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Vote ‘Yes’ for the News Media (Self-Regulation) Bill

As you are no doubt aware, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy wants his News Media (Self-Regulation) Bill 2013 passed by both houses of parliament by Thursday – the last sitting day before the May 14 budget. While the Coalition opposes the package of six bills, Labor is in talks with the Australian Greens and independent MPs to get it through the lower house. Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie has expressed concern about the freedom of the press and there was no change in his public stance after he met Senator Conroy. Mr Wilkie appears not to have much of a grasp on the legislation. If he refers to the Second Reading Speech he might recognise that the Public Interest Test does not suggest that the freedom of the press will be restricted. Do his fellow parliamentarians share his ignorance?

To the undecided MPs I might suggest you listen to Barry Tucker as to why we need this Bill passed (whether you understand it or not). After the disgraceful attempt to compare Senator Conroy with history’s most despised despots, Barry wrote:

The audacity! The hypocrisy! Shame! The Daily Telegraph’s front page protest linked federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to some of history’s hideous dictators.

Bit over the top, don’t you think?

All because the minister introduced some new Bills to mildly beef up the existing news media complaint procedures. Oh, and some independent review of ownership, or “diversity”, via a “public interest advocate”.

There’s the real rub. Independent overseers are only as “independent” as the government that appoints them — which means “not”. In my opinion, a very dangerous move in the case of media ownership.

In other corners of the community the minister has been criticised for pussy footing on the news media regulation, for giving politicians too little notice, for lack of sufficient discussion beforehand, for imposing a “no bargaining” deal — take it or leave it — and for insisting on a deadline. It does sound dictatorial, for such pathetically weak legislation.

In the UK, where News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch is fighting to save his business interests, it’s worse. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has shut down debate on news media regulation. He will introduce his own measures — by regulation — an amendment to a Royal Charter.

Some say he’s letting Rupert off the hook. It’s no secret that Rupert is universally despised as a muck raker following revelations of the ‘phone hacking scandal in the UK — and fears that the same thing is happening elsewhere in his empire.

It’s also spreading to other organisations, with two journalists and two former journalists of The Mirror group being arrested two days ago.

In Australia, News Limited CEO Kim Williams AO accused the minister of attempting to stifle Press freedoms. What really worries him is the Bills, if they become Acts, will hamper his boss’s plans to expand his already suffocating news media empire in Australia.

News Ltd boss attacks ‘Soviet-style’ media reforms

Mr Williams’ address was also reported in full in News Limited papers and on Michael Smith’s website.

Why wouldn’t any reasonably civilised community want regulation to prevent what was happening in the UK (tapping the ‘phones of murder victims, bribing police, politicians and military personnel) and regulate rubbish newspapers like the one above?

Veteran political journalist and ABC Insiders presenter Barrie Cassidy discussed the irony, or the hypocrisy, of Mr Williams’ bleatings with the ABC News24 Breakfast presenters. Mr Cassidy said Mr Williams had called for a public revolt.

I call for a much more severe limitation of the ownership of all newspaper, radio and TV media, in line with some other leading Western countries, and for tougher legislation to enshrine the public ownership and the impartiality of the ABC.

Australia has the most constipated news media ownership (apart from that controlled by a real dictatorship) and our democracy is paying the price for that. The politicians have allowed this to happen and it’s up to them to fix it properly and permanently with some appropriately stiff legislation. If they don’t they’ll pay the price because Social Media and the Fifth Estate is building up a head of steam and already has some victories in its belt.

It’s my bet digital media will be severely regulated long before print media.

Catch up with Mr Cassidy’s comments on the ABC’s YouTube channel

You’d agree that Barry raises far better reasons why we need those laws than the arguments raised by those who oppose it. Barry raises honesty and integrity, whereas the media empire’s argument is clearly based on power and money.

We, the people, want them stripped of that power. We really on you to represent the voice of ordinary Australians.

To everybody else, we can do our bit to get in the ear of the MPs who hold the balance. Tell them what you think. Tell them you support this Bill and the reasons why. Here’s where you can contact them (again, thanks to Barry):

Adam Bandt Twitter @adambandt

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Adam.Bandt.MP

email adam.bandt.mp@aph.gov.au

Canberra (02) 6277 4775

FAX ACT (02) 6277 8583

Rob Oakeshott Twitter @OakeyMP

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Oakeshott/1415774696

email http://www.aph.gov.au/R_Oakeshott_MP

Canberra (02) 6277 4052

FAX: (02) 6277 8403

Andrew Wilkie Twitter @WilkieMP

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/andrewwilkiemp

Canberra (02) 6277 4766

FAX: (02) 6277 8579

Tony Windsor Twitter @TonyWindsorMP

emails www.aph.gov.au/T_Windsor_MP |

Tony.Windsor.MP@aph.gov.au

Canberra (02) 6277 4722

FAX: (02) 6277 8545

Craig Thomson @DobellThommo

No Facebook

Website http://www.aph.gov.au/C_Thomson_MP

no email !!!

