourse: contemporary values that are accepted by most.
- Emergent discourse: new values that are gradually accepted by society.

Reading Notes:

Student 3 [Alexandra Metros
(Errington, W & Miragliotta, N 2011, Media & Politics: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne)
CHAPTER THREE: 'Understanding the media and their effects,' pp.41-56
  • Common belief of media's power to shape attitudes, ideas and behaviours.
  • 3 main factors:
    • 1. Society consists of individuals with a wide-range of beliefs, interests and personalities, therefore media produces different content in order to fulfil a variety of preferences.
    • 2. Private ownership of media - the majority of content has been made to cater for the wide customer-base, reflected in the extensive use of devices. e.g. circulation audits, online tracking applications and audience ratings.
    • 3. Media firms manipulate audiences. Power of ownership shifts different categories of media. e.g. non-media businesses such as non-profit organisations and the government counteract this shift by providing a framework of laws preventing offense to the public.
The who and why of media effects
  • two forms used to study media's impacts:
    • dominant paradigm
      • uses quantitative and qualitative research techniques
      • quantitiative - measures medias impact on actions and attitudes
      • qualitative - measures individual's experiences, making sense of elements of reality
      • focuses on viewers observations and the effects
    • alternative paradigm
      • draws upon medias effects on individuals
      • how political and economic activities of the media critically engages individuals
Debates and Controversies: The size of media effects: Powerful or mediated?
  • media effects powerful agents of change associated with the hypodermic model
  • hypodermic model
    • suggests that any audience would interpret the messages in the same manner regardless of circumstances (gender, age, socio economic circumstances)
  • theory of mass society
    • our established ways of living has been disrupted due to industrialisation
    • lead to poor community stability therefore leading individuals to turn to the media to provide them with cues
    • vunerable to media due to lack of individual identity e.g. various media forms used such as tv, radio, internet etc
Political economy approach
  • media output affected by patterns of ownership and economic processes
  • need for profit/ less diversity
Cultural theorists
  • demonstrates the exploration of the connection between media and its cultural effects
  • main focus on socialisation and the ideas behind it (symbols, ideas, images)
Limited effects tradition
  • rejects that media is powerful associated with liberal/pluralist perspective
  • associated with wide range of media effects:
    • uses and gratifications model
      • reflects upon audiences media use - how they use their media and why ? e.g. leisure etc
    • reinforcement thesis
      • suggests media reinforces existing ideas/ attitudes
    • agenda setting
      • directs audiences and individuals on what to think about rather than what to think
    • agenda priming
      • sets context for audiences to make political judgements and how candidates do their job in relation to issue
    • encoding/ decoding
      • multiple messages and meanings media conveys - up to individual how they choose to interpret this message
  • factors affect individual's receptivity and use of various media forms
    • socieconomic & demographic
      • age, gender, location etc. Influence media consumed
    • situational factors
      • what individuals are doing at the time affecting how they absorb the messages e.g. engaging with another individual while watching television
    • individual factors
      • age, level of political interest, intelligence, indicates individual preference of type of media e.g. documentaries
    • medium
      • how message or idea is delivered to the individual, how it is presented
Student 4 [Stephanie Park]
Balnaves, M, Hemelryk Donald, S & Shoesmith, B 2009, Media Theories and Approaches: A Global Perspective,
Palgrave Macmillan, New York. CHAPTER FIVE: ‘Classics in media and ideology’, pp.84-107.
Balnaves, M, Hemelryk Donald, S & Shoesmith, B 2009, Media Theories and Approaches: A Global Perspective,
Palgrave Macmillan, New York. CHAPTER FIVE: ‘Classics in media and ideology’, pp.84-107.
Classics in media and ideology-
Ideology and hegemony:
  • relationship between radio technology and the social system- socialist or capitalist?
  • communist revolution had social change as its objective- Trotsky believed that if the media were in the capitalist hands, there would be capitalist propaganda vice versa for socialists.
  • indoctrination- what media should do to transform the worker into the socialist worker
  • Marxist perspectives on the media have dominated the development of mass media research in communication in the UK and EUROPE, in contrast to the empirically based tradition of the United States.
  • Media in politic- 5 ways that media is controlled in western societies- size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, profit orientation, advertising their primary income sources, reliance of media from experts, discipline, anticommunism
Marx:
  • Karl Marx- Prussia
  • Conception of industrial society
  • was appalled at work conditions and sought to find answers- answer=material determinism- the wawy people organise their lives is determined primarily by the modes of production, distribution and exchange of commodities. How people eat, drink, dress and find shelter. This is what forced people to work extensively
  • Division of labour- divided society into classes- 1. who owned labour power 2. who owned production power
  • Other influences- state, education, propaganda
  • Ruling classes:the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.
  • Ideology- which dominant economic classes extend their control over others so that their rule is accepted as natural and inevitable and therefore legitimate.
Mass media and the process of legitimation:
  • legitimation, or the reinforcement of the existing social order, is assisted by the media
  • media is crucial to the legitimation of capitalist society
  • the media, as said by Miliband(1973) controls much of the mental production as ownership is overwhelmingly in the private domain and a part of large-scale capitalist enterprise
  • media is is influenced by the government- all governments make it their business to supply newspapers, radio and television with explanations of official policy which naturally have an apologetic and tendentious character
Empirical evidence for Marxist views:
  • Marxist or neo-Marxist theory.
  • television has the power to tell people the order in which to think about events and issues- to set the agenda. Controls what people think.
Discourse
  • postmodernists: you can only know reality through language, discourse or signs
  • science of signs- semiology or semiotics semiology- theories in linguistics as well as other traditions. Semiotics- analyses popular culture. meaning of what is frequent is only revealed by opposition to what is rare
Student 5 [Name will be inserted]
Type your reading notes here:

Tutorial Discussant:


Student 6 Natasha Simmons
In the lecture we discussed the importance of audiences and the different types that exist. Do you believe audiences in general are more important to some media forms than others? (eg. print rather than the internet) Why is this the case?
Public trust issues arise following bad practise or content. Are there any forms of media you think would generate more pulic trust issues than others? Why?
The internet has changed news production and dissemination greatly. Has public opinion of journalism been influenced as a result? Maybe to become more competitive, varied, less valued etc? Does the Internet increase or decrease the value and quality or news in your opinion?
Media forms, particularly television, influences the culture and thoughts of the viewer. Do you believe the high concentration of international television programs on Australian television has a homogenising or culturally insighting role?
Kelly Huynh
In the lecture, the topic of the symbiotic (dependent on one another) relationship between audiences and media was debated. However, the notion of this two-way sustainability has been questioned. Does this relationship have potential to change or will it remain the same in 5 years time?
From Chapter 3 in the textbook (pg 54), the author asserts that even though an individual doesn't necessarily rely on media as their source of information, their friends and family are the ones that do, hence they are in fact, indirectly influenced by media. In what instances can this knowledge be alarming? Consider how news is broadcasted and their contexts.
From Chapter 4 in the textbook (pg 75) cites Rupert Murdoch saying that as long as newspapers are able to deliver 'readers with news they can trust', then newspapers will have a role to play in contemporary society. Considering News of the World and their history of ignoring ethics, we know that confirming trust isn't enough. In that case, could you imagine a world without newspapers and where their role in society is non-existent? Isn't this half of the situation right now?
Student 8 lucie street
Journalist can be seen as not always acting independently from governmenst, media proprietors and official censorship. Can you think of an example when a journalist has manipulated the audience in some way or told us what to think?
The media industry attempts to portray an image of pseudo or individuality through addressing the audience, giving the impression that they are independent and freethinking individuals. Certain television shows like Can of Worms of Q and A come to mind in terms of audience members being involved in the discussion content. Do these shows truly reflect a diverse and varied cultural understanding or are the mediated/regulated in some way.
As audiences are becoming more actively involved in the news making process eg twitter, facebook etc, how is this affecting the role of the journalist? How reliable is this type of news? Does these types of social mediums affect the quality of news.
Student 9 [Eleanor Paynter]
As we discussed last week, Journalists are not one of the professions we trust highly in Australian Society. Consider what was discussed in the lecture about the Code of Ethics and legal constraints Journalists must adhere to. Why do we still not trust them?
In the lecture we covered Passive and Active audiences. 'Big Brother' was seen as a passive program for the passive audience, as a form of escapism and dull engagement for the viewer. What is an example of an active program? What shows and entertainment modules force you to think?
Also discussed was Australian TV reflecting the true ideology in Australia. Do you think Home and Away show good culture balance relevant to standard Australian society? or shows like Masterchef balance the amount of diversity of culture?
Kieren Sainsbury
According to the 2011-12 Press Freedom Index, Australia is currently ranked 30th behind Japan, the UK, NZ and Ireland. Given the current situation, do you believe that regulation of the Australian press should be partially/completely removed? Do you believe that the MEAA Code of Ethics hinders press freedoms and freedom of speech among journalists and the industry as a whole? Defamation is intended to protect people from false accusations, however, is fear of retribution contributing to a fall in press freedom?
Do you believe journalism to be a profession or public service? Given that journalism seems to be pandering to audiences who are increasingly enjoying 'commodification' is overall quality of journalism falling? Who is to blame; the audience or journalists?
Is reality television (and pseudo-reality) a mirror of society or television carefully coordinated and designed to make people question their identity? (e.g. does The Shire really represent life in the southern Sydney suburbs? Is Big Brother a cross-section of Australia?)

Respondent:


Justin Datu
According to the 2011-12 Press Freedom Index, Australia is currently ranked 30th behind Japan, the UK, NZ and Ireland. Given the current situation, do you believe that regulation of the Australian press should be partially/completely removed? Do you believe that the MEAA Code of Ethics hinders press freedoms and freedom of speech among journalists and the industry as a whole? Defamation is intended to protect people from false accusations, however, is fear of retribution contributing to a fall in press freedom?
  • Andrew Bolt- conservative right wing wrote an article about indigenous half castes, taken to court as he was sued for defamation
  • Journalists feel at risk while writing opinion pieces because of these regulations and as such, these heavy regulations should be changed in order to allow for more freedom
  • Hard to separate truth and personal opinion when writing an article
Do you believe journalism to be a profession or public service? Given that journalism seems to be pandering to audiences who are increasingly enjoying 'commodification' is overall quality of journalism falling? Who is to blame; the audience or journalists?
  • Journalists believe that their work is a “public service”, but news currently has less hard hitting news, therefore their work is often unnecessary and is not a public service
  • Tabloid news journalism, etc
Hazal
Alkac
According to the 2011-12 Press Freedom Index, Australia is currently ranked 30th behind Japan, the UK, NZ and Ireland. Given the current situation, do you believe that regulation of the Australian press should be partially/completely removed? Do you believe that the MEAA Code of Ethics hinders press freedoms and freedom of speech among journalists and the industry as a whole? Defamation is intended to protect people from false accusations, however, is fear of retribution contributing to a fall in press freedom?
- the group agreed that journalists are feeling the risk of going to court if you were to say something out of line. For example conservative right wing Andrew Bolt is currently in court for using the term "half cast indigenous people" when referring to a group of Aboriginal people. The argument here is that it was an opinion piece and yet the journalist could not freely express his opinion without a backlash.
Do you believe journalism to be a profession or public service? Given that journalism seems to be pandering to audiences who are increasingly enjoying 'commodification' is overall quality of journalism falling? Who is to blame; the audience or journalists?
- The majority of journalists are no longer sourcing out hard hitting factual news, but more so delivering news that is concentrated on entertainment. For example the Tom Cruise & Katey Holmes break up has been on the news for weeks, but its relevance to hard hitting journalism that should be on our televisions at 6pm (at least) is zero.
-Journalists can rarely consider their jobs to be public service as more and more graduate and join the rank in the glossies.
Student 13
Anthea floudas
We answered and spoke about the questions Kelly came up with.
In the lecture, the topic of the symbiotic (dependent on one another) relationship between audiences and media was debated. However, the notion of this two-way sustainability has been questioned. Does this relationship have potential to change or will it remain the same in 5 years time?
We believed that audience and media do depend on one another as, without one, the other wouldn't exist. However it is obvious that the media and it's owers hold a vast amount of power as they are able to shape the minds and thoughts of consumers. In 5 years time the functions of media and the way it communicates with audieces will have undoubtedly changed, however they are always reliant on eachother for funding, knowledge and power.
From Chapter 3 in the textbook (pg 54), the author asserts that even though an individual doesn't necessarily rely on media as their source of information, their friends and family are the ones that do, hence they are in fact, indirectly influenced by media. In what instances can this knowledge be alarming?
We all agreed with this point as we have all experienced moments where we had not known something, and was told it by a friend or family member. by sharing such information, we are all influenced and affected by the media. We agreed it could be scary, the amount of knowledge and speed of information around the world. We also discussed the amount of bias in news writing today, allowing journalists to shape the opinions and views of readers
Liam Allen
Do you believe audiences in general are more important to some media forms than others? (eg. print rather than the internet) Why is this the case?
Our group came to the conclusion that some forms of media, particularly print media, audiences can be seen as holding a more influential role. Traditional forms of media require audiences to dish out money for their content, and thus must work harder to entice and engage audiences where as newer forms of media such as the internet do not require audiences to pay specifically for content.
Public trust issues arise following bad practise or content. Are there any forms of media you think would generate more pulic trust issues than others? Why?
With the internet gaining more and more audiences over time, it has become an increasingly popular form of media that the public turns to. However, often the internet is filled with many bias opinions. It became evident that anyone with a computer and internet connection would be able to post a blog or article online for potentially millions of people all around the world to read. There was no qualification needed to post on the internet - anyone could do it. This means that information published on the internet has more vulnerability to be misleading compared to its traditional counterparts such as print media.
Jenny Ky
As we discussed last week, Journalists are not one of the professions we trust highly in Australian Society. Consider what was discussed in the lecture about the Code of Ethics and legal constraints Journalists must adhere to. Why do we still not trust them?
There is an issue of public trust when it comes to us, the audience, in regards to journalists and the media in general. This is particularly due to the nature of the content presented by journalists and the media, which is often trivial, as well as sensationalised, as evident in shows such as A Current Affair. Many journalists and media companies are also somewhat constrained in what they are able to report on, and in order to maintain their job security, journalists tend to not challenge the views of their employers if it is a threat to their job security. They therefore respond to the demands of their employers, who, in turn, may also be influenced by other external factors (such as economic influences or the profit motive). Another reason why audiences are reticent to trust journalists is because of the way they go about investigating some of these stories: often invading people's privacy, lying to obtain information, omitting important details, and paying for stories as opposed to investigating them.
There was also some discussion within our group in regards to social journalism -- particularly in the way individuals have used platforms such as Twitter as a news source. It is a much more immediate and direct link between the author and the audience, and thus people are more inclined to trust these sorts of social journalists instead.
In the lecture we covered Passive and Active audiences. 'Big Brother' was seen as a passive program for the passive audience, as a form of escapism and dull engagement for the viewer. What is an example of an active program? What shows and entertainment modules force you to think?
In terms of an active program, one of the examples brought up in our discussion was Q&A, as the show allows for a far more active engagement between audience members and presenters. However, one interesting point that was brought up after the discussion was the idea of audience participation within a show simply for the sake of audience participation (as that is the format of the show), rather than a show that indirectly prompts the audience member to engage and think about a show critically. In response to this, another entertainment module our group thought was a good example of an active program was a documentary -- an example was given by Eleanor about a documentary that aired on the SBS on a relatively contentious issue; but rather than the documentary taking a particular stance one way or the other, it presented all of the facts, allowing the audience to decide for themselves whether they agreed or disagreed with the issue.
Also discussed was Australian TV reflecting the true ideology in Australia. Do you think Home and Away show good culture balance relevant to standard Australian society? or shows like Masterchef balance the amount of diversity of culture?
Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to discuss this in detail; however, we agreed that Home and Away was definitely an inaccurate portrayal of Australian culture and society. A show like Masterchef definitely represented the diverse nature of the Australian culture more accurately, while a fictional drama like Home and Away presented a more dominant ideology by the individuals in charge of the show, presenting their preferred view of Australian culture, which is not at all accurate, and in my personal opinion, merely highlights an example of white privilege, as it tries to present their view of Australian culture (being almost entirely Anglo) as the "norm" of our society.

