Take it on trust, media reforms are bull

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Certain media interest have been waging a concerted campaign of misinformation, deception, misdirection and extremely selective reporting and analysis even lies shaping the beliefs and opinions of the public, at the same time it tries to silence organisations that do not follow their campaign. So FREE SPEECH, only as long as it is approved by the powerfull vested interests, you call that free speech.? Look at the furore over Nick Ross and the ABC over presenting researched FACTS and EVIDENCE over what is one of the key infrastructure foundations for our Nation and it's economy for many decades to come, why because it exposes the lies, misinformation and deceptions that have been relentlessly promulgated . This completely sabotages the principle of democracy which is an informed vote, we instead have a misinformed vote and as such a government elected on a basis of falsehoods is illegetimate and neither worthy of respect nor authority as it is beholden and a puppet figurehead.
Recent research into the rise in childhood bulling clearly indicates they are just emulating our media personalities and politicians, what sort of self centred all about me and bugger you Jack society have we been creating.
The programming of the population is done, the beliefs based on manipulation and deception will be set in stone and it will be close to impossible to change regardless of what the "experts" believe and will ensure a divided, angry and combative society facing some very real challenges ahead, the result will be far from good.

The media has much to answer for

Abel, I agree with you entirely. I have tried many times on MSM Comments to publish the web address of Nick Ross's article and have not once had it published. On one occasion they just remobed the Comments section to the article. There is a conspiracy in the MSM, particularly that of Murdoch to manipulate the public towards the LNP. Anyone reading Nick Ross's article would realise the sham NBN Turbull is promising to give us. It is not media manipulation by the government, but hopefully just levelling the playing field so all opinions are recognised AND PUBLISHED.

I had always assumed that our comments here were filtered, in much the same way the a letter to the editor of old was filtered. Having read some of the more interesting and confused comments in here, obviously not!

I have been unable to have a comment go through untill this week since News bought out Business Spectator. My comments have been mainly in relation to the NBN which I see as of massive importance to our future. See another article on BS "Dinosaurs should prepare for an Aussie start-up eruption".
I speak to many people about the NBN, they believe it is extremely expensive for the user, they will have to rewire their home at a cost of $thousands, it is a white elephant. Basically regurgitating all the misinformation that media elements have been promulgating
The public don't look up the NBN website and believe the sites such as Nick Ross's articles or Whirlpool or Delimiter or even Tech Spectator are leftist socialistic pro Labor liars or FTTH Zealots.
Whereas the reality is in most cases ibn those sites it is individuals generally with expertise in the area who do research and come from all politcal tendancies, however most are what could be called swinging voters, voting on issues and platforms, not on ideology
So many I speak to blindly believe that which the commentators such as Bolt, Jones or the MSM present to them.
I present this area as an example as it is relatively clear cut with evidence and facts
Their beliefs are a mirror of the MSM and the media commentators.
So who is determining our future?, it is NOT the voter, it only takes 10-15% to determine the election result as a landslide and they are the MSM's target audience.
Google "the lie factory" - a undisputed factual history
Study Finds That We Still Believe Untruths Even After Instant Online Corrections:

I read commentors stating they seek out alternative views, try this one

Truly food for thought
Two different points of view.
How many remember one of the great jounalists of watergate fame, Bernstein.


Look to the parallels and the Free Press is portrayed as FREE as is the Free Market. Both complete illusions

Prophesy states this is the last Pope and also that evil will gain absolute control during this time and most of humanity will truly suffer while for a very few it will be a golden time. That is when the plug is pulled to cut short humanities suffering. The time was not set, the circumstances determine that

Seems that an ALP government believes the media is there at their behest. It has moved a long way from its constituents but seems lost. No longer representing the downtrodden and too busy with self interest. If the Greens had managed the move to the centre, the Labor Party may have effectively ceased to be relevant after the next election. The Left's current leaders seem incapable of belief in smaller government.

Meanwhile, the unions are trying to move into the media space even as the media is moving away from paper and any kind of traditional trade. So trust has moved away from the ALP. Television and radio is time stamped by ratings. A new space has opened called the on-line newspaper. When I first saw your new format I was taken aback about how much change has occurred at BS. My own family's history was similar to you Alan but far slower. Afterall it was all in print. I was worried that being consumed by News Ltd may affect your direction. Thinking back I can see that News Ltd did have certain benefits at the back end but the front end still carried on as planned. The days of Rupert reading every editorial worldwide are gone. I congratulate your team on producing a digital format that appears traditional, but is not.

