Tag: media

English test essential as it unites the country & enables social-economic connectivity: PM

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File photo.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 7 October 2020: The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison today had an interactive post-budget virtual press conference here with the multicultural media. He gave the opening remarks on the pandemic, it’s consequences, new economic steps for employment and infrastructure development and the government plans till now and the steps charted out in the budget 2020 announced yesterday by the Treasurer. This was followed by a lively question-answer session.

Prominent takeaway’s from the Q-A session were:

- Opening borders to ‘safe countries’ could see it happen with New Zealand.

- English Language requirement for Partner visas essential as ‘English unifies the country and it enables us all to connect both economically and socially and so that’s why we believe that’s an important step that needs to be taken’.

- There has been a need to ensure we get women and young people back into jobs.

- There are pluses and minuses compared to previous recessions.

- Reduced migration intake will have an impact on the Australian economy.

Lastly, the PM said, self-funded retirees, facing reduced income because of the uncertain stock-market, can use the pension loan scheme.

Whether a ratings chase or ideological war, News Corp’s coronavirus coverage is dangerous

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By Denis Muller*

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, insignificant parts of its coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, has become a clear and present danger to the welfare of Australian society.

Aping the worst of the American media – notably Murdoch’s Fox News – it rails against science, ridicules the measures being taken to suppress the outbreak, and tries to politicize a germ.

It also propagates hate speech, vilifying ethnic and religious minorities in whose suburbs, schools, and housing towers clusters have broken out.

In all these ways, it drives divisions in Australian society and sows doubt in the minds of an anxious population about the need for lockdowns and other precautions.

This critique is directed primarily at its opinion articles and television commentaries, rather than at its news coverage.

The news coverage has been extensive, has included many voices, and has kept its audiences up to date with what is going on. It has also been vigorous in holding governments to account for their mistakes, which is exactly what the media should do.

But the racism, ridiculing of science and ideological warfare that has disfigured much of the commentary have nothing to do with holding governments to account or providing the community with essential information.

On Sky, Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, Peta Credlin, launched an attack on Muslims and South Sudanese people over Melbourne’s second wave of COVID-19 that was a toxic mixture of vitriol and ignorance.

She blamed South Sudanese people living in Coburg for a cluster of 14 new infections, which she said were triggered by a feast to mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim season of abstinence.

The Society of South Sudanese Professionals pointed out to her that more than 90% of South Sudanese in Victoria are Christian, not Muslim. Moreover, very few of them live in Coburg and the cluster did not consist of South Sudanese people.

For those errors of fact, Credlin apologised. But her fairmindedness did not extend to an apology for a nasty rhetorical question about the character of South Sudanese immigrants in general, linking well-worn tropes about gangs, unemployment and alleged inability to speak “Australia’s national language”.

Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph was onto the same immigrant-bashing exercise. He noted that three of the worst COVID-19 hot spots in Melbourne were the Flemington towers, the Islamic Al-Taqwa College and the Cedar Meats abattoir.

Here was a trifecta for divisiveness: African immigrants, Muslims and a meatworks that, according to Bolt, employs many immigrants and donates money to the Labor Party.

Most recently, as mask-wearing was made compulsory in Victoria, Bolt and Alan Jones turned their attacks against that too. That represented a significant change and was based on new data.

In June, The Lancet, one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world, published an article based on a meta-analysis of 172 observational studies and 44 comparative studies into the efficacy of physical distancing, mask-wearing and eye protection as ways of reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection.

It found face mask use could greatly reduce risk of infection.

The breadth and authoritativeness of the study persuaded health experts in Australia and elsewhere that mask-wearing was now a more important part of the armoury against COVID-19 than had been previously thought.

Bolt likened this to a kind of political backflip. Jones called it “alarmism”.

They might do well to recall the remark of economist John Maynard Keynes:

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

He went on to declare that government responses to the pandemic were shafting ordinary hard-working Australians.

Bolt stated he no longer trusted what Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said about coronavirus. Like Jones, Bolt questioned the medical basis for the decision to make mask-wearing compulsory.

He went on to declare that government responses to the pandemic were shafting ordinary hard-working Australians.

Bolt stated he no longer trusted what Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said about coronavirus. Like Jones, Bolt questioned the medical basis for the decision to make mask-wearing compulsory.

There has also been a party-political dimension to the News Corp coverage.

This has been evident in the contrast between The Daily Telegraph’s coverage of the Ruby Princess debacle (Coalition government in New South Wales) and the Herald Sun’s coverage of the hotel quarantine debacle (Labor government in Victoria).