Lecture Four: Media and Politics

Lecture Notes:

Hazal Alkac
Patterns Of Control:
Patterns of control in the media fall into two distinct power relations; internal and external.
Internal Power Relations are those bodies which control the content such as editors, journalists and owners of media outlets.
External Power Relations relate to outside influence on content such as advertisers, competitors, pressure groups and audiences.
Ultimately the media outlet has to keep both internal and external power outlets content as they both need the other to survive.
The conflicting goals of the two sides falls between non-revenue goals (normative) and revenue goals (utilitarian) which are the two sides to the argument that the audience needs the media to represent it's best interests first, however the utilitarian approach would be money first and that content can be bought.
One should also pay close attention to the role of key people with external control such as Margot Kingston and Eric Beecher; journalists that have taken it upon themselves to 'serve the people' and provide truth and accuracy in content through their blogs.
Lia Alexandrou
Notion of power
  • Definitions of power (how you would define this term)
  • Words that stick out when considering power: Force, influence, control, authority, strength
  • Assignment should firstly addresswhat is being influenced, controlled or dominated
  • What kinds of information are out there?
  • Ideologies and values that are being adhered to.
  • Definition of flow of power (in textbook): The relationship between politics and the mass media has to be understood in terms of the institutions that manage the flow of power: by „flow of power‟ we mean the systems of regulation and patterns of control that organise the media.
Systems of regulations
  • Who controls the media?
  • In most countries studied they are: Government, state controlled media institutions
  • Competing voices, how they operate within this space, do they have room to exist with other voices of elite.
  • What are the patterns of control?
  • Dictatorship vs. democracy – in a closed system media is viewed as a propaganda mission ( its kept under control by powerful elites who run governments) dispersed pluralistic media ownership and control (which allows citizens to access a range of voices and make them feel they are making a contribution) – power being representative
  • To what extent they are state and publicly funded
  • How does cross media ownership work? E.g. can they own radio and newspaper or they can’t own in the same state etc.
  • What is the level of foreign ownership that is allowed? E.g. Rupert Murdoch and Australian newspapers
  • Statutory laws or regulations or are media allowed to regulate themselves
  • show examples of how information is restricted and controlled
Patterns of control organising the media
  • internal power:
- owners: have preferences of how they would like their products to come across, exert influence of direction
- editors
- journalists
  • external power:
- advertisers
- competitors
- authorities
  • normative/non-revenue goals
  • utilitarian / revenue goals

Reading Notes:

Student 3 [Natalie Talevski]
Errington, W & Miragliotta, N 2011, Media & Politics: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne
Chapter 8: New Developments in Media Ownership:
Media diversity:
The diversity principle: That a free and independent media is crucial to our conception of democracy.
- Diversity can be divided into:
  • Content diversity
  • Source diversity
  • Exposure diversity
However, media diversity doesn’t necessarily guarantee audiences are exposed to different points of view:
  • Although there are hundreds of channels on digital pay TV, this content diversity might narrow exposure diversity because it can lead to individuals choosing to stay on one channel that they are familiar with.
  • The more newspapers there are, the more they cater to smaller markers (e.g. taking decidedly left or right wing standing) which means regular readers are exposed to a more limited range of views unlike readers of newspapers which appeal to a broader audience.
- Politicians have a vested interest in the media because it has significant power.
The evolution of media ownership in Australia:
  • Media ownership in Australia has gradually grown less diverse. In today’s newspaper market, 12 major capital city and national newspapers are owned by only four companies.
  • Regulation remains a mostly state government function, although the federal government maintains the overall ability to regulate commercial activity, including the ownership of all forms of media.
  • One of the most important decisions on media regulation in Australia was the Menzies government’s distribution of commercial television broadcast licences in the late 1950s. This favoured major media companies and limited competition – made it harder for competitors to enter the market.
  • The Keating government introduced cross media ownership laws in 1987 that limited media companies to one type of platform – television, or radio, or newspapers in each market. These were relaxed in 2007.
  • The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 relaxed foreign investment rules, allowing foreign competitors into the Australian market.
  • Today, Australian media ownership is among the least diverse in the developed world.
Student 4 [Amy Teutenberg]
Errington, W & Miragliotta, N 2011, Media & Politics: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne
Chapter 8: New Developments in Media Ownership
Diversity within the media
  • Democratic institutions need considerable freedom for the media to scrutinise the operations of the government.
  • Idea of media as fourth estate to be used to argue against government intervention.
  • Also serves for rationale of governments to regulate and own media outlets.
  • Media regulation is a balance between intervening for the public good and ensuring that media outlets, including those owned by the government are free to criticize government policy.
  • Mechanisations of political and corporate power often dominate over principles about the role and importance of the media when it comes to policy implementation.
  • Diverse ownership ensures the expression of points of view antagonistic to the government and the prevailing orthodoxy of an issue.
  • This ensures ‘informed decision making, cultural pluralism, citizen welfare and a well functioning democracy.’ (Napoli 1999a, p.9)
  • Diverse media = healthy democracy
  • Content diversity, source diversity and exposure diversity should all be considered.
  • However we must acknowledge that a diversity of media sources does not mean each citizen is being exposed to a range of political views. Also, ensuring a diverse rage of media content and sources may not have much impact if most of us choose to consume only a small proportion of that diversity.
Power
  • Parliament takes an interest in the media as they have the power to project images of politicians, set the political agenda, debate important issues and influence the outcome of elections.
  • Politicians have also been conscious of the power of media moguls such as the Packers, Murdochs and Fairfaxes.
  • They play a crucial role in the development of legislation governing media ownership.
  • An owners opinions, values, beliefs inevitably influence what is published as well as the types of journalists employed.
  • Structural power:a consequence of the inherent importance of a particular section of society, such as the role of the media in reporting on politics.
  • The structural power lies in the direct access they give to millions of readers, listeners and viewers.
  • This access is important to advertisers, politicians and interest groups and gives power to whom can control that access.
  • Structural limits include: consumer sovereignty, need to attract advertisers, need to make profits and the desire for a supportive business environment.
  • Media owners can also influence politics through lobbying politicians and making donations to political parties.
Evolution of media ownership
  • When newspaper were the dominant media (until way into the 20th century) restrictions on their ownership were deemed unnecessary.
  • A century ago, 21 major city and capital newspapers were owned by seventeen owners, compared to just 4 now with only 12 publications.
  • The emergence of wireless broadcasting in the early 20th century meant that the government decided to intervene in the broadcasting market in a number of ways.
  • The commonwealth trade and corporations powers and the constitution now give the federal government the power to regulate commercial activity including the ownership of all forms of media.
  • In the electronic media, Australia has a system of mixed public and private ownership.
  • Foreign ownership of media arouses concern as many fear foreign entities influencing domestic elections as well as being a matter of national security.
  • Laws (under the Broadcasting (ownership and control) Act 1987)that until 2007 limited media companies to one type of platform – television, or radio or newspaper, in each market.
  • The Broadcasting services act 1992 maintained the cross-media restrictions but relaxed some of the market concentration rules.
Debate and controversies:
  • Attempts to change media laws cause intense debate as they affect our culture, as well as our politics.
  • Deregulation and privatisation remain an issue within the media industry.
  • New technology may be bringing the era of mass media to an end and the dominance of journalism within the media industry (replaced with entertainment)
  • Convergence: the use of Internet to replace separate media platforms.
  • If media giants can cope successfully with new platforms, globalisation may lead to national media monoliths becoming global media monoliths, providing new challenges for governments in regulating the media.
Changing laws
  • In 2006 , the Howard government supposed diversity of information provided by the internet as justification of its abolition of the cross- media ownership laws.
  • The government deregulated media ownership whilst foreign ownership laws were relaxed.
  • The cross-media rules were weakened rather than abolished – companies could now on two out of three traditional platforms of tv, radio and newspapers. It also contained an ownership diversity test on media mergers, with a minimum of five voices in metropolitan areas and four in smaller markets.
Student 5 [Taylee Lewis]
Media ownership and the debate surrounding deregulation is integral to our understanding of media power, and the potential affects deregulation can have on the wider media community.
"Advocates of deregulation point towards the potential of digital networks... to allow a more diverse range of media voices" (Errington & Miragliotta 2011: 146). The emergence of digital networks has illuminated that they are decentralised by nature and evoke convergence, meaning, they replace 'traditional' media platforms' (Errington & Miragliotta 2011: 147). As a result newspapers for example are being duplicated online. Arguably, "media platforms have become less distinct and outlets differentiate themselves by their content" (Errington & Miragliotta 2011: 146). An example is the Sydney Morning Herald online in comparison to Time Magazine online. While each use to same platform to disseminate their message, each is markedly different due to content.
Moreover, the emergence of online platforms have created the opportunity for 'citizen journalism'. "Anyone with a keyboard an internet can publish their view" (Errington & Miragliotta 2011: 176). Whilst various journalists argue that the internet is potentially unreliable, new media has allowed citizens to actively participate in politics. A clear example is the Arab Spring, social media networks played an important role in the rapid disintegration of at least two regimes, Tunisia and Egypt" (Stepanova 2022: 1). The Arab Spring marks the success and that online media is a viable marketplace. Here, national media companies can become global media companies. This poses various problems relating to the centralisation and substantiation of corporate media companies. For example, Rupert Murdoch under News Corporation attempted to break into the Chinese market in order to capitalise on the large population. Whilst this essentially failed it highlights the fact that media companies are becoming global in order to attain economic, and often political media power. Therefore, whilst deregulation is noted as positive, it does allow for large corporations to exploit new and emerging viable markets coupled with globalisation in order to make a profit.