I have no doubt now that BS will consume The Age even while the intent was aimed at the Fin. The Age certainly needs consuming. So no doubt you will become important to the Regulator. It will be interesting to see you move into the mainstream. Recipes, holidays, fashion and Andrew Bolt. How you manage that will be interesting.

The mainstream media have brought it on themselves. The sheer level of misinformation, bias, agenda-driven 'reporting' has made a mockery of journalistic integrity. They claim it impinges on 'free speech', yet are bought and paid for by a political party and operate as directed - their free speech that can be bought/bribed for is hardly free. A certain political leader is well known to hold meetings every week at News Ltd to discuss media strategies with them to discredit their political foes. You have The Australian officially announcing their intention to destroy the Greens. Memos being sent around instructing journalists on how to support a certain political party and instructing them how to word their articles, gloss over facts etc to support an agenda etc.
If the media outlets acted with an ounce of integrity and the 'fearless' dedication to facts and news that they claim to hold, they wouldn't be facing this. The Australian public expect the mainstream media to be reporting facts without bias or favour, and most Australians believe that this is the case, hence they are being deceived. The mainstream media hold a position of power and influence, and are shirking any associated responsibility, in effect abusing this power for their own ends. The whole "I'll deceive the public for you if in return you help out my interests and company when you get into power" arrangement is corrupt. Pretending to be an independent and unbiased source of news whilst in effect being nothing more than the spin department of a political party is hardly representing the principles of 'free speech' that they are claiming to defend here.

Brent,so glad you see the bias.Its great that we have the unbiased views of the ABC [paid for you and me and not the media moguls] and The Australian.Alan Kohler you are so right.Sticks and stones may break my bones etc etc.

Was also taken by your statement "I`ll deceive the public ----power"arrangement is corrupt.I wonder what organisation is leading in the corruption race across Australia we wouldn`t trust them would we

Sad to see that you feel compelled to follow the 'company' line Alan. I'm sure your attitude would have been a little more independent (as per other issues) if Business Spectator was not a News publication.....

Jim Ioannidis, your point is EXACTLY the reason why the public and the government are seeking to apply some standards to the media. Independent outlets report honestly (and give their opinions honestly), but the major corporations buy them up and enforce an agenda on them and force them to sacrifice their journalistic integrity.
Though I must say I am surprised your comment (and others that don't keep in line with the agenda) was allowed to be published. News Ltd are notorious for comment moderation to ensure it looks like they are supported by the public (with a few token dissenting comments allowed to appear 'fair'). Maybe Business Spectator hasn't been bought into line yet in this regard?

The Herald Sun are ranting and raving about it today... yet fail to address the underlying issue and cause - it wouldn't be necessary if SOME standards were followed in the first place. They are blaming and attacking others, without taking responsibility for their own poor journalism that led to it. Enforcing standards where there have been none is apparently a bad thing.

Lets be honest Alan, biased commentary in the mainstream media has been a thorn in the side of our democracy for years. The old SMH and Daily Telegraph regularly displayed their right wing bias when owned by Fairfax and Packer and of course News Ltd is notorious worlwide for it's bias - The Australian newspaper and Fox News in the US are text book examples. The fragmented independant babble of You Tube,Twitter, Facebook etc you are so enamoured with is no offset to the opinion shaping power and distortions of organisations like News Ltd.

Have to say that Conroy has learned from the very best. This is a classic case of thuggery and payback. The focus seems to be a means by which to get Newscorp and then devise legislation around this aim.

Claims of a lack of media diversity when the evidence in Australia is the exact opposite. High internet penetration, 3 commercial tv channels, radio stations, 4 major newspaper groups (Fairfax, Westralian, APN, Newscorp), Pay tv with Al Jeezera, BBC, CNN, Deutsche Weller, and government operators SBS and ABC (tv & radio). There is also a plurality of views, with the left represented by Fairfax, ABC, SBS and right represented by Newscorp and commercial tv.

It is also a question of the typical socialist objection. That is people (the majority) are wrong and don't have the right to their beliefs, and so either ignore them or change the information flow. They are never happy with "don't like it don't read it", instead all resistance has to be eliminated.

Jonathon, I can't decide if you are being sarcastic or not when you list how much media diversity Australia has and then list the HUGE amount of diversity ('Huge' being 2 - 4). And your description of 'major' could use some refinement too. By all means rewrite your list with percentages applied - percentages of control and readership, and you will see that Australia has a well documented lack of media diversity.

