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Media inquiry has to do more than gather dust

It appears the government has decided to conduct a media inquiry, with details to be announced this afternoon.

To be accurate, it’s conducting another inquiry. Its convergence review, chaired by Glen Boreham with Louise McElvogue and Malcolm Long, has been underway for months, and is intended to cover off not merely technical and regulatory issues, but media diversity as well.

Some weeks ago, as the phonehacking row embroiled Rupert Murdoch himself, the Government also promised a discussion paper on a right to privacy, following up the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2008 recommendations. The promised paper has never appeared. Presumably it will be rolled into the new media inquiry.

Inevitably there will be howls of outrage from News Ltd and the Opposition about an inquiry (although, oddly, not a peep was heard about the terms of reference of the convergence review). Tony Abbott has already said it “looks like a naked attempt to intimidate the media.” And, true, any time politicians set about purporting to inquire into the conduct of the media, they should be watched closely. Few politicians come to the issue of media regulation with pure motives. Nonetheless, there remain areas of concern beyond privacy, particularly around the capacity of the communications industry regulator to effectively and independently police the media, and the extent to which public policy should actively support diversity and quality journalism.

The longer-term question, however, is whether the report resulting from such an inquiry will end up gathering dust on a bureaucrat’s bookshelf — alongside all the over media inquiry reports of the last two decades.

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  • 1
    jonah Stiffhausen
    Posted Tuesday, 13 September 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Hows of outrage? As there should be from you mob too.

  • 2
    david
    Posted Tuesday, 13 September 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    let the buggers howl, they have brought this on themselves, the Jones and Bolts of the world, who believe they are the real law of the land, are close to their day of truth about their disgusting behaviour,

  • 3
    jonah Stiffhausen
    Posted Tuesday, 13 September 2011 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, let’s censor those with disagreeable opinions. That’s not dangerous, is it?

  • 4
    jonah Stiffhausen
    Posted Tuesday, 13 September 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Better still, why not just invent a law under the auspices of “hate crime” and then prosectute!
    Brilliant. Bye bye, shock jocks, hello Adolf……er …… well you know what I mean.

  • 5
    Gail
    Posted Tuesday, 13 September 2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Mr Stiffhausen, I live in a state that has only one newspaper. What is strange about my belief that media diversity is a good thing? As I rarely watch TV, the Internet is my major source of information. The print media available to me dominated by opinion rather than information. As a very long term Internet user, I have options and I know how to access them. There are many that only have that single newspaper with it’s limited scope. I believe this is not a good thing and that the domination of the print media in Australia by a single publisher is a bad thing. Surely your reference to known historical propaganda techniques applies equally in a corporate circumstance?

    A desire for more diverse opinion somehow equates to “what” in your world view?

    Define the difference between corporate propaganda and any other sort of propoganda for me.

  • 6
    david
    Posted Tuesday, 13 September 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Whats your agenda mr Stiffhausen, apart from being happy with Murdocks 70% domination of the market in Australia?

  • 7
    jonah Stiffhausen
    Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I’m with you Gail. That’s why any “government” meddling in media is dangerous. Glad to hear you don’t watch TV, it is just a brainwashing apparatus.
    In fact any action by “govt” is dangerous, not only to our liberties but is counter productive when we’re talking about economics.
    As for domination by a single publisher, of course it’s not a good thing, but what’s the alternative? A “govt” outlet ala Pravda?.
    Actually, what should happen is new print outlets should be encouraged by taxation exemptions etc etc, but of course any print is dangerous for those in power and must be mottled by whatever means possible, and at last refuge by libel laws, which do little except protect the charlatans and perverts in parliament.

  • 8
    jonah Stiffhausen
    Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Not happy either Dave but what can one do about it?
    Surely you’re not arguing for a “govt” news agency?

  • 9
    david
    Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Surely you’re not arguing for a “govt” news agency?

    Whats that got to do with the enquiry? Stupid comment. There will be an enquiry, unstead of bleating, wait for the details and the outcome.

  • 10
    jonah Stiffhausen
    Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Stupid comment? Well thank you very much.
    Your faith in the integrity of “government” and its motives, whilst rather touching, is very alarming.
    Credulous I think is the word.

  • 11
    david
    Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Mr STIFF, you will now have the details of the ‘Public Enquiry’. Surely you are not questioning the integrity of the two eminent persons who will conduct the enqury, independently of the Govt. Is a pity your personal agenda colors your abilty to see clearly.

  • 12
    jonah Stiffhausen
    Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Eminent persons? Do me a favour.
    Paid flunkies who know exactly what is required of them.
    C’mon Davey boy, a modicum 0f scepticism is required if you’re going to try and take politics seriously.

  • 13
    david
    Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    As I suggested from the start stiff you have an agenda…

  • 14
    jonah Stiffhausen
    Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Ok Dave. Give us your description of what constitutes an “eminent person”, for god’s sake.

    And please don’t say being a lawyer qualifies.

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