The Communications Law Centre, the MEAA, Victoria University and The Australian Press Council assembled an interesting line-up of speakers at a two-day conference in Melbourne that started yesterday and continued a recent trend of increased media in-fighting.

The Age’s editor-in-chief Andrew Jaspan, feisty emitch chairman Stuart Simson, Sky News’s Ian Cook, media analyst Roger Colman and Crikey’s Eric Beecher were some of the speakers yesterday afternoon and one of the highlights was the spirited exchanges between Beecher and Jaspan about the future of Fairfax and the editorial standards of independent websites.

Jaspan told the audience that the controversial blog of maverick businessman and political operative Andrew Landeryou is “outrageous” because his campaign against Age reporter Leonie Wood has now extended to running photos of her home and disclosing details about her child.

“Do we take action?” Jaspan asked. ” It is a really tough, difficult issue.”

Jaspan’s comments about our little ezine were mixed. At first he declared “Crikey tried to undermine me in a disgraceful way” and that ” I would like Crikey to be accountable, which it is not.”

However, by the end of the session he declared: “I think Crikey is good and it performs a great service.”

Any inaccuracies we’ve published weren’t spelled out but Beecher rejected the Jaspan theory that we are unaccountable and have no code of conduct or ethical standards.

He declared that as the joint owner of Crikey he is more accountable than Jaspan, as a mere manager, and that Crikey can and has been sued. “Come and get us, bring it on,” he told the audience of about 50.

Beecher painted a bleak picture for Fairfax, predicting that classified advertising revenue would migrate online and send profits tumbling, thereby forcing cuts to editorial budgets.

However, Jaspan responded by claiming revenue across all The Age’s platforms was up this year and through online users, the paper now reached a record one million people a day.

Today’s session features the likes of Media Watch host Liz Jackson, The Age’s heavy hitters Andrew Rule and John Silvester, RMIT’s Matthew Ricketson and The Australian‘s FOI editor Michael Mackinnon.

We seem to be entering a phase of increased media infighting as this seven part attack on Media Watch by The Australian demonstrates. It will be interesting to see how Liz Jackson responds today given that she was also attacked by Andrew Bolt on ABC radio two weeks ago.