Also, your last paragraph I suspect/hope is also sarcastic. People have a right to their opinions and beliefs. However, the issue here is that the control one or two people have over the media, they are actively and deliberately selecting the flow of information to suit their agenda. It's hard for people to form an educated opinion or belief on a matter when they are only presented with one side of it (and often with outright lies). The standards Conroy is striving for is to ensure that balance is returned so that people can see more than one side of an issue and decide when armed with more facts and information.

But I suspect you are being sarcastic and acting the troll to get people to bite. Well played.

Brent, you are approaching the issue as if Murdoch has miraculously captured market share and then locked up his readers so that they cannot read anything else. The last significant Newscorp acquisition in Australia was in the 80s with the Herald & Weekly Times. Newscorp controls about 30-40% of newsprint publications in Australia. Fairfax/Rural Press, APN, and Westralian control the remainder. All of them fighting for the loyalty and business of the Australian newspaper reading public and in turn advertisers. Depending on the quality and success of their respective offerings, this then gets translated into number of readers and advertising revenue. Just like the weekly programme ratings guide for television stations. Bad operators will eventually lose readers/viewers to good ones.

Another shock for people fixating on Newscorp, is that newspapers are a dying breed as younger generations embrace technology and abandon print. Eventually there will only be 1 surviving newspaper group. The one that has managed to remain profitable (or suffered the least losses) and retained the loyalty of its readers. This last newsprint group will have a 100% share of the Australian print market. It may be Fairfax or Newscorp only time will tell.

Lastly your assertion that only one or two people control the Australian media is factually incorrect as evidenced by the multiple media groups in Australia as well as government owned outlets. Media is not just news print but also television, radio, paytv, magazines, internet streaming, internet editorials etc. People make their own choices and don't rely solely on one news source. Total of 11 major media groups for a population of 23million looks very diverse - Newscorp, Stokes, Ch9, Ch10, Macquarie, Fairfax, APN, Southern Cross, PMP, Bauer, Government News.

We don't need new laws controlling the media. There are already sufficient laws in the form of cross media ownership rules, Australian content and the ACCC (which needs strengthening as I've said a number of times with regards to other industries). The government should focus on changing their message delivery rather than getting angry with the media and blaming them on why the public are not listening.

There are numerous criticisms to be made of governments but equally there are numerous criticisms to be made of non-independent media, Fairfax Media is no better than News Ltd. The ABC, too, can be faulted. But for Alan Kohler to even suggest that the media and free press are being unfairly targeted by government to curtail media influence and bias seems downright hypocritical. I watched Stephen Conroy being interviewed on Lateline last night and at times I could have sworn he was wearing an Adolf-like moustache but then again I can see his frustration at media jaundice toward the Labor government and anybody who even signals they're somewhat left leaning. Which is why I have stopped buying newspapers and read only what interests me and preferably for free. Why should I pay for perpetual partiality and what is, after all, a mediocre standard of journalism that has the proclivity to recycle tired, old, pre-determinedly prejudicial opinions?

I don't trust this government and I don't trust their motives regarding media reform. I do no want the government legislating to control the media. I have no idea what the long term consequences may be of clauses they bury in the legislation. We've seen how the Paul Keating's 'reform' of free speech has been used to get Andrew Bolt 20 years or so after it was implemented. I fully suspect Labor and Greens will bury another bomb in their legislation that will come back to haunt s later. Free speech and freedom of the media is one of our greatest freedoms. Nothing should be done that could risk compromising that freedom.

WELL! Hasn't Alan stirred up the comentariat? So Stephen Conroy is going to ride in on his white horse and save us from big, bad Rupert, is he? It's obvious to me that everyone missed Alan's point in their eagerness to find him tainted by his new membership of the "non-independent" media. That is, whether you think the media's lies and manipulation are any worse than the government's, it's laughable that anyone thinks it can be regulated in this day and age. A government process to certify the Press Council (heretofore the "lapdog" of proprietors - Conroy's sound bite du jour) is sure to fail its very purpose, in the age of social media and non-certifiable news content on the internet. You can all howl at the moon as much as you like, but this is a patently political stunt to counter the patently anti-government views of a few media owners, and will have ZERO net effect.

No doubt there is a unresolvable conflict between the media and a current democratically elected government.

Should the media be regulated? Yes.
Should any government set the regulations? No.
Should any committee set up by any government set the regulations? No.

