Media

Lies, ‘fake news’ and cover-ups: how has it come to this in Western democracies?

The Liberal leadership spill and Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall is but the latest instalment in a game of musical chairs that has dominated Australian politics for the best part of a decade. Joseph Camilleri The Conversation For many, it has been enough to portray Tony Abbott as the villain of the story. Others have pointed to Peter Dutton and his allies as willing, though not-so-clever, accomplices. There’s also been a highlighting of the herd instinct: once self-serving mutiny gathers steam, others ... Read More »

Turkey Needs the EU—The Question Is How Much Its Relationship Will Cost

European governments are currently witnessing a seemingly positive move by Turkey’s leadership toward the EU. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe On the surface, this makes sense: Turkey’s economy is in very dire straits (and still depends on European markets and financial flows); the Lira is plummeting; hurtful sanctions have recently been imposed by the United States (and more may be coming); and Russia is having it its way in Syria (which… As a result, the Turkish foreign ministry is issuing statements. ... Read More »

Alan Jones contacted MPs to urge change

Controversial radio host Alan Jones has opened up about his role in last week’s Liberal leadership spill, saying he contacted MPs to say the party had to change direction. 9news “I contacted certain MPs, yes, and encouraged them to recognise that if they wanted to go, Australia wanted to go the same way, there had to be change,” he told the ABC TV’s 7.30 program on Monday. “I didn’t turn against Turnbull, but I turned against the (energy) policy,” he ... Read More »

Cancer eating the heart of Australian democracy

Beneath the sound and light show that passed for Australian politics last week, there is a much deeper question of what underlying forces have been at work that have brought us this low. Kevin Rudd The Sydney Morning Herald The uncomfortable truth is since the coup of June 2010, Australian politics has become vicious, toxic and unstable. The core question is why? There have been many factors at work. First, the histrionic politics of climate change dividing the nation for ... Read More »

Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound

When the reading brain skims texts, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings or to perceive beauty. We need a new literacy for the digital age Maryanne Wolf The Guardian Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email ... Read More »

Nicaragua crisis: how democracy dies in the era of fake news

For decades, Central America was mostly sidelined as far as global news was concerned. Doug Specht The Conversation That all looked set to change with the advent of digital media, which initially promised to put previously marginalised voices on the world stage. But instead, the age of social media and fake news might have ushered in something much worse than obscurity: an entanglement of news and rumour that’s dividing populations, spilling blood on the streets, and transforming the relationship between ... Read More »

‘We are real’: Saudi feminists launch online radio

Operating out of a small room in an unknown country, a new internet radio station broadcasts a programme aimed at campaigning for greater women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Alma Hassoun BBC With melancholy music playing in the background, the presenter of Nsawya FM (Feminism FM) addresses the issue of domestic violence in the Gulf kingdom. The presenter’s voice shakes with emotion as she discusses the fate of Sara, a woman she says was killed by a male relative. She was ... Read More »

Dead cat after dead cat after dead cat. The media is being gamed

In 2012, as editor of the Brisbane Times, I wrote what, in those relatively genteel times, seemed a provocative op-ed describing then billionaire Clive Palmer as a “duplicitous fool”. Conal Hanna Brisbane Times The piece, written before Palmer’s subsequent political career, came after a bizarre press conference rant alleging conspiracies between the CIA and Greenpeace. “Like his fellow Queenslander Bob Katter, Mr Palmer has carved out a fantastic niche for himself where he’s considered important enough that people listen, but ... Read More »

Profit, not free speech, governs media companies’ decisions on controversy

For decades, U.S. media companies have limited the content they’ve offered based on what’s good for business. The decisions by Apple, Spotify, Facebook and YouTube to remove content from commentator Alex Jones and his InfoWars platform follow this same pattern. Amanda Lotz The Conversation My research on media industries makes clear that government rules and regulations do little to limit what television shows, films, music albums, video games and social media content are available to the public. Business concerns about ... Read More »

Australian media are playing a dangerous game using racism as currency

It has been quite a week for race-laden discourse in the Australian media. There was Blair Cottrell, a notorious pro-Hitler extremist, appearing on Sky News and calling for a race-based immigration policy. Denis Muller The Conversation There was Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun sounding the tocsin about how “there is no ‘us’ anymore”, how Australia was being overwhelmed by a “tidal wave of immigration” and ethnic “colonies”: Jews, Indians, Chinese, Muslims, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Italians. A speech in London last ... Read More »

Andrew Bolt got his facts wrong. But that’s not the only thing wrong with his column

Bolt’s column illustrates the steady and sinister drift of Australia’s national conversation towards a permissible racism Robert Manne The Guardian Last week four Murdoch tabloids – the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, the Courier Mail and the Adelaide Advertiser – published an opinion column by Andrew Bolt. The headline the Telegraph chose, “The Foreign Invasion”, was not inaccurate. According to Bolt, Australia was losing its identity. The principal cause was “a tidal wave of immigrants” who refused to assimilate and treated Australia not ... Read More »

Wielding power, waging war: Media moguls’ relevance fading

Back in 2011, the outspoken American-born pay TV executive John Porter lamented an obsession in the Australian business press with media moguls. John McDuling The Sydney Morning Herald “[E]veryone in the media industry seems to want to go back to the natural order of things: a Packer, a Murdoch and a Stokes pulling all the strings” Porter, chief executive of satellite pay TV company Austar at the… It has only taken seven years, but Porter’s desire to move on from ... Read More »

Slow down, get real.

In trying to understand the threat of fake news, a strange thing is occurring. We seem to have accepted without challenge the purity of that which is threatened. This is an edited version of a speech delivered at the annual conference of the Society of Risk Analysis Europe held at Mid Sweden University earlier this month. Nicholas Karides * How well did the media system work before this fakeness appeared? How real has real news been? The historian Noah Yoval ... Read More »

Race politics is back – and the far-right are loving it

Race politics is back. Right now, it feels like there has never been a more exciting time to be a dog-whistling politician or race-baiting commentator in Australia. Tim Soutphommasane Brisbane Times Five years ago, when I began my term as Race Discrimination Commissioner, I wouldn’t have said it was likely that we would see the resurgence of far-right politics. I wouldn’t have expected that the biggest threats to racial harmony would come from within our parliaments and media. Race looms ... Read More »

Why the mainstream media should stop giving extreme views a platform

In recent weeks, a number of quite astounding articles have appeared in the British press. These have included among others, a Times columnopining the benefit to Britain in the current climate of having a political leader like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; referred to as… Chris Allen The Conversation In the Daily Telegraph, a similarly toned piece contemplated the reinstatement of the death penalty after Brexit. Somewhat appealing to the lowest common denominator, these and similar articles prompt questions ... Read More »

Why the media are to blame for racialising Melbourne’s ‘African gang’ problem

Just before Channel 7 aired a Sunday Night special devoted to Melbourne’s “African gangs” problem earlier this month, the race discrimination commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, went on Twitter to criticise a promotion spot as “fear-mongering and… John Budarick The Conversation The same could be said of a string of stories in the Australian media in recent months on violent incidents committed by “African gangs” or people of “African appearance”. The death of a 19-year-old Sudanese woman at a party in Melbourne ... Read More »