Tutorial Discussant:


Jenny Ky
1. According to the McQuail reading, "the Internet blog offers opportunities for improving relations with an audience but it also threatens the 'ownership' of the news by journalists." (p. 289) There is the idea that journalism is becoming "less journalist-centred and more user-centred, as well as losing its clear boundary as a professional activity." To what extent do we still consider journalists to be within a 'professional class', and just how 'professional'/reliable do we consider bloggers or online journalists?
2. Manuel Castells claims that the "most fundamental form of power lies in the ability to shape the human mind." It can be argued that the media construct a reality instead of merely presenting it. How influential do you think the media is in constructing our identities, values, and our relationship to "reality"?
3. Errington and Miragliotta argue that "our ability to read newspapers online does not of itself increase diversity." (p. 147) Do you agree? Does the internet and new media provide new sources for reliable news, or serve as just another platform for mainstream media?
Justin Datu
“He smashes unions. He squares politicians. He keeps in with national leaders, offering them news-space and book contracts (e.g. Margaret Thatcher). Everywhere, he lobbies. He attacks regulations that threaten him, or tries to sidestep them ... The world stands gaping; national leaders feel a little smaller in his presence. His power is intense.” (Referring to Rupert Murdoch)
Discuss this statement. Is this valid or exaggerated? Does Murdoch still possess the same power today? Has it changed? If so, why and how?
As the media has changed over the years, have minorities been given a stronger voice in the mainstream media?
Student 8 [Name will be inserted]
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Student 9 [Name will be inserted]
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Student 10 [Name will be inserted]
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Respondent:


Victoria Munoz Torres
As the media has changed over the years, have minorities been given a stronger voice in the mainstream media?
Yes, the general flow of social media has assisted in giving minorities more of a voice. That said, minorities still tend to be underrepresented in comparison to dominant groups within society. As an example, we can examine the blogging community. Because there are so many voices being heard in the blogging sphere, it is still hard for minority voices to come through the ”internet clutter” and be heard by others.
:
Sasha Killalea
1. According to the McQuail reading, "the Internet blog offers opportunities for improving relations with an audience but it also threatens the 'ownership' of the news by journalists." (p. 289) There is the idea that journalism is becoming "less journalist-centred and more user-centred, as well as losing its clear boundary as a professional activity." To what extent do we still consider journalists to be within a 'professional class', and just how 'professional'/reliable do we consider bloggers or online journalists?
It is very much dependant on who the audience is. Blogs are sometimes better then the newspapers as they are easier to connect with what they are saying as there is no filter (editor) changing what they write. They are more free and are not afraid to say or do without the thought of them getting fired. Are they loosing their power? Depends on the source. If it is hard hitting news then journalists have more influence. Whereas when the news is dealing with more social issues, this is where blogs hold the upper hand.
Kelly Huynh
As the media has changed over the years, have minorities been given a stronger voice in the mainstream media?
Our discussion brought about the topic of instances where minorities have been given a stronger voice than in previous times. We came up with numerous examples of cases where coverage of minorities by media is more apparent now than ever before. For example, racial minorities in this article by the ABC:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-06/discrimination-commissioner-rebukes-abbott/4181284
Student 14 [Name will be inserted]
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Student 15 [Name will be inserted]
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Lecture Five: Liberalism and Press Freedom

Lecture Notes:

Victoria Munoz Torres
Associate Professor David Mcknight presented us with a historical overview of the evolution liberalism and the freedom of press. He explained 1) how the rise of rationalism and the Age of ENlightenment served as a backdrop for the beginning of liberalist notions and how 2) the notion of freedom of the press relates to liberalism.
For Mcknight, liberalism can be seen as a)political ideology b) an intellectual world-view, and/or c) an economic philosophy. Key figures that aided in the development of those mindsets are listed below
a) Liberalism as a political ideology: John Locke, Montesquieu, Thomas Paine
b) Liberalism as an intellectual world view: John Stuart Mills
c) Liberalism as an economic ideology: Adam Smith
Press freedom & its relation to liberalism:
It began as a quest for commercial freedom- newspapers wanting to abolish the taxes placed on them for printing, ect. This evolved into a wider notion of having the right to print and publish whatever they chose.
Press Freedom Today:
- Keane: argues that self-censorship is prevalent amongst journalist in modern day society. Does not agree with the assumption that news media are a mutual vehicle for circulating information in a straightforward way. Instead, we must recognize that news media are pre-structured and pre-selected.
- We must also remember that freedom is NOT just for those you agree with (ex: think of racists who argue they have a right to abuse others)
Student 2 [Name will be inserted]
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Reading Notes:

Kieren Sainsbury
Heywood, A 1992, Political Ideologies: An Introduction, St Martin’s Press, New York. CHAPTER TWO: ‘Liberalism’
- 'Liberalism' first appeared in tyne 17th century as has a variety of meanings.
- The term focuses on the individuals rights as opposed to the feudal system which focuses on a single ruler.
- Liberalism encompasses individual freedoms and has been associated with the outlaw of slavery
- The English, American and French Revolutions were all movements that came from liberal thoughts
- Basis of capitalism
Individualism:
- A belief that the individual is in fact more important than the collective (i.e. society).
- Some individualist thinkers believe that society does not exist rather is merely a collective of self satisfying individuals
Individual Freedom:
- The unifying principle of liberal ideology; the idea of 'liberty'
Social Justice:
- John Rawls: social justice meas 'fairness'; a fair society would have wealth redistributed
Civil Society:
- Individual can form social bonds and associations and pursue their own interests
Constitutional Government:
- Liberals understand that government is needed, however, also are aware of the "dangers".
- "Governments exercise sovereign power and therefore pose a constant threat to individual liberty"
- This is why documents (constitution/bill of rights) exist to govern the government itself
Classic Liberalism:
Relating to industrial capitalism and the transition from feudalism
Natural rights (Human Rights):
- “Essential conditions for leading a truly human existence”
Economic Liberalism and The free market
- Free to buy what one wants
- Ability to choose employer
- Free trade: trade free from government interference (tariffs)
Modern Liberalism:
- A change in market and economic ideas
- “government spending was, in effect an ‘injection’ of demand into the economy”
- Switched from the government being 'invisible' in economic matters to taking control of the economy
Student 4 Natasha Simmons
Finkelstein, R 2012
"Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of democracy"- introduces argument that the media should have a degree of "immunity" from regulation
In a democracy, the freedom of the press cannot be completely unlimited as there is always a line of what is and is not deemed appropriate.
The two main streams of democracy:
- Republicanism - emphasis is placed on the common goals and shared values of society
- Liberalism - accentuates the interest of free, autonomous individuals (this model is long established in Australia)
Historical context of press regulations:
- The printing press entered England in 1476- At this time, the State regulated the publication and importation of books in the interests of the nation's peace and security.
- 1586 - laws requiring printers to have a license first began
- 1694- these licensing acts lapsed as printing became too cheap and widespread to control
- Prosecutions took place for treason and libel
Rationales for free press:
- Idea of the "marketplace of ideas"
  • All ideas are important, even those with errors, to find the most accurate
  • To form judgements, people need to be exposed to a wide range of ideas
  • Strengths and weaknesses of a range of ideas become obvious and identified when compared with other ideas
  • Free discussion about ideas prevents a civilisation becoming stagnant and strained, which may lead to its downfall
  • Elections- voters must be informed to make their own decision regarding political support
  • Criticisms- Privileges those with means for idea dissemination (eg. newspaper owners)
- Media outlets are commonly affected by advertising and profitability
- A range of ideas requires a competitive range of media outlets- in Australia ownership is becoming too concentrated
- Assumes people can accurately distinguish between truths and lies- in reality information is interpreted to suit their personal interests
-Democratic discourse
  • Suggests people should participate in the democratic process
  • Government intervention in the media is important in increading the quality of the debate of ideas
  • Criticisms- Media skews event coverage and omits information, instead working for maximum profitability
- Not all people have an equal access to quality media
Rationales for freedom of speech:
-Self fulfillment
  • People engage in critical reflection of their own life when they are exposed to the media
  • Show conterol of the individual over their life and beliefs
  • Establishes an affiliation with a community of people sharing common views
  • Allows deliberation to further shape individual attitudes
  • Acceptance freedom of speech does not need to be unlimited- people accept the right to be treated with equal respect is just as important
-The Fourth Estate
  • The media has a role in safeguarding democracy and keeping a check on institutionalised power
  • In their reviewing function, the media points out errors in the ruling systems and can deter unfair policies being implemented
-Free speech is not always absolute
  • Limits of freedom can be justified
  • There is a need to protect the individual, community standards and national security
Social responsibility of the media:
- The media has both a moral and material existance, and needs to achieve a balance between both of these
  • The current concentration of ownership goes against public interest- a variety of views is necessary
- The freedom of the press involves both the rights of publishers to express themselves and for publics to be served honest and substantial information to make a judgement on political affairs
  • The media must record a "truthful, comprehensive and intelligent account of the days events"
  • The media is also expected to act as a forum for comment and criticism by the respondants
Theories of press:
- Authoritarianism (a focus on censorship) and totalitarianism (emphasising mobilisation- using the media to transform a society) involve content controlled by the state
-Libertarianism suggests truth can be found in exposure to a range of conflicting opinions
-Social responsibility- emphasis on the role of the media in shaping community ethics
The media plays an important role in sharing information, investigation, analysis of events, social empathy, acting as a public forum and mobilisation of society
  • With this amount of power comes great responsibility
Student 5 lucie street
Independent Inquiry into Media and Media Regulation
  • There are expectations and theories in place that describe of how journalists should operate; the code of ethics that outlines the principles of good journalistic practice, journalists must be permitted a measure of independence from the government and media proprietors. Journalists are crucial to the operation of a liberal democratic media and function as a watch dog, keeping tabs on media owners and elected officials for the sake of the public right to receive high quality information.
  • There are internal and external regulations that apply to all news media. There are several mechanisms of self regulation in place that journalists must adhere to e.g. obligation to fairness and accuracy, appointment of a readers representative to handle complaints from the public. They must operate within the laws of the land, most importantly for the media, the laws of defamation and contempt
  • However it is clear that these mechanisms are not sufficient to achieve the degree of accountability desirable in a democracy:
  • only one or two newspapers have appointed a readers’ representative, online news publications are not covered, If legal proceedings against the media are called for, they are protracted, expensive and adversarial and don’t cover the more frequent complaints about inaccuracy or unfairness.
  • only one or two newspapers have appointed a readers’ representative, online news publications are not covered, If legal proceedings against the media are called for, they are protracted, expensive and adversarial and don’t cover the more frequent complaints about inaccuracy or unfairness.
  • The report recommends that a new body, a News Media Council, be established to set journalistic and industry standards, handle complaints made by the public when those standards are breached. It will explicitly monitor online news for the first time, It will replace the voluntary APC with a statutory entity
  • The News Media Council should have secure funding from government and its decisions made binding, but beyond that government should have no role. It is about making the news media more accountable to those covered in the news, and to the public generally.
  • the News Media Council should have power to require a news media outlet to publish an apology, correction or retraction, or afford a person a right to reply which have bee difficult to obtain.
  • There will be a single, properly-funded regulator with the power to enforce news standards across all news media outlets.
  • The process of accountability proposed within the report recognises the realities and difficulties of journalism, emphasising immediate exchange and correction rather than financial or legal punitiveness. This is consistent with the ideals guiding journalism by emphasising transparency and recognising the public interest in how a major institution of our democracy performs.
  • These proposals are made at a time when polls consistently reveal low levels of trust in the media, when there is declining newspaper circulation, and when there are frequent controversies about media performance. A news media visibly living up to its own standards and enforcing its own high ideals is likely to increase rather than undermine public confidence and acceptance.
  • Due to the rise of the internet, access to the news has been revolutionized and subsequently other types of media have affected both negatively and positively e.g low barriers to entry will facilitate new ventures, and so may lead to more democratic diversity, given the concentrated ownership of Australian newspapers.
  • Therefore the report recommends that one function of a News Media Council should be to chart trends in the industry, and particularly to see whether there will be a serious decline in the production and delivery of quality journalism.
  • It is also recommended that within the next 2 years there should be an inquiry into the health of the news industry and make recommendations on whether there is a need for government support to sustain that role. It should also consider the policy principles by which any government support should be given to ensure effectiveness, as well as eliminating any chance of political patronage or censorship.
  • Another concern within the report is the level of news services in regional areas, regional media outlets have cut back on their news gathering, leaving some communities poorly served for local news. It is recommended that this problem is further investigated by the government

Tutorial Discussant:


Student 6 Angus Mackenzie
This week, the lecture and readings explored notions of freedom of the press, with a particular emphasis on liberalism...
- How does media influence and shape political elections?
- Those who own and control the press are the ones deciding what gets published and broadcasted. How is it then possible that journalists write with true objectivity in an unbiased fashion?
- How do we control the Australian media? What sort of rules and regulations are in place or are further required? Are the current rules too loose that they allow unethical obtainment of news?
- Ultimately: Is the government or media more powerful? What does this mean for liberalism?
Student 7 [Name will be inserted]
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Student 8 [Name will be inserted]
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Student 9 [Name will be inserted]
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Student 10 [Name will be inserted]
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Respondent:


Lia Alexandrou
How does media influence and shape political elections?
People today rely on the media to shape their views on situations such as political elections since they lead such busy lives. They rely on the media for information on the candidates and for reports on the tolls and state of where the results are up too.
Student 12 [Name will be inserted]
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Student 14 [Name will be inserted]
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Lecture Six: Democracy in the Digital Age

Lecture Notes:

Kieren Sainsbury
Quality journalism in crisis
- Service-profit nexus
- Providing quality journalism that maintains reader loyalty and community influence
- PLUS sustained profitability
- Ethical standards
- PLUS competitive market conditions
- Business model failure
- How to go about "monetising" public interest journalism
- i.e. getting public interested in paying for types o news content that they are used to getting or free (Free To Air TV, Radio, Online)
- Fallout
- Investigative journalism is sidelined
- too expensive
- conflict of interest issues
- Not sexy enough?
- Changing attitudes to investigative journalism
- A form of journalism that has transitioned through various 'fashions':
- a vital means of accountability
- almost the fourth estate itself
- as the first rough draft of legislation
- Then...
- a valuable public service endangered by new technology and crass management
- Now...
- just another squalid trick up the sleeves of money-grubbing media moguls
- Why fight for it?
- it draws attn to failures within societys system of regulation
- is the internet our saviour?
- How wikileaks (WL) operates
- by accepting (not soliciting) anon sources of info
- high security anon drop box fortified by cutting edge cryptographic info tech (max protection)
- material then analysed and verified by journalists who then write a story based on material *harm minimisation
- both the story and original material are then published
- Stories broken by WL
- war, killings, torture, spying, CounterIntel
- Wikileaks v Govt
- The premise of the public right to know
- based on notion of 'freedom of info'
- in most democracies the law recognises the right of media to public confidential info on behalf of 'public right to know'
- How does WL do democracy?
- Champions of democracy or people with bloodied hands?
- Gives us raw material
- Harm minimisation procedure
- if a person, family or country is at risk
- can delete certain information (redact)
- can without documents
- alliances with mainstream media
- Famous WL cases
- video: collateral murder
- US diplomatic cables Release (2010)
- 2006:
- massacre of civils in Iraq
- handcuffed and killed
- 74yo grandmothers and 5 kids (5yo - 5mth)
- 2010:
- No investigation underway
- September: WL released these cables citing 'public right to know' premise
- War diary: Afghanistan War Logs
- 92,000 'logs'
- co-ordinated release of both the 'raw' material on WL and stories on The Guardian, NY Times, Der Spiegel
- critised for compromising the security of coalition forces and unmarked afghan informants
- WL: Asymmetical Journalism
- impervious to hackers or legal threats
- expose secrets of others, yet not abide by the long-established ethics and standards
- make no attempt to eliminate bias
- offers no right of reply
- fact-checking of it info
- implications of WL
- Confidential sources
- exposed shortcomings of whistleblower protection
- Shield laws: public service whistleblowers are not protected and are prohibited from speaking to the media
Jenny Kim
- Wikileaks is trying to address the crisis
- We have powerful institutions that the media cannot be independent
- Wikileaks has brought many issues, government, regulations etc.
- Media has to provide
- Gain community influence
- Privately money - Traditional advertising and price of newspaper
- Journalism has ethical standards to keep
- Competitive market conditions
The balance has failed in recent times
No connection maintained between profit vs information
136 million dollars lost in Australian media
Feb 2012 - 18% drop in ad revenues
(Basically not making enough money from advertising)
One of the consequences in revenue for Australia is that last three years 1500 jobs lost
They don't go to non mainstream organisations to get information - what alternative do we have. How do we get people to pay for journalism and boost journalism in this country.
Investigative journalism
- Too expensive
- Conflict of interests issues
- Not sexy enough? Changing trends
Fashions
- Vital means of accountability
- Fourth estate
- First rough draft of legislation
- The internet and crass management
- Money grubbing media moguls
Why fight for it?
- Can help citizens to get rights and conditions they deserve
- Expose things
How wikileaks operate
- Do not solicit information
- High security drop box - protection of sources
- Analyse and verify, write the story
- Orignal and story is published
Posted in Sweden and maybe France
Thus state-less
- How do you pursue legal action? Where do you go?
- Maximum security to whistle blowers
Criteria for publishing - reasons to publish
- Nothing that has read been published
- Something censored in the past
- Significant political, ethical and history impact
Other perspectives
- Whistle blowing website Bacon 2011
- Media organisation wiki leaks 2011
- The worlds first stateless organisation Rosen 2010
- Data dumper, data porn manager
- An attach on the international community Clinton
- A terrorist organisation US politics
ASSANGE
- Grossly responsible
- Hyperkinectic hatred of any form of government secrecy
- Reckless, dangerous
- Traitor
Right to know
Doing democracy
Wikileaks and democracy?
Harm minimisation process
Documents may be withheld
Alliance with mainstream media
- Names
- Locations
- Job descriptions
- May be taken out if harm
Video collateral murder
US diplomatic cables
War diary: Afghanistan war logs
Information outlet
Asymmetrical journalism
A new balance of power
What are the implications?
- Modest laws on whistle blowers
- Contingent on public interest?
- Shield laws: spec prov. for journalists
The Wikileaks effect
- Is Wikileaks the dawning of a new era of investigative journalism
- Changed the landscape of journalism, politics and international affairs
- Promoted data journalism
- Introduced collabs
- Safe whistle blowers
- Leak publishers encouraged

Reading Notes:

Lia Alexandrou
Assange, J 2011, 'Who wouldn't shout with the stakes so high?' Sydney Morning Herald, p.13
This was an edited extract from, Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography
  • The extract that was published in the SMH basically outlines Julian Assange's point of view of events and how he was betrayed by The Guardian and New York Times. Julian Assange stated the following:
  • 250,000 confidential documents were copied and stashed with contacts in Eastern Europe and Cambodia also being placed on an encrypted laptop
  • Assange asked the editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger for a signed letter stating that the material would remain confidential and nothing would be published until he was ready to go. Rusbridger agreed.
  • Just after the agreement was signed Assange was accused on sexual assault in Sweden creating gossip among media partners. No one asked for his side of the story.
  • Two of the media partners started behaving as if he represented a moral risk even though nothing had changed in the material or in his passion to release it but through the sexual assault allegations the partners began tip-toeing around him.
  • There were some incredible stories in the cables according to Assange, $25 million worth
  • Even though these cables were going to be sensational, Assange admitted they were not ready as it was more important that the material be properly ready and the sources be protected. Assange stated this was the most important element
  • The Guardianat this stage didn't agree as they started harassing him for publication as there was a threat that another journalist had a copy of the cables.
  • After investigating, Assange found that a colleague had shared the material during an 'anxious moment'. He then hacked into the computer and wiped the cables although it can never be clear whether she had copied them or not.
  • The Guardianstill wanted to rush to publication, Assange confronted stating it wasn't ready and he then backed off.
  • It then became clear why he hadn't heard from the editor as he had already copied the material for the New York Times.They were moving towards publication with no regard for any important issues- matters of life and death.
  • The Guardianhad known all along what they wanted to do which was publish straight away. But Assange stated that they knew the material and technology and that the rest were playing by the oldest rules in the business. He basically implied that he would immediately give the entire cache of material to the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and News Corp, even though he didn't want to do that.
  • It later emerged that The Guardian wanted to screw Assange over. They were working with the New York Times and were willing to go without even telling him or giving them a chance to prepare the data properly.
  • They had a month to get the cables in good order. The cables would show the modern world what it really thought of itself, and they worked through the night to meet the deadline.
Angus Mackenzie
Collateral Murder​ <http://www.collateralmurder.com/>
Wikileaks is a not-for-profit media organistation. They use secure and anonymous sources to bring the truth about events to the public. The principles of the organisation is the defence of freedom of speech, media publishing and supporting the right of the people to create a truthful history. The series of events revolving around this particular article known as 'Collateral Murder' are listed below:
  • Reuters staff along with civilians were killed by the U.S military. They described this attack as firing upon 'suspects' who appeared to possess RPG's and MK47 weapons in July 2007.The U.S military did not reveal this and also denied knowing about children getting injured. This type of covering of the people who were killed and injured on this day should of been made public, as families and the community deserve answers.
  • Bradley Manning, a U.S intelligence analyst disclosed a video to a journalist that depicted this slaying in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad. This video was released by Wikileaks on the 5th of April 2010.
  • 'U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own "Rules of Engagement" '. The new rendition of "Rules of Engagement" had been approved earlier that year. It would seem that this type of a conclusion acts as a cover up for the U.S military to avoid any amount of blame for the acts that transpired. The video itself is extremely poignant and proves this sort of thing should not be in conjunction with any protocol.
  • Reuters have tried to obtain the video which is shown on the website under the 'Freedom of Information' Act, however the U.S military is currently 'processing this request'. This gives the impression that they would with-hold evidence, confirmed with the fact we know this video had been hidden from public view for so long.
  • Manning is currently imprisoned in Kuwait. The Apache crew of the U.S military and those who tried to cover up the story have not yet been charged with this act of violence.
  • Other whistle-blowers are calling Private Manning a 'hero', while his colleagues consider him a mole. Information freedom is a large concern here as the issue of what is and what isn't released to the public depicts that U.S control what information is being released.
  • This then asks the question of whether the flow of power is regulated in the U.S. What information reaches the public and media seems to be under the control of the powerful and influential people of U.S, this including the government. As the government would have initiated the investigation to be under the military confirming that they did not want this event to reach the public.
As the Private Manning's case is still continuing, some journalists are erasing the political agent in the matter. However this has everything to do with politics with the transparency in government and the pursuit on terror and in the U.S government's case, whistle-blowers.

Taylee Lewis
Errington & Miragliotta, Media and Politics:
THE ROLE OF THE JOURNALIST:
"The public access information through journalists... they help to empower the public by supplying them with information they require to be able to participate in democratic society." This role is often referred to as the fourth estate function. This reading discusses the role of a journalist in contemporary society, claiming that they are crucial contributors to the democratic process. Further, "Journalists also keep tabs on media owners, standing as a bulwark between pecuniary ambitions of the company and the public's right to receive high quality information."
Liberal media theorists believe that journalists must be trained, namely, with a focus on public service. Journalists must be permitted a certain segregation from the government and media institutions. Here, the government must acknowledge this and not impose specific regulations such as censorship. Independence from media proprietors is secured with alternate employment opportunities within the sector, this means that journalists have the option to seek other employment if they disagree with their employer. Furthermore, a code of ethics is essential in journalistic practice as its states the expected behaviour and reflects the values that its members a required to observe.
However, the above conditions are not easy to substantiate. An example of this can be seen in the News of the World scandal. Obviously journalists did not abide to their code of ethics, and breeched other legislations in society such as peoples right to privacy. This example also highlights the strong influence of media institution on the journalists work. It can therefore be argued that the separation of media institutions and proprietors is not always honoured, and this imperatively affects the work of journalists. Western Liberal views of journalist practices reinforces this argument, indicating that, "The conditions that are thought necessary to enable journalists to perform their core functions are not easy to secure, even in countries that support the principles of press freedom."

Tutorial Discussant:


Alexandra Metros
How should we go about resurrecting investigative journalism?
Do we have a right to know what secret information about actions our government is taking or should it be kept away?
Is Wikileaks a media organisation?
Should we consider it to be included as a media organisation?
Is Julian Assage entitled to editor and chief?
Hazal Alkac
1. Investigative journalism seems to be a dying profession, why do you think this is and would you, yourself, like to be an investigative journalist?
2. Taking into consideration the training, dedication, respect to the laws and legislations of reporting... do you think Julian Assange is entitled to the label Editor-in-Cheif?
3. The public's right to know is an important part of the freedom of information, but is wikileaks taking it too far by putting people's lives at risk?
4. Should Wikileaks impliment 'harm minimisation'?
5. Journalist check facts, edit information and choose their content carefully... do you think wikileaks should be able to call themselves a media outlet that employs journalists?
6. Is wikileaks the new form of investigative journalism?
Student 8 Natasha Simmons
Would you argue the rise of Wikileaks symbolises the start or the end of an era of journalism?
Should Wikileaks be held to the same ethical journalistic values as traditional media forms?
Wikileaks has sparked a wide range of reactions from its publics- Would you argue Wikileaks has more positive or negative impacts on society?
Can Wikileaks in your opinion be classified as a "journalistic media organisation"?
Julian Assange has been described as the "most dangerous man in the world"- would you agree or disagree?
Victoria Munoz Torres
Some argue that WikiLeaks practices "asymmetrical journalism." What does this mean in terms of how the organization operates?
Putting aside all the negative aspects that we have discussed about WikiLeaks, what would be a reason for the public to fight for what the organization is trying to accomplish?
Do you see Assange as a man of the people, fighting for the people, or more as an obsessive hacker with no moral code?
Natalie Talevski
1. Do you think WikiLeaks should be classified as a 'media organisation'? Why/why not?
2. Do you think Julian Assange is upholding democratic ideals (such as the publics right to know?) or simply a man with bloodied hands?
3. Do you think organisations such as WikiLeaks represent the future of investigative journalism?
Liam Allen
1. Is there a point where freedom of information goes too far? Is there a recent example in which this has been the case?
2. Should there be a line that should not be crossed in gaining freedom of information?
3. Is it in the publics interest to know everything in the case of wikileaks?

Respondent:


Taylor Grogan
Some argue that WikiLeaks practices "asymmetrical journalism." What does this mean in terms of how the organization operates?
Firstly, we discussed what asymmetrical journalism means, We then came up with the following dot points regarding what it means in terms of how Wikileaks actually operates:
  • Impervious to hackers and legal threats
  • Aims to expose the secrets of others, yet not abide by the long established ethics and standards of the reporting profession
  • Makes no attempt to eliminate bias
  • Offers no rights of reply
  • Nor fact checking of its information
Putting aside all the negative aspects that we have discussed about WikiLeaks, what would be a reason for the public to fight for what the organization is trying to accomplish?
We came up with two reasons:
  • Because it draws attention to failure within society's system of regulation and to the ways in which those systems can be circumvented by the rich, the powerful and the corrupt
  • It is essentially a task that needs to be done
Do you see Assange as a man of the people, fighting for the people, or more as an obsessive hacker with no moral code?
We decided that he is a little bit from column A, and a little bit from column B. That is, his actions obviously indicate that he is an obsessive hacker. However, we decided that the main motive behind his actions were fuelled by his firm belief in freedom of the press. In fact, we decided he pretty much epitomises freedom of the press, whereas his actions emphasise the concept that everyone has a right to know the truth, regardless of how shocking it may be.
lucie street
1. Is there a point where freedom of information goes too far? Is there a recent example in which this has been the case?
The role of the journalist is to empower the public by providing them with the information they require to be able to participate in democratic society, but to what extent are we willing to go in order to make this quality information available. Freedom of the press is obviously a very complex matter that must rely on a set of codes and ethics that allow journalists to be permitted reasonable segregation from government and media institutions. However there have been occasions when journalist and other news corporations have treaded that very fine line between investigative reporting and abusing peoples rights to privacy. This dilemma is clearly illustrated by the News of the World scandal where multiple persons where the victim of unethical journalistic behavior. Journalists are required to observe and honor media legislation and regulations, however this can often be very difficult to monitor/enforce.
2. Should there be a line that should not be crossed in gaining freedom of information?
As I mentioned above, the pursuit for information and news should not come at the cost or detriment of another human being where the rights of the persons involved have been violated. This is a cyclical problem that swings between freedom of information and media regulations, the difficulty is determining a balance between the two.
3. Is it in the publics interest to know everything in the case of wikileaks
I do not have a firm opinion about the whole wikileaks case because whilst I recognize the need for greater transparency within the media I do wonder if its come at a risk. I wonder if the security of certain nations have been put in jeopardy and wonder what sort of implications it has for the national communities. I do not like the feeling of being kept in the dark from things or having limited access to information that could potentially affect me but I can appreciate that certain things must be kept confidential for the sake of public interest. I do feel though that wikileaks has allowed for a more decentralized and open media market where the public can engage with and better understand the political world around them.
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Lecture Seven: Megan's Story

Lecture Notes:

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Reading Notes:

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Tutorial Discussant:


Student 6 [Amy Teutenberg]
In a media saturated society, how do you think silences (in regards to mega projects) are so little scrutinised by the public?
How much do you believe that these 'silences' compromise the media's position as the fourth estate?
Can such silences be seen as a metaphor for other silences that occur within journalism?
"There are moments when silence is not an option." (John Keane) - For what moments do you believe silence should not be an option?
lucie street
Would a democratic government or authoritarian state better handle a catastrophe? Why?
Can you think of a particular catastrophe that was poorly handled and information was withheld? How was it politically motivated?
In the event of a catastrophe, do you think that silencing certain information is acceptable in order to avoid a moral panic? Should the public be provided with all the information regardless if it’s beneficial or not?
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Respondent:


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Lecture eight; WEEK 9

Lecture Notes:

Student 1 Anthea Floudas
This weeks lecture was on the "Internet Cultures" and the different functions, social functions and implications of the internet and media on society. It was given by Gerard Goggin of the Department of Media and Communication and the University of Sydney. The lecture was overall really informative and interesting as Gerard went through the different stages in the rise of internet culture and it's affect on the media and society and how it has shaped our lives today. Some of the most interesting points was the topic of internet convergence and internet culture, with Gerard commenting on how the Internet is important to other media forms and it is woven into traditional media. For example, fan cultures, catch up TV programs, the ability to watch television and movies online and the ability to 'make your own tv' (e.g Youtube). Personally, i found the history and development of these internet technologies the most interesting part of the lecture, it is odd to think that just over a decade ago was the beginning of Wifi (it feels as though we wouldn't be able to live without it these days), similarily smartphones and tablets were only released around 2007 (it's difficult to imagine life without our iPads and iPhones).
Digital convergence was another large topic covered by Gerard, with Internet being the key to convergence. The most recent period for digital convergence started in the 1980s which revolved around digitization and technologies in digital formats and forms, all relying on the power of networks.
Gerard ended the lecture commenting on the declining use and influence of the "web" with a brilliant quote from Anderson, which (i can't remember exactly) talked about the increasing use and reliance on "apps" for news and convience, ending with "you've spent the day on the Internet, but not on the web". This was by far my favourite part of the quote which i have to really agree with, as we are so immersed in smartphone technologies and "apps" that we hardly use the web anymore.
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Reading Notes:

Kelly Huynh
Weatherall, K forthcoming, ‘The new (old) war on copyright infringement, and how context is opening new regulatory possibilities’, Media International Australia, no. 143.
This reading is about the internet blackout in January 2012 when thousands of websites went offline to protest proposed US laws that were designed to implement an attack against alleged IP-infringing websites by making them both unfindable, and without any financial support. Within a matter of days, the laws - known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) became redundant. Questions arise regarding how and why regulating internet intermediaries and making them the internet 'police ' has become more acceptable to governments.
SOPA was directed at two kinds of website. The first was 'foreign infringing sites': sites directed at the United States and used by Americans, but beyond the reach of US courts.
The mid-1990s governments were about adopting a hands-off attitude towards the internet, the same cannot be said today. Authorities seem increasingly willing to treat the internet as just another communications medium that may be regulated as necessary.
The internet businesses that were once viewed as new players to be protected are now increasingly being perceived as enormous organisations to be controlled.
In short, we have a policy, technological and intellectual environment that is increasingly open to government intervention in internet infrastructure.
Student 4 Amie Hamling
Welch, D 2011, 'War in the Shadow, Sydney Morning Herald News Review, p.1.
  • This article explains the malicious computer code sent to five US State Department officers known as POISON IVY:
    • If opened, a program called a remote administration tool (RAT), would allow the sender to control the target's system
    • This attempt was blocked, but "provides a brief glimpse of a shadow war being waged in cyberspace between hundreds of countries."
  • Australia and the US added "cyber warfare" to the ANZUS treaty, which is 60 years old.
  • Professor Alan Dupont says the government refuses to discuss cyber spying publicly. China is the major player in cyber espionage for a large amount of time, attacking other states for "intelligence gathering, political and strategic advantage, and also for defensive purposes"
Student 5 [Name will be inserted]
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Tutorial Discussant:


Jenny Ky
1. One of the issues surrounding media policies is the fact that they are quite outdated. Due to convergence and digitisation, for example, what are some new issues that media laws must take into consideration? And is it possible to regulate the Internet when so much of it is decentralised?
2. Should issues relating to Internet regulation and censorship be dealt with through legislation, or would it be better if they were managed through self-regulation?
3. The way we experience and interact with the Internet has changed rapidly in recent years, especially with technology like smart phones becoming a dominant part of our society. It has also become a lot more pervasive, particularly through social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. How do you feel about this increasing pervasive nature of the Internet -- is this issue of privacy still a concern, or something that we've all become quite desensitised to?
Taylee Lewis
1. Considering the concepts of digitisation, and the decentralised and open nature of the internet, how can the internet be effectively regulated? keep in mind the global facet of the internet.
2. Anderson states 'you have spent all day on the internet, but not on the web'. Do you think this is a product of technical innovation, namely the production of smart phones, apps, etc. Or, do you think it is a product of our society's mentality? Meaning are we finding it more difficult to direct attention for sustained periods.
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Respondent:


Student 11 [Alexandra Metros]
  1. 1. Considering the concepts of digitisation, and the decentralised and open nature of the internet, how can the internet be effectively regulated? keep in mind the global facet of the internet.
Some forms of regulation protecting content that already exist on the internet still gets through. E.g. filter systems that block offensive or inappropriate material sometimes will still get through. We do need some form of regulation to block illegal, unsuitable and offensive content. There should be a well publicised, user-friendly website to offer advice on issues in relation to internet content. Also, we should have stronger filters that blocks such offensive content although as mentioned some content does still get through so there is only an extent to which the internet can be regulated.
Student 12 Natasha Simmons
1. What are some new issues media laws must take into account? Is it possible to regulate the internet when so much of it is decentralised?
Media laws need to consider the involvement of the audience in uploading, changing and hacking things online- they are now equally involved in publishing as the intended creators. Companies also have the opportunity to spread over many media platforms, giving them more power and means to gain control. Digitisation gives people more ways to communicate, and as people communicate online abuse needs to be dealt with accordingly, though it is a challenge to stop internet trolls.
I don't think it is possible to regulate or censor the internet as such- its size and decentralised nature would make it almost impossible, but at the same time I think it is necessary to stay in control and when inappropriate or illegal activities take place online to have it reported and action taken.
2. Should internet regulation and censorship be dealt with through legislation or self-regulation?
I think a balance of the two would be best, though it would be impossible to get everyone to support self-regulation. Not all people can be forced to hold their opinions and desires to themselves- just like in reality where some people are loud, stubborn and hot-headed and share their opinions regardless of the appropriateness, the same is paralleled in the virtual world. The decentralised nature of the internet though would make legislation hard to enforce and monitor, and because it is a global service it would be hard to create legislation which would work. What is needed is a global set of internet laws people can then self-regulate by, though cultural and social differences would prevent this ever developing.
3. Are privacy issues still a concern, or have people become desensitised to this?
I personally never saw privacy issues as a concern because for most internet sites, the users have the choice to share the information they publish. A Facebook user for example shouldn't have an issue if they set their privacy settings to suit them, turn off location services on mobile devices and only posting information they don't mind sharing. I understand hacking is becoming an increasing problem, but its one of the risks people expose themselves to by using the internet and can prevent it to an extent with secure passwords etc.
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Lecture NINE; WEEK 10

Lecture Notes:

Jenny Ky
SEXTING: CULTURE, POLITICS AND LAW
  • Lecture led by Dr Kath Albury.
  • Definition of 'sexting': sexual representations and self-representations using mobile and online media. More often a term used by the media rather than by young adults/U18's.
  • In this issue we are considering young people's understanding of intimacy, friendship, ethics and representation as well as bullying and harassment. There needs to be a greater recognition of young people's rights to sexual citizenship and agnecy.
  • As a public/legal issue, there are questions around consent, education and legal repercussions:
    • CONSENT: In Australia, consent is not possible for people under 18.
    • The legal offence comes from the content itself, rather than the context -- for example, even if two U18's in a relationship mutually consent to sharing intimate pictures, it is still considered child pornography.
      • This has serious legal repercussions, as anybody who owns this content would be listed as a sex offender, even if they themselves are under 18. People listed as sexual offenders are also never removed from the list, and therefore have a permanent criminal record.
        • This is seen as incredibly unfair, especially for U18's, as there is a huge difference between a 17 year old boy with a photo of his girlfriend, and a 40 year old man having a photo of a 17 year old girl.
          • A law that is supposed to protect U18's is now being used against U18's.
  • The 'education' around sexting is also incredibly gendered: for example, if a man were to send a picture of his girlfriend around without her permission, society focuses on and shames the woman for the act as opposed to the man for sending it without her consent.
    • Anti-sexting education tends to blame the woman. There is also another issue regarding the possibility of a power imbalance that follows the breakdown of any relationship -- what may have been a mutual agreement between both parties during the relationship then becomes a way for the man to have power over the woman following the breakup.
    • "Consequences" in terms of embarrassment, shaming and reputation are always heavily targeted at girls.
    • What needs to occur is a greater acknowledgement of the broader culpability and cultural context of those who take or circulate images without consent, rather than individual shaming of victims.
  • CONTEXT also plays a huge role in sexting: consider a photo of a woman in a bikini vs. a photo of her in her underwear. While both images would reveal the same amount of flesh, one is deemed "inappropriate" while the other is acceptable.
    • Questions arise regarding the way society views/frames the body, or the gendering of the body.
    • "Sneaky hat" photos by men -- i.e. a photo where a man is wearing nothing but a hat to cover certain body parts -- these sorts of photos are seen as a joke, are intended to be humorous, and not much fuss is made about them. Men "don't care" about it whereas women are supposed to care a great deal. Again, this shows the incredibly gendered nature of the issue.
    • The issue that not all nudity is sexual -- yet when it comes to women it seems that everything is "sexualised" -- however, it is society doing the sexualising, not necessarily the woman herself.
  • Anti-sexting education and parents: revolves around prohibition and surveillance as parents are encouraged to go through phones and Facebook accounts of their kids.
    • A very contradictory message -- privacy protection vs having "nothing to hide" (so therefore, why not make everything public?)
  • Question of sexual ethics and the responsibility of both men and women.
Student 2 [Name will be inserted]
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Reading Notes:

Student 3 [Alexandra Metros]
Goggin, G and Crawford, K 2010, 'Moveable Types Youth and the Emergence of Mobile Social Media in Australia', Media Asia, vol. 37. no. 4, pp 224-331.
The article plays close attention to the emergence of mobile Social Media in relation to the Australian youth. (looks at age category of 18-30 yr olds).
Youth culture, mobile media and innovation
- growth à mobile subscriptions set to cross 5 billion mark in 2010
- mobile phones increasingly recognized as media
Mobile media approaches and methods
- one-on-one interviews with focus groups à findings reflected the importance of mobile phone for young Australian users.
  • oMost striking instance, someone reported high anxiety when obliged to turn their phone of when travelling on a plane.
  • o “I never [turn my phone off]. So I was just like, I have to do what? Like turn it off? I couldn’t fathom that they wanted my phone off. I was like, can I just put it on silent, and they’re like, that doesn’t help, we need you to turn it off, Miss. I was like oh, okay”(Female, 20, Marrickville).
Messaging, mobiles and Facebook
- the study reflects that text messaged was a large part of the social life for Australian youth
- Facebook is an essential for most – if not an essential then it is used for friendship and networking
- Facebook checking was not something indulged in or appreciated by all respondents
  • o One thing I can’t understand is when you go to gigs and concerts or out like nightclubbing and stuff and you see the people in the corner on their like Hiptops or their iPhones and stuff on like Facebook or MSN it’s just like you paid money to come in here, what are you doing? (Female respondent)
Phones as portals
- texting was commonly preferred to voice calls as the first way to get in touch
- Goggin & Crawford argue that increasingly SMS is becoming almost identical to Twitter messages, or short Facebook posts
- Mobile constantly receiving and transmitting into entirely different systems, practices and networks.
The co-evolution of mobile social media and friendship
- rise of mobile phone data
- “Rather than mobile social networks helping people to find the love of their lives or their new best friend, a more plausible and realistic role for this technology may be just to make the public social life of the city more familiar” (Humphreys, 2010: 775).
- The evolution of mobile social media is intricately bound with developments in thinking about friendship, connection and intimacy.
Lia Alexandrou
Kath Albury & Kate Crawford (2012): Sexting, consent and young people's ethics: Beyond Megan's Story , Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 26:3, 463-473
  • This article contrasts the Megan’s Story campaign, a recent Australian media and policy response to sexting (the act of taking and transmitting naked or semi-naked pictures via mobile phones) with interview responses drawn from an Australian study that has asked young people about mobiles and sexting
  • Authors argue that there is an emerging ethics around the issue of consent being developed by young people.
  • This paper suggests a response that would recognize the seriousness of incidents of bullying, harassment or abuse, and would also take into account the meaning that sexting has for young people in specific contexts and cultures.