One day soon computer software will write the news.... automatically. At first it will be rubbish but that is only at first. Later it will just be cheaper. It will be difficult to differentiate the people written news from the programmed news. It will have correct spelling and facts would have been checked. Lies would still be possible but they would be known about. The truth could be rated.

Should we get a rated truth from the computer or rubbish from a journalist? How will the regulator judge? If 60% of all journalist output is rubbish and only 1% is rubbish from the computer does this mean the computer is worth reading?

What happens when the woman in bathers on page 3 of the Sun no longer exists as a person? Fully airbrushed, so to speak. Will this be regulated? The same goes for recorded television and even radio.

What happens when the computer can scan every article that was written for the last decade and determine whether the predictions by people actually happened? Does that make failed predictions lies?

For those of us who thinks this just will not happen, it will. It's cheaper than humans. It's predictable, requires no time off and produces output as required.

Too many people believe that the ideal of "Freedom of Speech" outweighs the LAWS of libel, slander, discrimination etc. It doesn't. Bolt doesn't understand this. He makes stuff up, outright lies and then gets in trouble for it, before hiding behind the "Free Speech" banner, claiming he can say whatever he wants, irrespective of accuracy. Mainstream media are now using a similar argument, that the principle of free speech removes any responsibility to maintain their journalist code of ethics - which are based on the principles of — truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability. Mainstream media are too frequently sacrificing truth/accuracy, objectivity/impartiality and misleading the public in pursuit of an agenda handed down by their boss who has a clear and unapologetic political agenda. Freedom of Speech STILL means that the media has to maintain their codes of ethics, and of course uphold the law. The standards are about making sure the media maintains their own ethics, the supposed attack on Free Speech is a straw man argument only and makes one wonder why certain publications are protesting about having to have SOME ethics at all in relation to honesty and objectivity. Of course, the Daily Telegraph (News Ltd) will claim I akin to Stalin, Castro and Mao and other murderous dictators by suggesting that they should abide by a code of ethics, but their attitude highlights why reforms are required.

I am afraid I rather agree with an earlier comment. Much as I still enjoy Business Spectator I have found it feels far less "independent" since it became another part of the Murdoch Empire. I have also noticed that posts on particular subjects don't get through moderation and that there is an apparent new trend to not even allow comment on certain key articles.

That is a pity because currently there really is nowhere to turn to. The commercial media has polarised to the extreme right through purchase and ownership rather than through conviction.
There are two choices for a society when this happens - to allow what is a de-facto political censorship to go on - or to intervene through Parliamentary action

This latter course should only be taken with the greatest hesitation and reluctance - but I fear we have reached that point. If the present Australian media prefer this not to happen the solution is easy - voluntarily break up the empires, stop cross media ownership through personal behaviour independent of Government, and sell off vast areas of activity and publications to a diversity of companies.

If Murdoch himself wanted to make a lasting contribution to democratic society it would be to dismantle the very empire he has built.

How about it Mate?

Well said Sam Reich.

Whether you like it or not, free speech does exist in our country, our fighting men and women fought to ensure we have it. I also note one comment mentioned our friend Mr Bolt. For your information freedom of speech does not outweigh the laws pertaining to libel, slander or discrimination. If Bolt broke any of those laws he would be dealt with accordingly. His comments are certainly aggressive and he likes to walk a fine line, but freedom of speech is not an excuse to break to law.

Unfortunately some peoples perception of free speech is somewhat clouded and gets mixed up with their funny ideas of what they believe should be ethical standards. In England the Murdock press broke those ethics and consequently paid the price, so did those that turned a blind eye to it. So don't worry your pretty little heads media break the laws, they pay the price, just like you and me.

This Conroy thing is not about the law, it's labors way to shut the media up from criticising their party. And lets face it Labor don't have a very good track record and a lot of this criticism can be justified. Some people just don't like being criticised, even when they know they deserve it. The sad thing is of course when government start dictating what media can and can't do, we may as well throw away democracy. But than as this government moves further and further to the left that exactly where we are heading, everything controlled by the government. We become zombies, unable to think because we don't have to. May seem like a great life, but will soon get boring, especially when you find out you own nothing and realise you are like the media, can only do what you are told. But than from what I read in this forum I think there are those that would love to see Australia become a socialist dictatorship. Do me a favour, please wait until I depart this earth first, because I really don't think some of you fully understand what you are agreeing to.

