Hot off the press release: ACMA to investigate adequacy of community safeguards for live-hosted entertainment programs on commercial radio. The Australian Communications and Media Authority will investigate whether the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice (the code) and existing industry practices provide sufficient safeguards for participants and subjects in live-hosted entertainment programs on commercial radio.

“Recent public concern in relation to an episode of the Kyle and Jackie O Show, broadcast by 2Day FM, has highlighted broader issues about the treatment of participants and subjects involved in ‘stunt’ or ‘prank’ calls, competitions and challenges on commercial radio,” said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA.

“The ACMA acknowledges that the broadcasting sector should generally be able to experiment with program genres and styles which may be attractive to its audiences. However, the strength of community concern expressed about the practices of some live-hosted entertainment programs and the ACMA’s own assessments indicate that there is emerging evidence that the current regulatory arrangements may not be keeping pace with industry practice and community standards.” — ACMA

Meanwhile, on ACA: A Current Affair will tonight feature family members at the centre of the “Kyle & Jackie O” radio prank. The incident, in which a 14 year old girl admitted she had been raped live on air sent the radio industry into meltdown. It also led to Kyle Sandilands being dumped from Australian Idol, cited as no longer fitting the show’s “family-friendly” image. — TV Tonight

Tarantino “thrilled” — thanks to Crikey. Crikey‘s story from last week on Quentin Tarantino’s lost records has had a happy ending. Readers will recall that while in Melbourne for the launch of his latest gore fest Inglourious Basterds, the moody director decided to embark on some casual crate digging at local vinyl emporium Collector’s Corner.

But shockingly, Quentin was the victim of the old Switcheroo, when a brown paper bag of top-shelf finds, including a rare original score for 1973 blaxploitation classic The Mack, was spirited away by a rival shopper, leaving Tarantino with a sub-standard batch of bargain basement vinyl.

Word of the mix-up spread fast — after reading Crikey‘s story, the renegade shopper came up with the goods, attending Collector’s Corner to return the bounty to staff member Charles Ayre. Word has reached Crikey via a publicist that the US auteur is “thrilled” by The Mack‘s return, with the bag of rarities currently making its way Stateside. — Andrew Crook

Collector’s Corner staff member Charles Ayre with Tarantino’s records

Aha ha ha! We mock you and your paywall Rupert: In a bid to boost the profits of his flagging media empire, Rupert Murdoch recently announced plans to start charging readers to view News Limited’s online content. The Australian Financial Review’s John Davidson pokes a bit of fun at the whole idea in today’s edition under the headline ‘Murdoch paywall a comic suggestion’:

We’re reporting to you today from behind a paywall we’ve hastily constructed, here in the Digital Life Laboratories, out of a giant pile of old newspapers. We’ve locked ourselves behind this paywall, and by George, we won’t be coming out…

We just wish our wall wasn’t so, well, combustible. I think it might be a fire hazard. If could go up at any moment…

Davidson  continues:

…The move will raise many serious questions for online publishers, bloggers and twitter users alike, not the least of which is this question: will my local café start providing free logins to the Telegraph websites, the same way it provides free copies of the paper to me now whenever I sit down for a coffee?

I mean, I don’t mind newspaper companies charging for their products, just as long as it’s not me they’re charging.

You can read the full story here, behind, um, this paywall:

Crikey intern Imogen Baratta

On the dangers of vilification. There are many good arguments for and against allowing the Lebanese Hezbollah-run TV station al-Manar to be broadcast in Australia. One good reason not to allow al-Manar to be broadcast is the possibility that programs inciting racial hatred or racist violence could be broadcast.

Hence Colin Rubenstein, Executive Director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), pointed out in The Age last week that “[t]he station broadcast a 30-part series in 2003 during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan based explicitly on the famous anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. The broadcast of myths about ethno-religious groups is hardly a good idea.