Authors are concerned that current legal and policy responses to sexting have failed to account for the range of meanings that young people themselves might apply to the practice.
The law as it is presently framed views under-18s as being unable to give consent to sexting, even when they are over the legal age for sexual consent with the possibility of facing serious charges for the production and distribution of child pornography if they were to take any sort of 'sexual' picture.
Megan's Story:
A short advertisement that was made purposely to warn young people against the dangers of mobile ‘sexting.’
produced by ThinkUKnowAustralia, a partnership organization that includes the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Virtual Global Taskforce and Microsoft Australia.
Supposed to depict a teenage girls experience of 'sexting'
Goal: once something is created in a digital format and then shared, you lose control over who sees it and what they do with it’ (ThinkUKnow 2010a).
Issues with the video:
Only addressed the 'you' scenario placing emphasis on the consequence of the one who is featured in the picture. Even then it only expresses that the punishment in public humiliation.
Gives no indication of the legal implications that would be faced e.g. classified as child pornography
Sexist in the way that it only shows the implications for the female who took part. E.g. sends the message that the boy is now cooler or looked up too
The video should have:
Labelled each individual with what they would be charged with legally in this particular scenario. This would show the seriousness of 'sexting'.
Some findings from the young, mobile, networked study:
The word ‘sexting’ was not commonly preferred, with some participants describing it as a journalistic term rather than something used within peer groups.
Majority of participants said they had never sent or received sexually explicit pictures of themselves.
Many said they knew or had heard of someone who had either sent or received such images, with stories of received images being more frequent.
Several other interviewees as something done ‘as a joke'.
Very few that participated in this study knew there were legal penalties involved in 'sexting'
Some legal penalties
As it currently stands, Australian Federal Classification law is very broad in its coverage: It does not permit any depictions of non-adult persons, including those aged 16 or 17, nor of adult persons who look like they are under 18 years. Nor does it permit persons 18 years of age or over to be portrayed as minors.
(Australian Government 2008)
Young people under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to appear in images of a sexual nature.
Any image of a young person ‘in a sexual context’ may be deemed to constitute child pornography, even if it is a self-portrait (Griffith and Simon 2008). The charge is determined by the nature of the representation itself – not by the age of the person who produced it, or the context in which it was produced.
The authors believe that both the legal and policy frameworks need to respond to the realities of young people’s experiences, and the role played by technologies such as the mobile.
Taylee Lewis
Willard, N 2010, ‘Sexting & youth: Achieving a rational response’, Centre for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, available for download at: http://www.csriu.org/documents/sextingandyouth_002.pdf
In the introduction to this reading, Wilard makes two important points regarding the nature of sexting. Firstly, "The term “sexting” is a combination of two terms “text” and “sex.” The term is being applied to situations to sending self-created nude or semi-nude sexually provocative images or sexually explicit text" (Wilard 2010: 1). Further, she indicates that sexting is in-fact cross generational, "Given this apparent cross generational adoption of this behavior, there are clear indicators that this behavior should be considered within the range of normative human sexual behavior" (Wilard 2010: 1). However, it must be noted that teens are more likely to be involved in the practice, and such actions are more likely to be damning. Namely, teenagers are more easily persuaded to produce images, and such images are more likely to go viral. The problem here is when the teens 'self-creation' becomes 'self-exploitation' (Wilard 2010: 1). Whilst there are variety of scenarios reagarding sexting that are not considered harmful, Wilard identifies are variety of situations that are intended to cause harm to the person depicted in the image (Wilard 2010: 4). These include:
Demand for an image by partner in an abusive, controlling relationship.
• Revengeful distribution by a partner after a break-up.
• Blackmail threat by recipient of image to disclose the image to others unless the person depicted engages in some other action. Frequently, this is an abusive partner and with a demand to engage in sexual activity.
• Sexual solicitation of a younger teen by an older teen.
• Abusive or coercive acquisition of image, with intent to widely distribute.
To overcome this practice, and address the issue of self-creation, Wilard suggests, "When self-creation is normative developmental behavior, interventions to address potential harm must be grounded in education and counseling" (Wilard 2010: 1). Education can specifically deal with the practice but also attempt to recognise the sexualisation of teens. Essentially, this developing facet of teen behaviour, coupled with the abilities of technology, are creating a platform for sexting to exist.
Whilst sexting is noted as an issue within teens, research has indicated that overall only a minority of teens are engaging in this activity, involvement increases with age, boys and girls are participating in this practice at an equal rate, and most teens produce such images as a result of pressure. The problem arises when the practice becomes harming to the individuals involved, and when the practice is extremely prevalent among teens, this raises various child safety issues.

Tutorial Discussant:


Student 6 Natasha Simmons
Should children/ teenagers have a say in redefining the laws surrounding sexting introduced and enforced by adults?
The lecture raised issues on the question of what is and is not acceptable in the spectrum of provocative selfies to sexting. Where should the line be drawn for what is publicly acceptable without the legal consequences and punishments between them?
Should sexting in an intimate relationship and sexting out of a relationship be dealt with differently?
What frameworks do people use to define inappropriateness in photos? How would this explain the contrasting views society has towards seeing women in bikinis compared with in underwear?
Do you agree or disagree with the different social views towards female and male selfies? Is it wrong that male selfies are taken lightly and celebrated while females are criticised instead for their sexual reputation? Why should the "sneaky hat" pose be acceptable while bikinis are not?
Student 7 Lucie Street
- Sexting cases represent the larger complication of fitting the proverbial square peg of technology into the round hole of existing laws. Can you think of other examples where the law is yet to catch up to the unpredictable world of technology?
- Thus far our legal response to sexting has aligned in exactly the wrong sense: reactionary, impulsive behaviour by teens matched by equally reactionary, impulsive prosecution by adults. Would introducing computer technology classes and prevention seminars as part of school curriculum help curb this sort of behaviour?
- Do you think new technologies such as mobile phones with picture messaging and new media platforms such as Facebook, have led to the sexualisation of children. Are children in todays age wanting to grow up faster and participate in activities such as sexting because of glorified sexual images seen in the media?
Student 8 Kieren Sainsbury
- There is education of sexting which is currently preventative through shaming the act, would treating it the same way as the current curriculum treat drugs (harm minimisation) work better in lowering numbers? Keeping in mind the survey suggested very few teens had been involved in the act.
- Changing the laws surrounding child abuse material* could be tricky, do you agree that
a) the laws surrounding consent of photography be lowered to match the age of consent to sex?
b) the laws should prevent minors with 'consensual' images of peers being charged under the act?
- Do you believe that 'sexting' should be accepted as a normal part of teenage sexuality? With thought to the fact that the PD/H/PE curriculum teaches children to shy away from sexual intercourse in favour of 'less dangerous' sexual experiences?
*when researching this topic I found an article by the AFP which urged media outlets to stop using the term 'child pornography' in favour of 'child abuse material' as the term 'pornography' legitimises it.
Student 9 [Name will be inserted]
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:
Student 10 [Name will be inserted]
Type your ideas and questions for discussion in the tutorial here:

Respondent:


Victoria Munoz Torres
1) Other examples where the law hasn't caught up with technology?
- Downloading music/movies: how to monitor/regulate internet piracy
- cyber bullying: where is the line drawn as to what should be made illegal?
2) Thus far our legal response to sexting has aligned in exactly the wrong sense: reactionary, impulsive behaviour by teens matched by equally reactionary, impulsive prosecution by adults. Would introducing computer technology classes and prevention seminars as part of school curriculum help curb this sort of behaviour?
- Before seminars and classes can be put in place, a well- planned curriculum would have to be drawn up in which, contrary to past educational materials, there is an equal emphasis on teaching girls as well as boys as to the dangers/repercussions of sexting. Once this is done, then such courses could help curb this sort of behavior.
3) Do you think new technologies such as mobile phones with picture messaging and new media platforms such as Facebook, have led to the sexualisation of children? Are children in today's age wanting to grow up faster and participate in activities such as sexting because of glorified sexual images seen in the media?
- There is definitely a correlation between the proliferation of such technologies and the sexualization of children. In today's world, all media outlets are overrun by sexual images- there's no escaping them. Even if children don't consciously want to grow up faster, by constantly being exposed to such material one must expect that a child is going to "get ahead of themselves" without knowing the repercussions of their actions.
Kelly Huynh
- There is education of sexting which is currently preventative through shaming the act, would treating it the same way as the current curriculum treat drugs (harm minimisation) work better in lowering numbers? Keeping in mind the survey suggested very few teens had been involved in the act.
Shaming isn’t working but making sure people know what the laws are and the ramifications of breaking the law regarding possession and distribution of naked persons may assist in lowering the instances of harmful sexting. And when very few teens have been involved, that may suggest even more instances of occurring, thus defining the consequences and notifying teens would prove undoubtedly useful in reducing cases where sexting is non-consensual.
- Changing the laws surrounding child abuse material* could be tricky, do you agree that
a) the laws surrounding consent of photography be lowered to match the age of consent to sex?
b) the laws should prevent minors with 'consensual' images of peers being charged under the act?
I personally believe that a person under 18 is still considered a minor, however it can be argued that if we are a nation that permits 16 to be the legal age of consent to have sex, then that law might be taken into consideration, having said that I don’t agree that photographs of minors that are sexual in nature are to be propagated, even with the subject’s consent, that would open many doors to abuse and they would then have to be subject to case-by-case investigations.
- Do you believe that 'sexting' should be accepted as a normal part of teenage sexuality? With thought to the fact that the PD/H/PE curriculum teaches children to shy away from sexual intercourse in favour of 'less dangerous' sexual experiences?
At an age where your hormones are in flux, from a scientific perspective, it’s understandable that teenagers will want to engage in sexting, however that doesn’t make the act moral or acceptable. Rather than teaching abstinence, or sexting, the section of the PD/H/PE curriculum that covers sex, would have far effective results by encouraging safe sex and the use of protection such as condoms. Let’s say the most dangerous sexual experience is contracting an STI, between sexting which could lead to unprotected intercourse and protected intercourse, only the latter will guarantee safety.
Stephanie Park]
Should children/ teenagers have a say in redefining the laws surrounding sexting introduced and enforced by adults?
No. In this case, I believe that adults have better ground on what should be acceptable in terms of sexting.If laws were based on children views as well, it may be based on what is popularly accepted by the younger generation, an opinion that may be largely false.
The lecture raised issues on the question of what is and is not acceptable in the spectrum of provocative selfies to sexting. Where should the line be drawn for what is publicly acceptable without the legal consequences and punishments between them?
There may be some sort of exception for what is acceptable as it is due to what the 'couple' believes is appropriate for their relationship. But, in regards to sending photos around, it is an offense of bullying thus legal consequnces and punishments must be enforced. I think that it is publicly acceptable unless someone gets defamed or hurt by the situation. As long as it remains in between their circle.
Should sexting in an intimate relationship and sexting out of a relationship be dealt with differently?
No. Sexting no matter what the relationship remains somewhat the same. The only difference is how other people perceive it as.
What frameworks do people use to define inappropriateness in photos? How would this explain the contrasting views society has towards seeing women in bikinis compared with in underwear?
Bikini's are classified as acceptable only because they are swimwear. However, underwear is generally perceived as something that shouldn't be exploited.
Doyou agree or disagree with the different social views towards female and male selfies? Is it wrong that male selfies are taken lightly and celebrated while females are criticised instead for their sexual reputation? Why should the "sneaky hat" pose be acceptable while bikinis are not?
This is just based on traditional views and views that society has justified. Males are allowed to take off their tops off whereas females are not. I don't necessarily believe that bikini photos are unacceptable, just that females without clothes in general are unaccepted.
Student 14 [Name will be inserted]
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Student 15 [Name will be inserted]
Type up the notes you took during the discussions in your tutorial in relation the questions posed above:
Lecture 10; WEEK 11

Lecture Notes:

Alexandra Metros
Media Regulation - The Finkelstein Inquiry
  • Professor Catharine Lumby – The director of journalism & research centre at UNSW
  • Finkelstein report – about how news in Australia is regulated
  • Leveson inquiry:
  • o Ongoing public inquiry into culture, practices and ethics of the British press following the News International phone hacking scandal
  • o phone hacking, including a young girl who had been raped and killed
  • o there are unseen links between media proprietors and politicians
  • Print Media – News Media, Fairfax
  • o Past 6 months, thousands of job cuts
  • o Audience becoming more niche
Code of ethics Media, arts and entertainment alliance
  • Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts
  • Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, religion, or disability
  • Code of Ethics
  • o Disclose all conflicts of interest and any payments made to sources
  • o Respect private grief – (phrase ‘knocking on the grass’ journalist goes to house and says ‘knocked on the door’ but no one was there when really didn’t knock)
  • o Do not plagiarize
  • o do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors
  • 1999 –Cash for comment, enquiry into Alan Jones and John Laws
  • o John Laws came out and said ‘so what if I’m taking all this money, I’m an entertainer’
  • o New set of regulations ACTMA
  • o Kyle Sandilands – regulation à 14yr old girl raped on air – lie detector; should it be regulated or not?
  • Traditional ethical framework
  • o Emphasises:
  • § Right to privacy à cultural boundaries – Facebook, shares private information publicly
  • § Importance of rationality
  • § Disclose of all vested interests
  • § Separation of matters of public matters of publics interest from matters which merely interest the public – e.g. print edition of SMH on the front page is different to top stories they put on their online website à what’s trending, can see what people click on online whereas, can’t see what people read in print edition
  • Existing regulatory frameworks
  • o Newspapers – Australian Press Council/ombudsman
  • o Radio and televisions – standards approved and overseen by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) – co-regulatory they oversee self-regulation, they step in if television isn’t self-regulating well enough
  • Additional regulation
  • o Issue of defamation à about publishing something that harms someone’s professional reputation
  • Finkelstein report
  • o Looking at the state of media and state of news media – print, radio, tv
  • o Definition of websites – very broad
  • o NNMC to be a statutory rather than a voluntary body like the APC
  • o Wanted body to be statutory à more power
  • Reframing ethics
  • o How are emerging genres and technologies (Youtube, Twitter, Facebook) reshaping our public sphere?
  • o What changes in an era when media consumers are media producers?
  • o What changes when news and entertainment formats have been fused? à pretty much fused, not in every sector, e.g. Sunrise à very focused wheras, ABC à cohost very ‘ABC’ old school
  • Reality TV
  • o Use of voiceovers, game show, soap opera, drama à shows edited for dramatic impact
  • o Media that shows reality / Media that shows entertainment
  • Regulation
  • o media content might be produced in one place but it can be changed along the way
  • § Can’t predict what will happen to media content
  • § E.g. someone Tweet something à goes viral
  • o Protection from pornography/ harm
  • o MA à can’t see unless 15+
  • o Constantly re-circulate through different media platforms e.g. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.
  • Recommendations
  • o Create a convergent media board – idea that the major stakeholders à state/federal government
  • § Theres a community of people who have expectations of the media they will find
  • § Protect community of users from content they think is alarming
  • o Self-regulation
  • § Not a mandatory internet filter
ú Get media self-regulated
  • o Industry commitment to codes of practices that enhance user agency
  • § A lot of these platforms have a level of accountability – privacy, copyright
  • o Support media literacy education
  • § Educating people, what their rights are
  • § Education children/parents ethics & social and online media
  • o Build strong national and international frameworks, support collaboration of government, industry and users
  • § Child pornography à produced and distributed on a local network
  • § Look at bigger picture need to think globally