Alan you are partly right: the ALP govt seem to think they can make a rule for aynthing and it will work but this, like much of their legislative program is at best naive.
I have an uncle in New Zealand who tells me whenever he needs a good laugh he switches the TV to Sky News Australia.
If we all just take a deep breath and enjoy the hilarity that is mainstream media we might find they start to straighten themselves out.
For what its worth I don't think Alan is beholden to News Ltd but the tone of this article is more shrill than I recall in some of his other efforts.

It appears to me some of the commentators believe the Australian public are mindless morons who can't decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. I contest this, for I think most Australians are intelligent and can see through misinformation, lies and manipulation. Rob Burgess has a counter argument in todays BS so why is everyone becoming so paranoid. I can watch ABC for thier interpretation and then watch Andrew Bolt for his interpretation and then make my own mind up as to the relevence or not of any of those views. I read Rob Burges and I read Alan and I feel informed enough to know where I see the truth. The scary thing about this government is it thinks that its viewpoint is the viewpoint that we must have and no other point can be made because it comes from someone it hates. We don't want the government involved in what we think, and just in case Tony Abbott is Prime Minister and can use these laws with effects we don't agree with, lets just agree to disagree that the Government should but out and leave the media competition for our minds remain the status quo, for I CAN decide for myself thankyou.

Rob the Business Spectator is not MSM and it is wishfull thinking that the general public

I don't believe it is appropriate that the concept of journalistic ethics - ie, — truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability, should be abandoned for political reasons, which is what happens with Australian media.
No one denies that the mainstream media has certainly abandoned objectivity and impartiality and fairness, and there are frequent abuses in regards to accuracy and truthfulness too. That is not being debated. What seems to be the debate is - should the larger media barons, who have abandoned journalistic integrity, be allowed to continue to regulate themselves (ie, do nothing but continue).
Rod suggests we can seek out and watch/read different avenues to determine basic facts. But we shouldn't have to. That's the point. Journalistic integrity should apply, we shouldn't have to seek out varying sources to get an unbiased reporting of the news and compare them. Sure, different slants and opinions are always going to occur, but currently it crosses a line where it so much of what the media done is an orchestrated campaign to deceive and influence. And, the majority of the Australian public ARE mindless morons - they still believe that the media upholds basic standards in honesty and objectivity, so when they read something, they think it as being fact. I would counter Rod's contesting that most Australians are intelligent, by pointing out the rise in popularity of reality tv.

Here's some food for thought - if you believe policing the media to ensure honesty and objectivity is applied finally would stop any talk about Labor - does that mean you admit that the media have currently been lying and lacking in objectivity? In effect "We can't lie and mislead for political reasons anymore, which means we've got nothing to say about Labor".

And for the record, with the Coalition to assume power in a few months, this 'big bad Labor plot' that makes them on par with mass murdering dictators like Stalin, Mao and Castro (according to News Ltd), will actually benefit the Coalition government soon (based on the tinhat theory its all about Government controlling the media 100% and freedom of speech no longer existing).

Ludicrous Media reporting is getting ludicrous laws. Sounds like a good fit to me. MSM journalists with the ability to report all sides without fear of redundancy would change the landscape and maybe sell a few more newspapers.

I would have written the same piece, making the same points, a year ago (before Business Spectator was acquired by News Ltd).

To be clear, those points are:
1. That regulating for diversity now is pointless because there is already so much diversity;
2. That the proposed reform clearly represents an increase in regulation and therefore some kind of limitation on freedom of speech;
3. That the media’s biggest challenge is improving trust (from readers) and that handling complaints properly is an important part of doing that. Given its current difficulties, the media should be so good at dealing with complaints in order to regain that trust that anything required by the new legislation was also pointless and unnecessary. But as things stand that’s not the case.

Having my say:

I don't appreciate this publication and others reprinting government press releases without evaluation of the sides. I suppose it becomes very easy and cheap to acquire content. Yet when published in the news then it gets an aura of independence. I don't think it right, but maybe I am being too picky and the world is not perfect.

In terms of the public interest test: who is going to protect the public from the dreadful behaviour and treatment of each other the spews forth from Parliament? The politicians set a very bad example for all Australians. No it is not right all the name calling etc. In business they say play the ball not the person. In my view it is in the DNA of this government to attack all of those who oppose as if this is the right thing to do. They don't like some articles in the press now they will attack the press. Labor Government please put all this in an international context, is Australia much more distorted in reporting than in other OECD democracies? Please make this case to the people.

