Reform ‘won’t fix defamation’

Original article by Chris Merritt
The Australian – Page: 19 : 27-Jul-20

Minter Ellison partner Peter Bartlett has questioned whether the proposed new defence for public interest journalism will be effective. It is based on a British provision that requires a journalist to prove that they reasonably believed that the publication of a statement was in the public interest. Bartlett warns that if the new defence is interpreted in the same way as the British defence, it is likely to have a similar impact as the existing defence of statutory qualified privilege, which has not been successfully used by the media. The Council of Attorneys-General will approve a model defamation bill on 27 July.

CORPORATES
MINTER ELLISON, AUSTRALIA. COUNCIL OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL

News in shared digital strategy

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 19 : 8-Jun-20

News Corp Australia veteran Peter Blunden will head the media group’s new specialist network teams of journalists, which will produce content across its metropolitan, community and regional mastheads. He says the traditional ‘silo model’ of journalism is no longer relevant, and quality content must be shared across its portfolio of mastheads. Blunden has also defended the decision to adopt a digital-only model for some regional and community newspapers, arguing that the print editions were not sustainable.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS

Plea to save media jobs in the regions

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 30-May-20

Regional media companies such as WIN Corporation and Australian Community Media have lobbied the federal government to further relax cross-media ownership laws. Concerns about the future of the regional media sector have been heightened by News Corp Australia’s decision to axe 36 regional and community newspapers and shift 76 titles to digital-only editions. The move will also result in the loss of hundreds of jobs. Further job cuts in the regional media are possible when the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme ends in September.

CORPORATES
WIN CORPORATION PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY MEDIA, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT, REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS

Media’s pitch for a legal overhaul

Original article by Nicola Berkovic
The Australian – Page: 2 : 5-Feb-20

The media industry’s Right to Know coalition has used a submission to a review of Australia’s uniform defamation laws to advocate greater protection for public-interest journalism. The coalition argues that public interest in freedom of expression should be one of the factors that courts must consider as part of a defence to defamation claims. It has also called for an overhaul of the maximum payouts that apply in defamation cases.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, SPECIAL BROADCASTING SERVICE (SBS)

Ita stymies ABC staff climate crisis group

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 3 : 21-Nov-19

Several of the ABC’s senior journalists have expressed support for a proposal to establish a staff climate crisis advisory group. However, ABC chair Ita Buttrose says the proposal does not have the support of the public broadcaster’s leadership team, adding that "it is not going to happen". Some journalists had warned that the proposal could be at odds with the ABC’s editorial guidelines.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

ABC staff push for climate group

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 23 : 18-Nov-19

A number of ABC presenters and journalists have expressed support for a proposal to establish a ‘climate crisis advisory group’ for the public broadcaster’s staff. Melbourne-based producer and presenter Barbara Heggen put forward the proposal in a recent email to colleagues, in which she stated that the group’s aim would be to report on the climate crisis using a ‘solutions journalism approach’. However, the proposal may be at odds with the ABC’s editorial guidelines.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, RACING NSW

Trust media on national security: Ita

Original article by Sean Parnell
The Australian – Page: 5 : 5-Nov-19

ABC chair Ita Buttrose has urged Australians to support the media industry’s ‘Your Right to Know’ campaign. She has also stressed that the media can be trusted with regard to national security. Buttrose has called for legislative action to protect whistleblowers and public interest journalism, as well as an overhaul of Freedom of Information laws.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, COMMITTEE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS

Local is lucrative for media companies

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 19 : 25-Sep-19

News Corp Australia executive Damian Eales addressed the NewsMediaWorks INFORM Summit on 24 September. He emphasised the importance of local journalism and news content in regional and rural areas, and noted that regional mastheads are the media group’s fastest-growing digital products. Eales added that with digital platforms gaining an increasing share of advertising revenue, traditional media companies have become much more reliant on paid subscriptions in order to keep providing quality journalism.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NEWSMEDIAWORKS, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY MEDIA

Google’s plea for defamation shield

Original article by Nicola Berkovic
The Australian – Page: 4 : 14-May-19

Changes are needed to Australia’s defamation laws to ensure that there is more protection for public-interest journalism, according to the Centre for Media at the University of Technology, Sydney. It made its call in a submission to the current review into defamation laws, which is being led by New South Wales Attorney-General Mark Speakman. In its submission to the review, Google stated that there need to be more protection for search engines when they are being sued for defamation for enabling access to third-party content.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SYDNEY, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

How Twitter drip-fed Watergate

Original article by Aaron Patrick
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 36 : 3-May-19

The ‘Watergate’ saga that has embroiled Energy Minister Angus Taylor has arguably changed the rules when it comes to news reporting in Australia. The story was sparked by an anonymous Twitter account in early April, which implied that Taylor had benefited from the sale of water rights to the federal government by Eastern Australia Agriculture in 2017. The rights related to two Queensland cotton farms; Taylor had advised Eastern Australia Agriculture on the purchase of these farms a decade earlier. Although journalists have historically relied on anonymous sources, it is extremely rare for them to use sources that they cannot identify.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, EASTERN AUSTRALIA AGRICULTURE PTY LTD, TWITTER INCORPORATED