Reading Notes:
Natalie Talevski
The Finkelstein Report
The Finkelstein Report begins by stressing the importance of Journalism and its watchdog function. It outlines how a free press is essential for a democratic society, and the responsibility of the media to be fair and accurate in reporting news.
The report then goes on to outline the existing regulatory frameworks for newspapers in Australia which include:
- ethical codes or standards
- some newspapers have an ombudsman or readers’ representative to handle complaints from the public
- the Australian Press Council to handle complaints from the public and monitor professional standards
Correspondingly, radio and television broadcasters have the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). There is, however, external regulation which applies to all news media. All news media must operate within the laws of Australia, most importantly within the laws of defamation and contempt.
After reviewing these regulatory frameworks, Finkelstein concluded that the current mechanisms were not sufficient to achieve the degree of accountability desirable in a democracy. His reasons were:
- Only one or two newspapers have an ombudsman and online publications are not covered
- The APC doesn’t have the necessary powers or funds to function effectively
- That ACMA’s processes are cumbersome and slow
- If legal proceedings are called for, they are protracted, expensive and offer redress only for legal wrongs, not for the more frequent complaints about inaccuracy or unfairness.
The report recommends the establishment of a new body, a News Media Council. This council would set journalistic standards and handle complaints from the public. Most importantly, it would be a statutory body, rather than a voluntary one like the APC. It would apply across all platforms, explicitly covering online news for the first time.
The report then goes on to talk about the changing business model of journalism. Finkelstein reaches the conclusion that at this stage there isn’t a case for government support. However, he acknowledges that the situation requires ongoing monitoring – a function he would give to the News Media Council.
Finkelstein’s final recommendation focuses on the need for careful monitoring of regional radio and television stations and newspapers. Evidence indicates that regional areas have cut back substantially on news gathering and this has subsequently left some communities poorly served for local news. He recommends that this issue be investigated by the government as a matter of some urgency.
Victoria Munoz Torres
The State as Media Regulator: Constraining Free Speech p.48-57
The very idea that the press and government are separate is critically important to how the press are perceived by citizens in a liberal democracy It is extremely diifficult to reduce the media in all its diversity and complexity into a single entity. In the 21st century, we conceive of the 'the press' to actually be the 'media' in an effort to recognize this diversity. This is now especially true with the advent of new media forms such as the Internet. The importance of electronic media lies in its implications for the applicability of the separation of the 'press' and the 'state,' After all, it is in this realm of electronic media that the state have a interventionist role- even in liberal democracies.Electronic media have in the past been subject of extensive state intervention due to the view held by the government that the electronic airwaves are a public resource that requires the intervention of the state in order to be properly regulated.
The liberal democratic state is a media actor at a number of levels including:
- indirect regulation: State's capacity to regulate on matters peripheral can affect operations of media organizations. Ex:power to regulate private corporations
- Direct regulation: Issuing licences, enforcing libel/ defamation laws,ect
- Public Policy Creation: Occurs when the state institutes a policy program and creates a government bureaucracy formulating media policy with a view to achieving particular outcomes
In sum, the 'Fourth Estate' model, with its assumption of separation, is too limited in scope.
The state as a regulator:
The issuing of licenses as a prerequisite for being able to broadcast electronically gives the state a significant policy instrument especially since governments attach conditions, rules, and regulations to the licenses they issue. Responsibility for the regulation of broadcasting rests with the federal government thanks to the High COurt's interpretation of section 51 of the Australian Constitution.
Eras of policy:
- 1972 and 1975: Era of substantial increase in government activity in in broadcast policy. Many reforms were undertaken in which the government's ability to issue broadcast licenses was used as an important policy instrument
- 1980s-1990s: Labor government Different approach to interventionist capacity. Period in which policy makers were influenced by arguments about the efficiency of the marketplace compared to the inefficiencies said to be inherent in state intervention. Public policy was preoccupied with withdrawing the state from the private economy and allowing the market to decide important issues. Hawke government south to alter the rules by which the private media were owned. . Central to this were the government's cross-media ownership rules.
Free Speech or No? The Enduring Controversy Over Censorship:
What is the state's capacity to limit free speech? Freedom of expression is central to most popular perceptions of what constitutes a liberal democratic culture. Censorship involves the state's regulatory capacity to place restrictions on the nature and conduct of materials transmitted by way of publciation. In some cases, the state will place restrictions on the availability of material. these forms of censorship tend to be justified by the state on utilitarian grounds.One argument is that not doing so could leave to causing harm, either to vulnerable individuals or to society as a whole. John Stuart Mills' argument against censorship is still used today by contemporary liberals arguing against censorship. Mills' position on the capacity of the individual to reason provides an attack on censorship o nthe grounds that t is an undue state interference in the private choice of individuals.



Tutorial Discussant:
Lia Alexandrou
How far do you think you could go with controlling or regulating content online? What do you believe could be done in order to better regulate what goes on online?
Since the FM radio stations are not being regulated like the AM ones, radio personalities like Kyle Sandilands are able to say anything they like. Should FM radio be treated in the same respect as AM and introduce regulators?
With children continuing to have greater understanding of technology then most of their parents, do you believe it'll continue getting harder to regulate what children do on the internet and watch on television with continuous technologies being introduced? Even though there are website blockers and iPhone trackers do you think children are still figuring ways around these barriers?
Hazal Alkac
Regulations changed for AM broadcasters in relations to who is paid to say what and the transparentcy of their endorsements, however, this was not the case for FM radio presenters. Do you think this is fair? Why do you think we draw a clear line between the two when they are both doing the same job?
To what extend do we rely on regulation in comparison to education? This arguement can be drawn back to last weeks lecture and readings in regards to teenagers and sexting.
What do you think we're doing wrong in media regulation, and what do you think we're doing right?

Respondent:
Taylor Grogan
How far do you think you could go with controlling or regulating content online? What do you believe could be done in order to better regulate what goes on online?
It's very difficult to monitor content online, particularly seeing as there is currently no common global paramters - each country has their own rules and regulations for online content. Perhaps better communication between countries as to what is considered acceptable online content could benefit the process of regulating content.
Since the FM radio stations are not being regulated like the AM ones, radio personalities like Kyle Sandilands are able to say anything they like. Should FM radio be treated in the same respect as AM and introduce regulators?
Fm typically does not deal with the same issues or 'hard news' topics that AM does, and therefore tend to have a different target audience. FM plays alot more music, whereas AM takes a lot of callers. Perhaps it would be a different story if both types of radio consistently dealt with the same issues.


Lecture 11; WEEK 12
Lecture Notes:
Amy Teutenberg
Setting the Agenda & Public Relations
The mass media may not be successful in telling people what to think, but they are stunningly good at telling us what to think about.
Agenda Setting
  • "The news media, our windows to the vast world beyond direct experience" - Walter Lippmann
  • A pseudo-environment composed of "the pictures in our head." - Lippmann (The media play an important role in furnishing and shaping such pictures.
  • News media agenda setters: organisations, interest groups, PR, political campaigns.
  • Editors and news directors focus our attention and influence our perceptions of what the most important issues are - they construct a second hand reality of events and situations.(Media gatekeeping)
Australia's News Agenda
  • Of the day ( Japanese body art) That comes & goes (Allan Jones, minority government, media regulation/ethics.) Longer term (asylum seekers, economy, climate science)
Chapel Hill
  • Donshaw & Maxwell McCombs - University of North Carolina 1968
  • Found that there is a correlation between peoples concerns and what is in the media
  • The public agenda tend to reflect the media agenda of the preceding one or two months.
Learning effect
  • Paul Lazarsfeld Incidental learning from the mass media - broadens our knowledge of society
  • The public learn a panoply of facts, many of which they incorporate into their images and attitudes about a variety of objects in their life.
  • Journalists see it as focused on informing - learning more central than persuading (serving the public interest, the people's right to know and freedom of information.
  • Demanding an open and transparent government and greater access to public records and government decision making and maintaining an informed citizenry.
Subsidising
  • Studies in the New York Times and Washington Post across a 20 year period found that nearly half of their news stories were substantially based on press releases. (McCombs 2004 p.102-3) In Australia this figure can be up to 70%
  • Spin: the particular angles, meaning pr interpretation assigned to a political event by a spin doctor (Franklin et al. 2005 p.250)
  • Spin strategis include: Rhetoric, repetition, rebuttal (above the line - routine announcements, publishing speeches, interview articles or below the line- staying on message, fire breaking, stoking the fire, personality, bullying.)
  • PR state - suggests that politics has come to be as much about presentation and spin as it has about public policy (timing announcements to increase political impact, engaging in TV & talkback radio with a large demographic and often sympathetic hosts to reinforce votes and avoid being misconstrued and misquotes)
The manufacture of doubt
  • Used by lobby groups especially to shift debate on particular topics
  • "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy." - In essence one does not have to prove the other side wrong but just sew seeds of doubt.
Hazal Alkac
Setting the Agenda
The media introduces ideas into society to influence conversation and discussion of topics in the agenda. Its not that the media tells audiences what to think, but more so that it creates a cycle of communication that is relevant to what it decides are the important stories.
Walter Lippmann defined this concept as the 'pseudo environment' creating cognitive maps that shape our perspective of the world.
A good example of the limitations of the 'pseudo environment' is the google 'bubble' that is now being created through search engines that tailor results according to the computer, location, interests of the user, previous searches, etc.
The influence comes from a cycle of information
public agenda > media agenda > patterns of news coverage > most important/prominent public issues > concerns of the public
Agenda setters can be:
  • organizations
  • interest groups
  • public relations
  • political campaigns
Editors and news directors hold a large amount of power and responsibility in what the audience pays attention to, and journalists become construct a 'second hand reality' of the issues by manufacturing the news in a selective way that highlights what is important to us.
Public Relations - is about shaping/subsidizing/capturing the media agenda
-a majority of news stories are created through press releases, whose main focus is promotion.
SPIN- information that is bias
Strategies include:
  • rhetoric
  • repetition
  • rebuttal
Above the line
  • routine announcements
  • publishing speeches, interviews, articles
Below the line - Spin doctoring
  • staying on the message
  • firebreaking
  • staking the fire
  • persnoality
  • bullying and intimidation
Politics has become much about presentation and spin as it has about public policy - meaning politicians are more worried about their image than their policies.
Journalistic integrity is compromised when journalists are cutting corners and using press release statements in their work as proven on Media Watch ep. 26.
Lobby Groups serve the purpose of manufacturing doubt, which is the best way of competing with 'the body of facts' held in the minds of the general public. Disproving a claim of a competitor is the same as proving your claim to be true - once doubt it present then argument and debate can arise.

Reading Notes:
New Media and the Prospects for Democracy - Jenny Kim
The Internet Revolution
- No longer are parliaments and media companies the gatekeepers of what we can see, hear and read.
- The profession of both politics and journalism are criticised for being the preserve of an elite.
o Don’t take the minority seriously
- New media undermines this structure and instils ‘horizontal communication’
o Horizontal Communication: communication between creators of content and their audience, the ability of new media to accommodate many more creators of content has made this more common.
- Dahlgren: media is responsible for the ‘sensationalism, trivialisation, personality fixation, horse-race mentality’
- Van Djik: 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.
o It will take time to completely decentralise power structures
- Internet was not designed as a public communication device
- Jenkins and Thoburn: ‘No centre, no gatekeeper, no margins’
- ‘New technologies have the potential to enable much wider participation in politics and in the media.’
o Relationships between organisations and groups will change
- Political change: internet used as a medium for political revolutions
- Also barred by the government e.g. the great firewall of China
Empowering the individual
- New media and the internet allows more freedom in content broadcasted than traditional media
- Thus, active engagement can only be encouraged
- McQuail: The media consumer can become ‘seeker, consultant, browser, respondent, interlocutor or conversationalist.’
- Bloggers represent a minority and feel the need to do so
o Strengths and weaknesses such as credibility etc
- Viral marketing: promote products through SNS
- Bloggers present a problem to traditional media in the sense that there are people who do this for free rather than for pay.
A Global Village
- On top of undermining the top-down structure of the media and politics in democracies, it allows for exchanges.
- Exchange between anyone with access to technology.
- Internet opens a divide between those with access to it and those without access
- Juris: Some groups are using new media to bypass existing political and media structures from democratic ‘laboratories’
- SMS campaign caused the Cronulla protest-turned-riots
Debates and Controversies
Can social media encourage more young people to engage with politics?
- Technology has always been used by Politicians to reach out to a wider audience
- The instantaneous nature of new media can actually take us further way from deliberative ideal.
- Just because the communication is available, not everyone will use it
- Using internet for entertainment rather than politics like television.
Do new media undermine intellectual property?
- Western governments are often reluctant to regulate the internet, defamation and copyright still applies to it.
- Extending the copyright law length will not increase creativity.
- Mainly people are worried about the internet undermining the value of their intellectual property.
- It is unlikely that piracy on the internet will drive out whole industries (books?)
- However some things don’t want financial reward for their intellectual property – Wikipedia
Anthea Floudas: Chapter five "The politics of spin"