Yet sadly, just as Jews are vilified in Arab media, similarly persons of Arab and/or Middle Eastern heritage are vilified in Hollywood and in television. As Dr Jack Shaheen illustrated in his book and documentary Reel Bad Arabs, for over a century American movie goers have been subjected to a barrage of images portraying Arabs as violent, ruthless, savage, evil.

“Arabs are the most maligned group in the history of Hollywood. They are portrayed basically as sub-humans.”

Such stereotypes are repeated in print. Last week Andrew Bolt wrote on his blog: “The rise of yet another Islamist terror group suggests there is something in Muslim or Arabic culture peculiarly susceptible to the call to violence … While false, there is yet a grain of truth in the maxim that while not every Muslim is a terrorist, every terrorist is a Muslim.”

And today that same ignorant stereotype is repeated by Bren Carlill, an analyst at Colin Rubenstein’s organisation. Writing in The Australian, Carlill claims: “…while a majority of Muslims aren’t terrorists, the majority of terrorists are Muslim, an uncomfortable fact that shouldn’t be ignored for the sake of political correctness. It is rare to find a Muslim terrorist who acts only for a secular, nationalist cause.” Yes it is if you’re selective about whom you label terrorists.

Like all stereotypes, Carlill’s analysis doesn’t quite make sense. Most Muslims aren’t terrorists. Most terrorists are Muslim. Most Muslim terrorists are terrorists because they are Muslim. The logic is too warped to be even considered circular. And so we have one AIJAC person telling us that we should ban al-Manar for promoting ethno-religious stereotypes while another AIJAC person tells us we should ban al-Manar on the basis of an ethno-religious stereotype. Go figure. — Irfan Yusuf

Pilger wins Peace Prize. John Pilger, renowned journalist, author and filmmaker, has been awarded the 2009 Sydney Peace Prize. Announcing the prize, Sydney Peace Foundation director Professor Stuart Rees said: “The jury was impressed by John’s courage as well as by his skills and creativity. His commitment to uncovering human rights abuses shines through his numerous books, films and articles. His work inspires all those who value peace with justice.” — Green Left Weekly

China tries to censor Australian media. The Chinese government tried to pressure the National Press Club into cancelling a nationally televised speech by Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, scheduled to take place today. Political counsellor at the embassy Liu Jing met press club officials last week and requested the club withdraw the invitation to Ms Kadeer. “Mr Liu said to us, ‘You must withdraw the invitation to Ms Kadeer’. He was insistent but polite,” a director of the club, who was present at the meeting, told The Australian. — The Australian

Twitter meltdown originated in Russia. A massive cyberattack against a Georgian blogger that caused a global knockout of Twitter and slowed several other popular web sites must have originated in Russia, the blogger said Friday. Two distributed denial of service attacks hit Twitter on Thursday, just ahead of the anniversary of last year’s war over South Ossetia, making the popular microblogging site unavailable for millions of users worldwide for several hours. — The Moscow Times

Story suppressed to save lives. The Victorian Government has joined beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett in trying to stop Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes from screening a story about a series of suicides at a Geelong school. Mr Kennett won a Supreme Court order on Sunday to stop the heavily promoted story — Searching for Answers — going to air. In an affidavit supporting the injunction, Mr Kennett revealed the school’s principal had told him another student had recently threatened suicide. The Education Department issued a statement last night saying it had been working closely with beyondblue and ”has commenced proceedings seeking a similar outcome to have the material suppressed”. — The Age

Magazine desperate for backing. The Walrus magazine launched with a splash and much optimism in late 2003, with the ambitious goal to be Canada’s New Yorker or Harper’s. As Canada’s resident “magazine for smart people” featuring investigative and long form narrative journalism, they’ve had an impressive six years, with big-name writers like Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen and Douglas Coupland (and not just based in Canada, either; Adam Gopnik and Bruce McCall and Clive Thompson have all contributed from over here). — Mediaite

Peter Fray

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