Charles Richardson writes:


I watched my favourite TV show, Media Watch, last night – and as usual it made me angry. Not through any dissatisfaction with presenter Liz Jackson, but because no-one ever seems to do anything about the revelations she makes.

The first item concerned a story from A Current Affair that purported to be about hoon drivers in Sydney but, as the show demonstrated, used footage that was actually from New Zealand.

On the face of it, that’s a simple case of fraud, or, as the offence is called in Victoria (Crimes Act s. 82), “Obtaining financial advantage [in this case advertising dollars] by deception”. And it’s not an isolated instance – Media Watch finds such cases every week.

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But where are the prosecutions? Do the police even investigate any of this? Or are they spending all their time on trivial cases of kids stealing pizza, or – worse – victimless crimes like drug dealing and praising terrorism?

It’s true that the media might have defences to this sort of charge, but surely there’s enough there to at least make out a prima facie case. And even if they were ultimately acquitted, putting the likes of Ray Martin in the dock would be a powerful warning to them to smarten up.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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