Let’s not go down the Australian media regulation route

March 7th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Australian Kangaroo Court blogs on what is proposed in Australia:

 “If a publisher distributes more than 3000 copies of print per issue or a news internet site has a minimum of 15 000 hits per annum it should be subject to the jurisdiction of the News Council, but not otherwise. These numbers are arbitrary, but a line must be drawn somewhere.” (15,000 hits a year is just under 300 hits a week which is almost every blogger who posts at least twice a month. Whether he means page views or unique browsers I do not know but it does not make much difference at the end of the day. It is a very low number and would even capture high school children who have a blog)

If the report author has referred to hits he is technically illiterate. You get a hit for every item on a page. One page view can generate 3o hits. And the idea of blogs being forced into this new regulatory body is a huge threat to bloggers in .

There should be a legal requirement that if a regulated media outlet refuses to comply with a News Media Council determination the News Media Council or the complainant should have the right to apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for an order compelling compliance. Any failure to comply with the court order should be a contempt of court and punishable in the usual way.

And so this News Media Council could force bloggers to remove content, without any trial or proof of defamation etc.

I’m glad the proposals in NZ from the Law Commission are so much more sensible (while not perfect), than what is proposed in Australia.

Submissions on the Law Commission’s preliminary proposals on media regulation can be made at http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-regulatory-gaps-and-new-media?quicktabs_=issues_paper. Submissions close on March 12 2012.


6 Responses to “Let’s not go down the Australian media regulation route”

  1. krazykiwi (8,228 comments) says:

    And so this News Media Council could force bloggers to remove content, without any trial or proof of defamation etc.

    Can anyone imagine the politically powerful in Oz NOT interviening to direct the News Media Council’s censorship of, ah, delicate or inconvenient topics?

    Jo Nova commented:

    I haven’t read the whole 400 page Finklestein report, but Mark Steyn tells me that the Chinese government likes it. What more do you need to know?

    As Steyn says, this is not a left-right thing, it’s a free-unfree thing.

    Tim Andrews at Menzies House launches a New Free Speech Campaign: “This is a proposal that would seem right at home in North Korea or Zibmabwe. I never thought – as dark as things seemed- we could stoop this low here in Australia”.

    People asked me if this would “affect your blog”. Ha ha, I laughed, Will it? Right now, I’m discussing whether I’d need to move to Fiji, or Florida, or become a citizen of the Dominican Republic in order to express my views. Could I split my blog into a different domain name each day to avoid being “monitored”? ( I could have 365 blogs: joannenova1.com.au, joannenova2.com.au… it would play havoc with the search engines.) Alternately, perhaps I write 100% satire, cartoons, irony, and the exact opposite of what I mean? Ho Ho. Who has the rule book on the Soviet black market for ideas? What can we learn and how does it translate in this Internet era?

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  2. hj (8,596 comments) says:

    I imagine every country has things that can’t be said. On Campbell live during a discussion on Aucklands growing pains the interviewee says “but you can’t stop people coming here…” The interviewer should have known that 80% of population growth is from outside NZ and pointed that out (in the interest of accuracy) but didn’t- might/ would offend the advertisers and cool left.

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  3. kowtow (13,193 comments) says:

    Andrew Bolt writes regularly on this issue. He has been prosecuted in Australia for speaking out on race issues there.
    The left and greens present a grave danger to our freedoms. These matters are important here,as if they get away with it there,the local comrades won’t be far behind.


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  4. flipper (5,296 comments) says:

    Viewing all this from Canberra at the moment where sources that have been right 95% in the past say that it (The NMC) will not happen.

    Good to see you picking up on Finkelstein. but as Jo Nova sys… “400 PAGES”. And it is worrying rubbish. TAKE FOR EXAMPLE the offer of “Government assistance” to regional publications. That should have alarm bells ringing here.

    The whole thing, in Aus and NZ (sorry David, no State regulation is better than some), is the start of a slippery slope back to a time when NZBS news broadcasts were vetted by the Government.

    Let’s not waste time on the Law Commission panty waists. There is no public demand for their nonsense which appears to be be ego driven NANNY STATE.

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  5. althecat (7 comments) says:

    This is amazing David. Shocking in fact….

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  6. Peter Freedman (127 comments) says:

    Finkelstein did get a few things right, notably his proposal to cut funding a Press Council off the industry itself and hand it to the state. Same should be done in NZ. If you are going to have a watchdog at least give it a set of independent gnashers.

    But it is the main stream media that needs policing, not the internet.

    The death of the NOTW caused a real stir here in Australia, where Bob Brown, leader of the Greens and in a constant war with the media, particularly The Australian, seized the opprtunity to push for an enquiry into the MSM.

    What I would like to see is editors required to appear before a Parliamentary committee and explain how they recruit their columnists and why do they only recruit rightwingers, why they cannot understand one of the basics of journalism: the difference between comment and reporting and the need to keep them separate and how much influence their owners have over editorial content.

    Right now in Australia I can name any number of right wing columnists: Paul Murray, Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtsen, Andrew Bolt, Paul Kelly………then there is right wing fanatical talk show hosts like Alan Jones, who once declared Gillard and Brown should be tied in a sack and thrown out of an aeroplane.

    Bolt can be entertaining, but he is boringly predictable, He has yet to understand that if you infringe a law that has consequences. He infringes the law, then turns into a cry baby, frequently going AWOL, when the consequences arrive.
    He has had several meetings with the law and has always lost because he is bigheaded, increbly sensitive to criticism, lazy and seldom bothers to check his facts. Most of his trouble is that he gets things wrong because he can’t be bothered checking. He then claims he is being gagged by the eft.

    I can also name leftwing commentators. There is……..um……err……hold on, I’ll think of one…….Hmmm, can I get back to you on this?

    I could write a column itself on Jones, the most vicious voice on OZ radio. He led a proest against the carbon tax, blatantly lied about the size of the crowd and claimed police had prevented truck drivers from attending by blocking all the highways. Police and witnesses denied the claim and Jones, of course, withdrew and apologised.

    Must go and close the window, there’s a pig trying to get in.

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