In my view, in many instances this government has drawn criticism upon itself for poor planning. A point is a plan announced for a detention centre in East Timor without any consultation with East Timor. The government at times seems to govern with planning, relative to business, on the back of an envelope. We expect better from this government. They gave themselves a massive pay rise recently with the PM making more than Obama yet we don't have any better result.

Another point of poor use of office: Swan announcing that the tax take from the miners went from 1 in three dollars to 1 in seven dollars (as if depreciation, and deduction for interest are not legitimate ATO sanctioned deductions). Audited results from Rio and BHP in the range of 32% to 42% - higher than the 30% corporate tax rate because of the royalties factored in. Swan does not correct the error and puts the 1 in 3 to 1 in 7 in government funded TV commercials for greater taxing. Please Mr. Treasurer get your fact straight - you have made the press look very good in this regard.

In terms of freedom of speech at Business Spectator - I salute the recent changes. There is now a bigger box to write and the comments go on right away - like Climate Spectator. Previous to the change I got the impression of a left leaning bias in terms of which comments were put up.

In terms of equal views, maybe we can expand on what the Daily Telegraph has done for a long time in their Sunday. They have a left viewpoint editorial by Paul Howes next to a right leaning editorial by Piers Ackerman. We could do better - by aligning the editorial on the same topic. How about put an issue such as Media Reform then we have a Labor View, a Coalition view, and a Greens view. This could even be done in Business Spectator - perhaps a government view and a Coalition view.

I am somewhat cynical of the ALP Conroy proposals and view them as more of an attempt to annoy or maybe even blackmail the current established media owners into submission.. But why are they putting these proposals up now at this stage of the election cycle and not waiting to see if they win the Federal elections or why have they waited so long anyway?

Whats the real point of attempting to rush through the changes now? Who will gain now even if the rules were repealed by the Liberals if they win the Senate?

Imo the attempts are a joint ALP/GREENS initiative even though they seem to be at odds in the media they are really best of mates in matters media, [collusion might be another word] but they are both showing how out of date they really are anyway because the old "media Barons" have already lost control of their customers and no amount of legislation is going to break the assumed power of the media owners which is really governed by their free reading customers and in so doing the government is working against their own calls for businesses to be more productive which can only be achieved by cross media ownership sharing costs with staff and programs. The legislation is based on an illusion that media controls the masses, but as we see every day readers are dissapating into twitter, internet, email, facebook, yahoo to name a few, so I cant see where the Govt/Greens get their ideas that everything has remained the same over the last 50 years and it needs fine tuning perhaps to save the Greens newspaper the Age newspaper maybe? If we recall what Whitlam once said 'nothing will save the" Age if they dont show some inclination to accept new shareholders as Gina Rhinehardt on their Board is my opinion, even if she might be inexperienced it shows the Age Board is not open to new ideas from large investors who are prepared to risk their own money to try new initiatives and the Greens would rather risk the Age go under than letting new experienced owners save it is my only conclusion.. The media customers have been showing their freedom by moving to better services such as BS & Property Observer, Crikey etc are a very good examples, but the sociaist ALP/GREENS media moves can only be seen as not only an attempt to control the media but our personal freedoms of speech. by offering some inducements to parts of the industry which accepts their legislation. Whats new from these socialists anyway?

All social censorship is intrinsically bad. Like most people one immidiately get;s a feeling of something missing in debate if it is censored by government regulation. Why have millions of people fought,suffered and died except to oppose tyranny and to live in a free and open society? This proposed censorship law is socialism and communism at work.

I'm not even somewhat cynical about this reform. I wouldn't let Stephen Conroy change a tyre on my car. Less than six months now and this discussion will be irrelevant when we have adults take over the treasury benches. And if some of the commentators call Bolt a liar, at least let us know what they are [the lies I mean]. I have always considered him, like Alan Kohler, a decent bloke with an opinion, that I am still free to disagree with from time to time.

I feel it would have been better had you not entered this debate as you are now owned by News Ltd. After to day's Daily Telegraph front page and the speech by Kim Williams I fear that you cannot be sen as being independent. We need more unbiased reporting but the level of reporting in News Ltd papers is of concern.

It's amazing, you can pick the lefties: they are the ones that want to control everything. There is no allowance made for people's intelligence when choosing where to get their information. it may came as a surprise but media outlets serve up what they think the public wants to read, watch or listen to, if they didn't they'd go broke. You are given two choices here: you can put up with the garbage that's being served up from your preferred news outlet or, you can put up with political propaganda. Lets not forget; when the other mob get in, they'l use the legislation to their advantage.

