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What’s wrong with Australian media? Your say
In response to the recent sacking over 100 staff from Fairfax, the government announced their intention to ease regulation on media ownership in Australia, opening the way to an even more concentrated main stream media than already exists. On the Reporters Without Border Press Freedom index of 180 countries, Australia ranks 25th and stands out as the most concentrated markets for media ownership in the world.
— peacemaker (@P34C3_M4K3R) May 7, 2017
In response to this announcement, Senate Committee members launched a public inquiry into the issues facing the Future of Public Interest Journalism and began hearings on Wednesday 17 May.
Senate Committee Members
Chair: Sam Dastyari (Australian Labor Party , NSW) Deputy Chair: Senator Scott Ludlam (Australian Greens , WA) Member: Senator Jonathon Duniam (Liberal Party of Australia , TAS) Member: Senator James Paterson (Liberal Party of Australia , VIC) Member: Senator the Hon Lisa Singh (Australian Labor Party , TAS) Member: Senator Nick Xenophon (Nick Xenophon Team , SA)
Participating Members:Senators Eric Abetz, Chris Back, Catryna Bilyk, Carol Brown, David Bushby, Doug Cameron, Kim Carr, Anthony Chisholm, Jacinta Collins, Richard Di Natale, Patrick Dodson, Don Farrell, David Fawcett, Alex Gallacher, Katy Gallagher, Stirling Griff, Sarah Hanson-Young, Jane Hume, Skye Kakoschke-Moore, Chris Ketter, Kimberley Kitching, Sue Lines, Ian Macdonald, Gavin Marshall, Jenny McAllister, Malarndirri McCarthy, Bridget McKenzie, Nick McKim, Claire Moore, Deborah O’Neill, Barry O’Sullivan, Helen Polley, Louise Pratt, Linda Reynolds, Lee Rhiannon, Janet Rice, Rachel Siewert, Dean Smith, Glenn Sterle, Anne Urquhart, Larissa Waters, Peter Whish-Wilson, John Williams, Penny Wong
With submissions due on 15 June I was concerned the public would miss the chance to have their say on media ownership, fake news, whistleblowing and other issues feeding into public interest journalism. I requested an extension of the submission date. None was granted but I was assured that late submissions would be considered by the Committee.
To facilitate public input into the Inquiry, I have created an online survey intended to allow people to air their concerns and provide feedback on the suggestions for ways to fund public interest journalism put forward in the public hearing last Wednesday (Hansard). To support discussion of the issues leading to the Inquiry and implementation of community driven solutions, I also set up a Slack ‘team’ called Australian Citizen Journalism Network. This is a new community aimed at supporting collaborations between citizen journalists and the public and builds on my recently launched Sydney Citizen Journalism Meetup. To join the Slack community DM me with your email address for invite or discuss issues affecting public interest journalism at the #PIJ hashtag.
The survey begins with an FAQ which explains that survey responses will be published however no personal information is sought. There is no rule against identifying yourself in survey responses but any input that constitutes a serious accusation or disclosure should not be made through this survey.
Parliamentary Inquiries extend Parliamentary Privilege to evidence to Committees and for this to apply, such evidence needs to go unpublished prior to being considered by the Senate Committee. The survey is not for serious accusations or disclosures which should be made separately and confidentially. There’s more about making your own separate submission here.
The survey begins with four required, closed ended questions. These are to place respondents into basic sub-groups and to get a basic feel for concern across the issues most likely to be relevant to the Committee. These closed questions are all relevant to the Terms of Reference and should provide insight into concerns of everyday Australian citizens and media consumers.
Following this each Term of Reference a) through to f) are presented for comment. These questions are optional, open-ended and responses are unlimited in length. Survey participants can either respond or move on to the next Term of Reference. You can edit your answers until you click Done at the end of the survey. If you’re short of time you can just do the 4 closed questions. If you have more time and want to make a longer statement, add your comments (in the survey) to the relevant TOR:
TERMS of REFERENCE
(a) the current state of public interest journalism in Australia and around the world, including the role of government in ensuring a viable, independent and diverse service;
(b) the adequacy of current competition and consumer laws to deal with the market power and practices of search engines, social media aggregators and content aggregators, and their impact on the Australian media landscape;
(c) the impact on public interest journalism of search engines and social media internet service providers circulating fake news, and an examination of counter measures directed at online advertisers, ‘click-bait’ generators and other parties who benefit from disinformation;
(d) the future of public and community broadcasters in delivering public interest journalism, particularly in underserviced markets like regional Australia, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities;
(e) examination of ‘fake news’, propaganda, and public disinformation, including sources and motivation of fake news in Australia, overseas, and the international response; and
(f) any related matters.
The input received is immediately publicly available and will be shared as the survey progresses to stimulate public discussion. I will need time to compile, analyse and create a submission based on input so will likely close the submission to input prior to the closing date of submissions but that date remains to be determined.
May 23, 2017 / Rosie / 0