Media gives citizens a chance to “check” on the government and is a way of communicating between local and federal representatives. Journalists are widely employed in all levels of the government as media advisors, public relations practitioners, speech writers and political advisers. Definition of 'spin': an effort to persuade individuals or the public; used pejoratively to suggest that a proposition is unlikely.
Idea that the media and government are interdependent, however the government is more powerful because of the changing face of traditional media.
Journalistic values are also compromised as there are less journalists that have to accommodate to different media platforms.
Government communications strategies: time announcements to maximise media coverage to advertising campaigns. Press releases, media conferences and contacts with editors in the free media are exploited by the government for better media coverage.
Advertising and public relations methods:
-advertising cost is not a concern for governments, therefore are able to make regular media appearances to convey their views.
- there is an increasing importance of image: politicians change strategies to suit different media platforms.
Is the media manipulated by the government?:
- media publishes press releases (bias to government perspective)
- leaking specific stories
- can use their power against negative journalists
These all introduce fears of a media that is so intertwined and influenced by the government it is completely biased.
Media advisors have grown since the 1970's. Roles of a media advisor include, writing press releases, informing employer about stories, write speeches, photo opportunities and communicate with other government agencies to ensure consistency when providing journalists with information.
Summary: There has been an increase in government spending on advertising, causing politicians to adopt techniques to avoid journalists through the use of a dedicated media team (media advisors, public relations practitioners etc)
This calls into question the integrity and responsibility of politicians and can be considered unethical, although there have been some attempts to restrict uses of political advertising through legislation (eg Government Advertising Bill 2000un

Tutorial Discussant:
Stephanie Park
Question 1. Studies of the New York Times have found that over a 20 year period, nearly half of the stories produced were based on press releases. Does this affect the validity of the information? Bias/Unbias?
2. As described in the lecture, is political news based widely on personalities as opposed to policies? E.g. Barack Obama's campaign emphasising a black American president
3.Do opinions made by media experts influence our judgement on political figures? (i.e. satirical jokes)
4. How does modern media empower the individual? Do you believe that interaction between individuals on issues helps us to shape our views on what kind of issues are important and what are not?
5. To what extent has Twitter and Facebook influenced our consumption of political news media? As discussed, do you believe that Barack Obama's twitter spree has helped voters to affirm ballots in his favour?
Victoria Munoz Torres
1. Why is it that western governments have historically been reluctant to try and regulate the internet?
2. According to McQuail, the media consumer of the 21st century can be "seeker, consultant, browser, respondent, interlocutor or conversationalist." What repercussions does this new plethora of roles available to people who could once only be consumers have on the media environment?
3. As discussed in lecture, why do lobby groups "manufacture" doubt in order to further their political agendas? In your answer, make sure to discuss the power of doubt and what it can accomplish in the minds of a a large group of people.
Amie Hamling
1. Do you think we are forced to consume the most important news events and stories from the perspective of news directors and editors? Are the stories presented the perceptions of news media agenda setters or more subjective on what we decide to consume?
2. How do new technologies affect participation in politics and the media? Should active engagement be encouraged?
Respondent:

Taylee Lewis
(response to Stephanie Park)
Q 1. Press releases are formulated to highlight a particular opinion. For example, if a government produced a press release then it would clearly push their political stance, but also be carefully drafted. So often, what you have is a comment by O'Farrell for example, that is actually
articulated by his media team. Regarding the validity, yes it is valid, but you must take into account the background, and that it is bias, as it would not include comments that are against O'Farrell. What the journalist needs to take into account is this fact, and go and research further in order to produce a piece of work that has various opinions, so that their article is not bias.
Q 2. Agreed. Political news circulates around the personality of the politician, often more than the policies. This is termed presidentialisation, and is common as many journalists believe this is what the public responds to. In regards to Obama, the American political system is different to begin with, they do elect a President, so obviously their character needs to be considered. Here, we vote for a MP in our area, and thus elect a party more so than the Prime minister. There was debate surrounding Gillard's take over of Rudd. People commented that they did not elect her, however this argument has no merit as they elected the labour party. It is their choice who they choose as leader. I think the media's focus on the personality is an issue, especially in cases like the Rudd/Gillard swap. Simply, many people felt 'ripped off' and that is essentially the media's fault to leading them to believe our system works that way.
Q 3. It depends who you ask, if you are an informed individual then you won't exactly be influenced by the fact that Gillard has no fruit in her fruit bowl. It should be about policies, not trivial matters.
Q 4. It empowers in the sense that it creates opportunity. Social media allows individuals to directly engage with political debate e.g on programs like Q & A. But is this superficial engagement? Do we think we are empowered? But really our voice is just lost in cyber space?
Q 5. Obama is extremely tactical in his twitter. Through twitter he is attempting to engage the youth, those who usually (proved by statistics) do not vote. He is attracting them, and addressing them through a platform which they are comfortable with. It also allows them to directly engage with him (well, his media department). FB and twitter influence the consumption of political news media in the sense that people can get immediate updates. MP's can tweet from inside question time, therefore news regarding policies is immediate, updated regularly.
Natalie Talevski (response to VictoriaMunoz Torres)
Q.1 One of the main reason governments are reluctant to try and regulate the internet is because it is simply too hard. New technologies such as the internet are evolving at an extremely rapid pace which the government is struggling to match. Another major source of contention is the reluctance of society to be censored. Freedom of expression and freedom of communication come into question when attempting to regulate the internet. Independence from government and diversity of choice are also potentially threatened by excessive and unnecessary regulation. These arguments, combined with the technical difficulties of enforcing internet laws, have all contributed to a general reluctance to try and regulate the internet.

Q.2 This has led to a more pluralistic media environment where everyone can produce and share content. As the boundaries between producer and consumer become increasingly blurred, the old one way model of communication has become increasingly irrelevant. New media technologies have broken down the hierarchical structure that previously characterised the flow of information and created a media environment where producers and consumers can engage in a dialogic relationship.

Lecture 12; WEEK 13
Lecture Notes:
Reading Notes:
Chapter 11 Global Politics, Global Media
Lucie street
Chapter 11 Global Politics, Global Media

Media, war and terrorism
- Over centuries of war countries have become increasingly aware of the value of controlling information as the press has been able to shape public opinion and provide wartime coverage
- It wasn’t until ww1 that governments began to realize the importance of psychological warfare, not just in shaping the thinking of opponents but also in getting the citizenry behind the war. This involved maintaining morale at home and attempting to influence opinion in neutral and combatant countries.
- New laws were introduced during this period that allowed extensive censorship of newspapers and propaganda was widely disseminated
- In ww2 there was a growth in the development of cinema and radio broadcasting as it played an important role in reaching the part of the population who did not read newspapers.
- Under these conditions of national emergency, pressure on the media comes not just from the government but also the public. For example coverage of the Vietnam war was more vivid and timely due to the evolution of television which was the first war, in all its gruesome detail, that was brought into peoples lounge rooms. Some believe that continual coverage of the horrors of war eroded public support. Since Vietnam war a range of strategies has been tried to better manage the effect of television coverage of military conflicts
- The preparation and conduct of war ultimately exposes the limitations of the liberal model of truth-seeking media as many media outlets were tightly controlled during conflict, serving the ends of a dominate elite.
- Media today is heavily focused on providing entertainment to the masses, serious news consumes only a tiny percentage of the media resources, and coverage of foreign affairs show a bias favourable to the interests of the state.
- Terrorism introduces quite a different perspective about the media and conflict since the security of the state is not under any serious threat but the lives of the citizens may still be endangered. The internet has enabled terrorist to bypass mass media in promoting their cause, making the internet an important tool for spreading propaganda, instructive messages, publishing training manuals etc.

CNN effect
- the background to the CNN effect stems from the concept of humanitarian intervention. The real time coverage of global events like war made accessible by the internet and television, has influenced the decision of nations like America to step in help the situation.
- The instant and continuous coverage of war forces decisions upon countries that they would rather delay.
- Livingstone identifies three elements of the CNN effect
  1. images of humanitarian disasters frame the foreign policy agenda away from hard headed notion of the national interest towards emotional concerns
  2. instant coverage of events forces accelerated decision making response time
  3. graphic images of war undermine public moral and support for a conflict
- the CNN effect refers not just to television but also more generally to our globalized media. E.g the boxing day 2004 media tsunami, after news broke, groups from around the world were raising funds, mobilized resources, held benefit concerts etc which subsequently lead to the worlds biggest ever relief efforts. Some people argue if new coverage of a single event can move million of people around the world to take action in support of their fellow human beings, surely the power of the global media can help to make the world a better place.
- The CNN effect certainly causes greater urgency in debates over foreign policy, but also affects the priority that foreign affairs have in our wider political debate.
- When thinking about events such as 9/11 or the bali bombings, we should ask ourselves whose agenda is being served when media focuses and concentrates on the effects of terrorism to the exclusion of other humanitarian crisis’s.
Jenny Ky
CHAPTER TEN: NEW MEDIA AND THE PROSPECTS FOR DEMOCRACY

The potential for new media to change the way news about politics is created and distributed:
  • New media enables much more HORIZONTAL COMMUNICATION, i.e. communication between creators of content and their audience; the ability of new media to accommodate many more creators of content has made this much more common.
    • Traditionally had a much more top-down approach where audiences were seen as receptors and the elite made decisions that the majority of people felt they were unable to influence.
  • Mass media seen as being responsible for “sensationalism, trivialisation and personality fixation” – broadcasting “brought us closer to the oppressive Orwellian vision of mass communication as propaganda.” (p. 177)
  • Interactivity of new media allows for a “town hall democracy” whereby citizens can gather to debate issues and make decisions – every personal computer is a printing press, every mobile phone a camera.

Ways in which new media are altering the structures of politics and communication in our society:
  • Information technology has the potential to centralise and diffuse political power, depending on which groups are better organised to take advantage of technology. (Van Dijk 1999: 84)
  • However, while power structures are becoming more diffused and decentralised, the old hierarchical structures will remain influential.
  • Because the Internet was not created through a system of government licensing, the ethos has been to resist corporate and government control. As it is a network, the online world has “no centre, no gatekeeper, no margins.” (p. 178)

Impact of new technologies on some of the essential parts of the media as we know them, such as news gathering and copyright protection
  • New technologies have the potential to enable wider participation in politics and media, changing the relationship between institutions and consumers.
  • New media also empowers the individual – the media consumer can become “seeker, consultant, browser, respondent, interlocutor or conversationalist” (p. 180) – allowing us to actively engage with our media.
  • Blogs also allow people to report on stories they think may be underreported; “media outlets can no longer get away with sloppy journalism… similarly, the comments facility on blogs has enabled instant response, debate and debunking.” (p. 181)
    • This therefore provides individuals with social autonomy for those with interests outside the mainstream – the internet frees them from government and corporate control of what they read, watch and say.
  • There is an infinite number of people providing free content changes the economics of the media – the internet provides media organisations with competition for audience and agenda setting. Also consider how it’s much easier for us to obtain information for free, and the implications this has regarding copyright and intellectual property.
  • The Internet as a GLOBAL VILLAGE, allowing for us to communicate with anyone who has access to the technology: supports “virtual communities, bringing together groups of people with common interests regardless of where they happen to live.” (p. 183)
  • The Internet as a way for young people to re-engage with politics – however, just because technology enables us to communicate with governments or new social movements it doesn’t people will actually bother. Online activism may break down some forms of exclusion while perpetuating others – online spaces tend to be more populated by more educated sections of society.

Tutorial Discussant:
Kelly Huynh
Countries like China and Egypt censor the internet, at what costs in regards to the following do you think they might have?
a) politically, and
b) socially

Does new media such as Twitter, making political Facebook groups, or signing online petitions, make us feel a true sense of independence and opposition? Does this multi-faceted platform only cause a feeling of contributing to possible change, or is it actually capable of creating a turning of attitudes that ultimately could affect politics?
Taylor Grogan
To what extent does the news media “construct” our reality?

Owing to the highly concentrated media in Australia, to what extent do you think the media “shapes the world beyond our experience?”

Politicians are starting to bypass journalists, instead appearing live on radio and television interviews. Do you see this as beneficial to the information we receive as an audience? Or do you think this only heightens political bias, whereas journalists are not given the opportunity to ask the hard questions?
Respondent:
Amy Teutenberg
In this weeks tutorial we discussed the development of the internet and how this has shifted the power towards the audience as producers and the ever increasing global nature of the media. My group discussed Kelly Huynh's question:
Does new media such as Twitter, making political Facebook groups, or signing online petitions, make us feel a true sense of independence and opposition? Does this multi-faceted platform only cause a feeling of contributing to possible change, or is it actually capable of creating a turning of attitudes that ultimately could affect politics?


The group agreed that our participation in new media can make a difference and affect change in society (whether this be positively or negatively) SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) was mentioned in that it is an example where people's engagement in the online community through partitions against the bill became a large oppositional force against and ultimately preventing the bill's implementation. Civilian opinion leaders who use new social media as their voice are capable of creating a turning of attitudes in society, often influencing people's political opinions, beliefs and attitudes which can ultimately affect politics. Social media backlash from ordinary citizens which occurs often can also affect change in that it influences the actions of organisations or people in response to their criticisms. For example companies are often forced to apologise or compensate people for wrongdoings after having received considerable amounts of strong complaints from people via Facebook or twitter, such as when Channel 7 invaded the privacy of a family which had just lost their daughter in a quad bike accident. Another issue raised was the considerable amounts of messages sent to celebrities from citizens or the creation of Facebook groups asking for them to donate to charity if they get a certain amount of likes. This is an example of people utilising the power of new media to stir positive action through mass support which can be so readily gained on the internet. Our group also acknowledged however that sometimes our actions on the internet are not so significant and that sometimes despite our efforts, many voices become drowned out due to the sheer size and scope of the internet and vast numbers of causes which people are attempting advocate. Despite the internet providing more opportunities to communicate, giving people a voice, there still exists those who have more influence, power and reach and are more likely to affect the politics in society.