As I stated in rob burgess thread. Fundamental to this even conceivingly being unbiased you have to assume the review board would be independent. The independent commissions which so far have resulted in swan not reappointing an rba board member due to a difference in opinion, the recommendation of Peter Costello to be head of the future fund which was subsequently overridden by govt, the independent fair work who are taking an exceedingly long time to investigate Craig Thompson.
News flash - the govt and their appointed boards have proven already they cannot be independent. As if the govt would ever appoint members to a board who did not reflect their views - do u really believe they are that silly. Also when someone gives u a job, you will have gratification towards them for the opportunity.
All this represents is yet another waste of time board that tax payers will fund. There is no logical reason and or actual proof that this would ever be independent or produce anything useful.
Lastly if reporters are made to more publicly publish their mistakes, I suggest to be consistent that the pollies also take out front page coverage across all papers every time they make a mistake - lets start with Julia and her carbon tax comments after all it is a mistake to promise something then do the opposite.

I can't see why everyone's jumping to the defence of a media baron who owns about 70 per cent of our print media in Australia and considers himself an untouchable "king-maker". If the UK is any example, his organisations can't be trusted to provide balanced information which helps stimulate informed debate and democratic decision making. Nor can they be trusted not to run campaigns to vilify and discredit anyone who disagrees with them - something Silvio Berlusconi understands only too well. Am I wrong in thinking that balanced reporting is of the responsibilities which goes with a free press? If you can't trust media self-regulation, and we've seen examples that show we can't, then why not place the media under independent scrutiny? After all it will be Tony Abbott's henchmen enforcing the new regulations after the next election. And not all Australians are as sophisticated as Alan Kohler at using the internet to find unbiased news coverage. All this hysteria is not about protecting democracy but about protecting media proprietors' control of biased content in media outlets which are used to persuade voters to elect more business-friendly governments. It's Rupert's democratic right to run campaigns against one side of politics, but it's our democratic duty to call him out on it. To follow Rupert's and Alan's arguments to a logical conclusion, why not call for the abolition of the state and federal watchdogs like the ombudsmen, scrap foreign and media ownership laws, outlaw court scrutiny of business dealings, dismantle any independent body working against corruption, throw away the laws governing police and parliamentary integrity, and eliminate any other watchdog who makes it difficult for someone to run their own profitable agenda against the public interest. I can think of at least one current NSW MP, one Victorian MP and one federal MP who would love that sort of outcome.

As to where the bias lies, just look at the decline of the blatantly leftist Fairfax press over the past 20 years and the rise of News Ltd during the same period.

Despite this Labor Government's belief, the people are not all fools to be brainwashed and propagandised by repeated lies and half-truths.

News Ltd is obviously doing something right (no pun intended).

I couldn't agree more with John Murphy, and it is about time we have more balanced arguments in the Spectator too!

Whilst I am in total agreement with "freedom of the Press" I find the way the mainstream media operates in Australia nothing short of deplorable. With freedom comes responsibility, lack of bias and the reporting of issues rather than the sweeping under the carpet of important problems.

Anyone who reads the Murdoch publications would realise that bias exists in the favour of business interests. Having tried to air the ongoing issues of corrupt behaviour in local government, let alone government in general, I have found that the mainstream media will not report some issues and has an apparent symbiotic relationship with government, not wishing to rock the boat on most cases. So whilst corruption continues with the blind eye from the media and reporters running cat up the tree self interest stories the public is forced to endure financial hardships to pay for what never ending rorts and corruption.

Do we need reform in the media? You bet your life Alan. But not taking away "freedom" to report. Rather compelling the media to report fairly and negating media ownership which forces employees into mediocre reporting and to ignore issues which should be reported. One only needs to look at the long one sided attack on federal Labor to understand the forces at work and whose interests are being served.

I think the existence of Business Spectator and the freedom and diversity of speech and ideas in the comments section,even in the face of new ownership,and especially with recent changes,proves the points in this Spectator's column.
Just reading through the comments section of this article,proves once again that the Business
Spectator is doing its job by provoking thought in its readers and then allowing them to respond through the comments.Quite often we learn just as much from these comments which spur us into further investigation.

Media in other countries in whatever form, usually focuses first on international, then regional and lastly local issues. About the only format of that standard in Australia is the SBS television evening news. Most of the other TV stations often sensationalize domestic happenings foremost, which lowers the quality and appeal of their output and really sends a message that this is a very introspective nation.

