20 March 2013
As if re-living the dread of having school assignments returned by the teacher with red-pen-gone-haywire cross-outs, corrections and comments, journalists now fear Stephen Conroy‘s plans to have a government appointed watchman, red pen in hand, overseeing every columnist, commentator, contributor, correspondent and reporter in the country, making sure that nothing disparaging of his government will reach the eyes and/or ears of the sensitive electorate which is so easily influenced by adverse press.
That’s what some sections of the media would have us believe as they rail against this so-called draconian threat to press freedom and freedom of speech.
Senator Conroy, whose proposed media legislation to introduce regulatory powers over the media’s existing independent and self-regulating bodies, has at Julia Gillard’s apparent last-minute instigation, effectively pointed a toy pop gun at the cannon power of the media, News Limited in particular, as if in protest that they are using their heavy artillery to damage the government. Silly sausage Stephen!
One of most vociferous opponents of the legislation has been News Limited’s Sydney Telegraph papers, and if Conroy had his way, the vitriol in the following Sunday Telegraph article (17 March 2013) would have been duly moderated with the proverbial red pen – in the public interest of course!
FEDERAL Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is a (sook). sensitive new age guy.
(In fact, it is you people at the Telegraph who are the sooks because you are upset at the prospect of being forced to moderate your blatant bias against the Gillard government.)
His (attack) proposed legislation on media freedoms is an emotional reaction to what he perceives as a (section of the media out to get him and the Gillard government). valuable initiative in the public interest. Normally a (dummy spit) bill of this monumental proportion would be nothing more than (a minor amusement). due democratic process. But this is a case of a federal minister (manipulating) enhancing public policy to exact a personal (vendetta). moral and ethical stance.
And that makes him a (sook) nice bloke with a (dangerous) principled agenda.
The government’s drive to introduce regulatory control over our media began with events in the UK. According to Prime Minister Gillard, phone hacking conducted by British papers owned by News Corporation somehow implicated publications in Australia. Gillard said the British breaches caused people to “ask some questions here in our country, some questions about News Ltd here”.
The Prime Minister has never explained what those questions might be. (Isn’t it self evident?) Even this week, Mr Conroy’s office declined to cite examples of media behaviour that supported the move for greater control. , because they were too numerous to detail before the deadline of this article going to print. We would submit, yet again, that phone hacking is a British media phenomenon without local parallel. (I’ll let that one go through to the keeper.)
Following a (pointless) valuable and albeit expensive media inquiry, which Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood (correctly) incorrectly noted had no reason to exist, the government now (proposes) provides more than 200 pages of legislation to (rule) assist your newspapers and the wider press. Citizens in totalitarian states are familiar with the results of government control over media. (Just as trees are green and the sky is blue.)
Conroy was (upset) amused over last Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph front page humourously linking him to historically oppressive government figures, but he cannot deny the essential truth behind the (potent) tongue-in-cheek image: any level of government control over media represents a diminished level of media freedom. to rightly maintain fairness, accuracy and privacy in reporting, and to preserve the imperatives of balanced and objective journalism. After all, Conroy could see the ironic parallel between historically oppressive government figures and manipulative modern-day media barons.
(As) If media freedoms are diminished, so too are the freedoms of readers and consumers. who deserve to be informed in an honest and objective manner. That is why this issue is so very critical, and why Australia’s collective media organisations are aligned in (opposition) support of Conroy’s proposed legislation. This is not a News Ltd issue, as much as Mr Conroy tried to make it thus. All the media recognises the huge social and democratic importance of its onerous responsibilities. Those few commentators who dismiss the (concerns) support of media organisations over the government’s plans should ask themselves how they might enjoy life under a regulatory-free framework that (interfered) gave them free rein with their own misguided rights to free expression. Such commentators tend to be unfriendly towards the present government, but the true (menace) beauty of media regulation is that it may well not change depending on the government of the day. What is considered acceptable by one government may not be considered so by another. , but the regulator will be impartial.
According to Conroy’s proposed legislation, a Public Interest Media Advocate would be appointed by the government to consider, among other things, the connection between media coverage and as yet undefined “community standards”. The Minister has argued the advocate would be “benign”, which of course immediately begs the question why one (is needed). has not already been appointed. We believe community standards are better judged by the community, who are already able to voice concerns via any number of channels, including media outlets themselves. , however we accept that “community standards” require clarification. Adding a (needless) valuable layer of government (intrusion) involvement would (damage) enhance the relationship between media and the public. Forget Mr Conroy’s tears. of joy. If this legislation is passed, Australians will really have a reason to weep. for those less fortunate countries where the media is more powerful than democratically elected governments, able to bring down governments it disapproves of by indoctrinating its audiences.
Write a piece on the following proposition:
Media freedom of speech is tantamount to freedom to unduly and irresponsibly influence public thinking.