After recent findings of “phone hacking” in one of the UK’s leading newspapers and the recently defunct (News of the World), The Australian government has been quick to hand down a report outlining Australia’s media ownership regulations.
The battle lines have been drawn, after which Mr Ray Finkelstein QC (Queens Council) stressed the establishment of the News Media Council was ”not about increasing the power of government or about imposing some form of censorship”.
Given that the introduction of the NMC (News Media Council) would be responsible for the regulation of radio, print, television and online news media organisations, it is no wonder that according to Margaret Simons of Crikey (An Australian based private media publisher) that “you will find it difficult to get an idea of what the Finkelstein report on news media regulation actually says, or why it has reached its controversial conclusions, from reading the mainstream media”.
One outrageous front page headline titled “Labour plan to control the media” from The Australian Financial Review (March 3, 2012), claimed nothing of the sought. In fact the article written by Laura Tingle & Andrew White was “fair and balanced” and highlighted the need for the NMC to be able to force news organisations to publish corrections or apologies.
In an opinion piece by the same newspaper (AFN) – “Media review gets unjustified bad press” (March 19, 2012) by Rodney Tiffen, an emeritus professor in government and international relations at the University of Sydney, who worked on the Finkelstein Report slammed the headline claiming that “The headline was palpably and irresponsibly inaccurate”.
Whatever the findings (I am still trying to decipher the 88 page report), It is clear that print media have serious issues with introduction of the council.
Has their constant refusal to conform or self regulate bought this upon themselves? What will be the next steps for the NMC?