Importantly, there is greater emphasis on reporting in overseas media and much less on opinions from media management and journalists. Print media in Australia also seems obsessed with trying to create national 'heroes' in multiple fields with newspapers and magazines replete with 'celebrity' oriented trash. Both of these shortcomings are a big turn-off for those interested in quality reporting of news.

Coincidentally, I was yesterday asked to participate in an IPSOS survey regarding media. The first hour long segment focused mainly on newspapers and magazines read and what forms of media might be viewed in lieu. The second segment was apparently oriented more toward what people like/dislike in media presentation, but also required an amount of personal information. I therefore declined to complete the second segment which I thought might have been more important as feedback regarding media quality.

The nation is being better served by a widening proliferation of blogs where people can more freely express their views on particular issues. If the political parties in particular have any wisdom, they should be constantly monitoring such forums to get a better feel for public opinion. Opinion polls are generally a less accurate mechanism, having too many variables in their derivation.

It seems to me the media at large does not need more regulation; but it really does need to lift its game, all over Australia.

Why are so many posters against an Australian by birth Rupert Murdoch having turned a small Adelaide newspaper into an empire in the English speaking world ? The guy had energy, ideas and enormous courage to expand from whatever percentage in Adelaide to 70% of Australian media if that is really true. The guy had guts whilst the rest of us enjoy our simple lives reading his papers, while he was turning them into gossip sheets ,,,giving the customers what they wanted and growing his market...its just a pity that some of his newspape readers also happen to be dumb Labor Party voters and that is why the ALP GREENS want to control the so called media barons in my opinion so they can try control [censor] information flow...

During its growth period News Ltd got another great idea and opportunity to takeover the Fox movie group in USA and he went for it...remembering for Rupert to grow there had to be lots of free and willing sellers of all manner of media groups and lots of new technology being developed by others and used by Ruperts News group. Every politician talks about Aussies needing to become more efficient and productive....gee well how can that happen if the ACCC keeps wanting to break up Aussie firms to be ownered by strangers/foreigners ....its just plain silly madness imo, that the great AussieTelstra had to give away some of their market share to Optus owned by Singapore Governent. Is Conroy suggesting the same for Rupert and News Ltd?

We should all be pleased that Rupert the scoundrel has been able to survive all the hard knocks during his business career to be still in business now. We have all been free to buy or read other media if we did not like his newspapers...we where not forced to read the gossip papers he prints with guns at our head.. We have been free and willing participants in supporting him building his great empire and we readers of BS know that corporate ownership must happen for BS to survive because its human founders wont live forever and yes I have noticed some of my rantings have not got past first base but I am free to try other media means to get my points and opinions across but essentially BS is still great read even if I have to put up with the ex-Age newspaper raders socialists ranting on about their "crazy" ideas, but it all ads to the diversity of free speech and political and economic opinion expression. Put another way we are all part of the real parliament in Australia ..the parliament of opinion through which BS is but one of many medium we contributors have at our disposal and no amount of intervention by ALP Greens will silence us will they?.

AH, Alan when you are on the ABC your opinions are way Left, and when you are on BS your opinions are way Right, you must have an identity problem, or is it just us, the public, seeing what you say through our own bias. I kind of think you are doing a great job and you should continue because on some days I agree with you and on some days I disagree with you and, as I think I am intelligent, I would not want, nor expect it to be any other way. It would appear that the further left a responder is the less they like oposing opinion and the more likely they are to disallow, by law if they can, anyone for daring to think different to them. I want to live in a world where people have their own opinions and are free to express them, even if they are journalists and the media in general, get over yourselves people!

I am amazed at the diversity of opinion. However, to me the Conroy solution is typically irrelevant because, I am convinced that for the most part, the majority of Australians have become heartily sick of politics, the current government, the opposition spoiling tactics and of paramount concern, the quality of the people in Canberra who represent the voting constituents. Everything now appears to be all about power. Either how to keep it or how to wrest it away from those deemed unworthy of having it. It's a sad indictment on the aspirations of our political entities. No wonder "social" media has become an all embracing means of communication, as one astute commentator in the above diatribe stated. Long live ABC's Media Watch is my final comment!

Thank you, Alan Kohler, for your usual deep analysis of current business issues! I commented on the original Bus Spec article on Senator Conroy's tabling today of his "my way or the highway" media legislation, commenting on PROCESS more than SUBSTANCE, saying I would read YOUR opinion before considering mine,

So, now I have done BOTH, and I must say "GOOD ON 'YA," as I've learned to say in STRINE in the 20 years I've been here.