Crikey’s take on leaks to The Australian

July 19, 2007

Unfortunately we can’t see the story that this item from the Crikey newsletter refers to. It has been removed from The Australian’s website, but as Margaret Simons notes, it’s a disturbing development in police-media relations when this type of deal appears to be the norm.

There’s no doubt that security services worldwide like to cultivate tame journos and editors and there’s no doubt about where The Australian stands on international terrorism. Is there an interesting convergence of interests here?

In Richard Flanagan’s novel, The UnkownCover of The Unknown Terrorist Terrorist, this scenario is played out
in a fictional way, but hey…truth is stranger, so they say.

Top Stories

1. The Oz, the AFP and the Haneef leak: What is going on?

Margaret Simons writes:

What’s going on with the editor of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, and the Australian Federal Police?

Commissioner Mick Keelty was on AM this morning claiming that Mitchell had assured him that the AFP was not the source of the extraordinary leak of the record of interview with Dr Mohamed Haneef. Keelty pointed the finger firmly at Haneef’s defence team as the source, although Haneef’s lawyer flatly denied it.

What is Mitchell doing entering into this conversation with Keelty, given that almost any discussion of sources is dangerous for journalists, since it necessarily narrows the field of suspects?

Read the rest of this entry »


WJEC declaration of principles for journalism education – the backlash

July 16, 2007

A number of my colleagues in the Australian Journalism Education Association (JEA) have given me permission to post sections of their discussion of the World Journalism Education Congress Principles of Global Journalism Education on this blog. You can trackback by clicking on the World Journalism Education Congress category link.

I thank them for that. It is a good opportunity to consolidate the conversation and continue it. I have put the material here in chronological order. That way you can follow at least some of the threads.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ethical Martni has moved house

July 11, 2007

Hello, this is my last post here. I’ve moved house. I’m now living over at WordPress.
I’m sorry Blgospot, but I like the functionality of categories and separate pages.
You were great, but I’ve out-grown you.

To find Ethical Martini – you know what to do.
Adios, come and see the new place.

Should Parliament be protected from satire

July 10, 2007

You know it’s interesting how politicians are usually the first group to complain when their freedom of speech is attacked. They all like to make motherhood statements that free speech is the cornerstone of a “democratic” system of government, but they don’t like it when the media tries to insert some leavening humour into proceedings by poking fun a their stuffed shirt antics.

The New Zealand parliament recently held a select committee process to look at the satirical use of footage of parliamentary proceedings and guess what…the committee voted to ban TV networks and other media from using such images in comedic pieces that might tend to denigrate the solemnity of their work.

In a rare show of standing up for themselves, the TV networks refused to go along with this ridiculous idea, which was first mooted back in late June. This week both the Greens and the Nationals have said they won’t go along with the ban. As this transcript of the TV1 programme, Agenda, makes clear, the matter is now back in the hands of the politicians. How can we recognise them? They’re the suited-up spivs in the dark corner wiping egg of their faces.

National Rifle Association – shoot [the polar bear] first, ask no questions

July 10, 2007

I’ve followed the US National Rifle Association’s antics since the Virginia Tech shootings in April 2007. I couldn’t resit alerting Martini lovers to Martha Rosenberg‘s column today. She’s very clever in her critique of the NRA’s attempts to get around American gun laws:

Besides being armed to return a library book, the NRA wants the right to bring weapons on public parks and school yards, often in defiance of home rule laws.

And speaking of bravery, the NRA has also found time since the Cho shootings to help Safari Club International (SCI), the group former President George H.W. Bush, former Vice President Dan Quayle and Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. belonged to when they were outed hunting in Africa and asking the Botswana government to keep trophy lion hunts available.

In June it helped SCI defeat an amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the House of Representatives that would have banned the import of sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada.

Who kills polar bears for fun?

Eight hundred Americans imported polar bear trophies from guided hunts in Arctic Canada since 1997! And SCI offers a “Bears of the World” award, a kind of National Geographic for the bloodthirsty, in which hunters have to kill four of the world’s eight bear species which include imperiled polar bears.

The NRA also worked to defeat wolf protection laws and spay and neuter legislation for dogs.

No, Seung-Hui Cho’s bullets have not stopped the NRA’s fast track agenda–or the politicians in its back pocket: the ultimate concealed weapon.

The not-so-watertight case against Ahmed Zaoui

July 10, 2007

Over on the Scoop website, Gordon Campbell is carefully dissecting the nebulous Secret Intelligence Service case against asylum-seeker Ahmed Zaoui. It’ll be worthwhile following Campbell’s analysis over the next few days. Here’s a taster:

After all, the SIS case against Zaoui has never alleged him to be a terrorist, or even a potential terrorist threat. The risk security certificate against him was not issued under section 73 of the Immigration Act – which concerns terrorists – but under the far more nebulous section 72, which offers fewer protections to the accused.

For all those reasons, I believe the more likely argument the SIS will try to run is that Zaoui is now, and always has been, a radical hardliner – a man they will allege has been consistently opposed to peace and reconciliation in Algeria. A man who opposed the ‘truce’ offered by the junta in the mid 1990s, just as he has misgivings now about the amnesty promoted by the Bouteflika government in Algeria today.

No matter that those same misgivings are also shared by Amnesty International and by Human Rights watch. To make its case, the SIS has to use its 30 files of general information about pan- Islamic radicalism and then shoe-horn Zaoui into the stereotype.

There are more than 30 “secret” files on Zaoui, but they don’t amount to more than a lot of hot air it seems. Why is the New Zealand government so keen to see Mr Zaoui’s rights trampled? Despite its “Labour” tag, the Clark government is committed to the “war on terror”. Mr Zaoui seems to be the convenient scapegoat. That is, until the SIS “uncovers” some evidence that overseas-born doctors in New Zealand are the latest “threat”.

Stop the Big Media Takeover! | Canadians for Democratic Media

July 10, 2007

Stop the Big Media Takeover! | Canadians for Democratic Media

If you’re reading this blog from Canada, please make sure you check out the Stop the Big Media Takeover campaign website. Here’s a clip from a promotional video they’re circulating.

Media diversity is the cornerstone of democracy. But media ownership is more
highly concentrated in Canada than almost anywhere else in the industrialized world. Almost all private Canadian television stations are owned by national media conglomerates and, because of increasing cross-ownership, most of the daily newspapers we read are owned by the same corporations that own television and radio stations.

This means a handful of Big Media Conglomerates control what Canadians can most readily see, hear and read. It means less local and regional content, more direct control over content by owners and less analysis of the events that shape our lives. It also means less media choice for Canadians and fewer jobs for Canadian media workers.

We must also be wary of the impacts mergers have on the diversity and neutrality of new on-line media. We need to reverse this trend before big media gets even bigger!

Tell the CRTC what you think.

Rules that truly curb media concentration in Canada are long overdue. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) – the body that regulates broadcast and telecommunications systems – is holding a hearing on how to ensure the diversity of media voices in September and the deadline for submissions is July 18, 2007. Unless current policy direction are challenged by the public, Canada could in the long run end up with a vastly more concentrated media and a relaxation of the foreign ownership rules leaving our media susceptible to takeovers by even bigger Foreign-owned media conglomerates. The airwaves belong to the public, and the CRTC needs to hear from you.

Unless the public speaks out, the debate will continue to be dominated by large media corporations. Please forward this message to encourage others to participate in this crucial campaign. Tell your family and friends about this important campaign

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The New Zealand link is, of course, CanWest, which has a number of media assets in Aotearoa and is a big player here too. CanWest Mediaworks New Zealand owns TV3, C4, and Radioworks.