Canberra (02) 6277 4460

FAX: (02) 6277 2123

Warren Truss

Personal website http://www.warrentruss.com/

PARTY website http://www.nationals.org.au/

Canberra (02) 6277 4482

FAX: (02) 6277 8569

Senator Barnaby Joyce

Email senator.joyce@aph.gov.au

Personal website http://www.barnabyjoyce.com.au/

Canberra (02) 6277 3244

FAX: (02) 6277 3246

Bob Katter @RealBobKatter

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/bobkattermp

email Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au

Personal website http://www.bobkatter.com.au/

Party website http://www.ausparty.org.au/

Canberra (02) 6277 4978

FAX: (02) 6277 8558

Darren Chester

Canberra (02) 6277 4029

Fax: (02) 6277 8402

George Christensen

Twitter @GChristensenMP

Canberra (02) 6277 4538

Fax: (02) 6277 8508

John Cobb

email John.Cobb.MP@aph.gov.au

Canberra (02) 6277 4721

Fax: (02) 6277 8543

John Forrest

email J.Forrest.MP@aph.gov.au

website http://www.jforrest.com/

Canberra (02) 6277 4550

Fax: (02) 6277 8532

Luke Hartsuyker

email Luke.Hartsuyker.MP@aph.gov.au

website http://www.lukehartsuyker.com.au/

Canberra (02) 6277 4447

Fax: (02) 6277 8410

Michael MCormack

Twitter @M_McCormackMP

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-McCormack/100002102184276

Website http://www.michaelmccormack.com.au/

Canberra (02) 6277 4725

Fax: (02) 6277 8563

Mark Coulton

email Mark.Coulton.MP@aph.gov.au

Personal website http://www.markcoulton.com.au/

Canberra (02) 6277 4607

Fax: (02) 6277 8504

Paul Neville

email P.Neville.MP@aph.gov.au

Canberra (02) 6277 4940

Fax: (02) 6277 8559

Ken O’Dowd

Personal website http://www.kenodowd.com.au/

Canberra (02) 6277 4380

Fax: (02) 6277 8495

Bruce Scott

email Bruce.Scott.MP@aph.gov.au

Personal website http://www.maranoa.info/

Canberra (02) 6277 4949

Fax: (02) 6277 8421

Peter Slipper

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PeterSlipperMP

email Peter.Slipper.MP@aph.gov.au

Website http://www.peterslippermp.com.au/

Canberra (02) 6277 4490

FAX: (02) 6277 8405

Tony Crook

email http://www.tonycrook.com.au/contact.aspx

Kalgoorlie Office

Phone (08) 9021 1241

Mobile 1300 772 061

FAX (08) 9021 1506

 

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9 comments

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  1. Fed up

    It appears the words “Publlic Interest” can be found in the 2006 guidelines of the media’s own watchdog. It was superseded by a recent rewriting of the rules.

    Cameron in today’s hearing POINTED THIS OUT.

  2. Ricky (Tory Torcher)

    Convergence Report

    http://bit.ly/ZLxvmt

    Finkelstien Report

    http://bit.ly/ZiElSG

    The Bill

    http://bit.ly/ZLnrtD

    What an exercise…all emailed 🙁

    I streamed the committee submission today. 9 wants open slather so it can have southern cross and win and 10 and 7 are saying No way….. clash of the convergence capitalists 🙂

  3. TeddySea

    I emailed/tweeted the Independents & Greens but gee the Nats are gonna follow the LNP mob while they sniff victory.
    Our once great democracy of the people has become a lying, nasty, abusive, distorted, twist-the-truth, rule-by-fear, shitty MURDOCHRACY 🙁

  4. John

    Having a hobby like mine I have to abide by laws, regs, I do not see why the media cannot, TV stations radio stations in fact anyone that uses radio gear has too so why should not news papers, news papers are not above the law just like the rest of us as for the media moguls they should take a long hard look at them selves, the only reason they do not like the new laws is they will be forced to print and report facts not lies and fiction, if they want to do that then they need to get a job writing for movies.

  5. Buff McMenis

    “Do his fellow parliamentarians share his ignorance?” Unfortunatel, Migo … yes, they do! And this will continue to give us biased and lying media which will slew the political knowledge of the lowest common denominator to the gutters where Murdoch and Rinehart have led them for the past 6 years!!!

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Meanwhile two of the six media bills have passed but apparently according to the news I’ve seen they are of no consequence.

    It seams unless the entire legislation is passed without compromise then it’s the greatest failure of an Australian government in history, not forgetting that Howard failed to get major legislation passed on several occasions with a majority in parliament, and that includes Howard’s 2006 failed draconian media control legislation but there were no calls for his government to be disbanded because of that failure.

  7. Pingback: Remember! “True Liberty Is When Free-born Men Speak Free!” | polliepomes

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