My analysis of 464 articles in the Telegraph on the Ruby Princess showed the coverage was extensive, quoting many voices trenchantly critical of the way the government handled the case. However, the newspaper itself made no direct personal attack on Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

A similar analysis I undertook of 411 articles in the Herald Sun about hotel quarantine and subsequent second wave likewise showed extensive coverage quoting many voices trenchantly critical of the government. But there was an additional dimension: direct personal attacks on Daniel Andrews, which has become a speciality of Credlin’s.

While the Murdoch organisation’s approach stands out as systematic and sustained, Channel Nine has also made episodic contributions to this dark side of Australia’s media performance.

Its Today program has twice disgraced itself. First it gave Senator Pauline Hanson a platform from which to make a racist attack on the people in Melbourne’s public housing towers. Then Today hosted an extreme right-winger, DeAnne Lorraine, from the United States, who says COVID-19 is a conspiracy to change the world.

Her stream of consciousness in support of this proposition included a reference to the Caduceus, symbol of medicine since time immemorial.

Fake science. And look at the snake. The snake is their logo. That should tell you everything you need to know, right there.

Whether the motive is to chase ratings, as with Nine, or to prosecute ideological and cultural warfare, as with Murdoch’s News Corporation, the consequences for Australian society are dire.

The coronavirus pandemic has created well-founded anxiety in people for their health and economic well-being. In times like these, there is always a tendency in human nature to look for scapegoats or to deny reality.

Media coverage of the kind described here exploits that anxiety and feeds those natural human impulses, leading to social division and resistance to medical advice.

Both these consequences work against the suppression of the virus. That is why it represents a clear and present danger to society.

* Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

Source- The Conversation, July 22, 2020. (Published under the Creative Commons Licence)

OPINION: The future of journalism

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Photo: IPS

By Andrés Cañizález*

CARACAS, Apr 7 2020 (IPS) – All over the world, journalism is going through an era of uncertainty. It is not yet clear what the business model for the news field will be, and this is happening precisely at a time when information is a central issue in every person’s life.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted both dimensions. Citizens in preventive confinement consume much more news regarding the wide implications of COVID-19; but this, in turn, happens under a modality not necessarily lucrative for the news business. The scenario of a post-pandemic global recession is stirring fears in the news business field among many countries.

Citizens in preventive confinement consume much more news regarding the wide implications of COVID-19; but this, in turn, happens under a modality not necessarily lucrative for the news business

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism published its report on the future and main trends expected in this field for 2020. This was released before the global spread of the coronavirus. However, the document is very relevant as it draws important lines on the future of journalism.

In this article, for reasons of space, the most significant aspects of the executive summary – just the tip of the iceberg – are included. For those interested in further detail, I recommend reading it in full here.

The study is based on surveys administered to executives in the journalistic world and leaders of digital projects in the media. A total 233 people in 32 countries were surveyed. The countries include the United States, Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, and Japan.

Nevertheless, most respondents live in Europe: United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, Austria, Poland, Finland, Norway, and Denmark. It is very important not to lose sight of this fact, as it implies the viewpoints of people living in environments with no issues regarding connectivity, Internet speed, or access to smart phones.

Below, a closer look at some interesting aspects:

Most media executives claim they are confident about the prospects of their companies; but they are much less certain about the future of journalism. This is usually the case in surveys: When people are asked if conditions in their country will get worse, to which they usually reply affirmatively, next thing they say – conversely – they expect an improved personal situation.

One of the significant issues about journalism resides in local news output. There are fears of loss of credibility impacting journalists and media in general; and this may be intensified by attacks on journalism from public officials. Furthermore, it may be the case that Donald Trump is turning into a role model of this form of attack for populist leaders of any ideological persuasion in their run for power.

Closely related to the above, 85% of the respondents agreed that the media should do more to fight fake news and half-truths, that is, addressing disinformation while keeping an eye on the fact that it can be encouraged or steered straight from the hubs of political power.

The global crisis generated by the coronavirus, leaving thousands of casualties behind, with no certainty about the effectiveness of the vaccines currently under evaluation, has been a hotbed for the spread of fake news. These not only increase in contexts of political tension, but also thanks to the uncertainty prevailing at this time.

How should journalism be funded? Media owners still rely heavily on subscription fees: Half of them assure it will be the main avenue of income. About a third of respondents (35%) think that advertising and income from readers will be equally important. This is a big change in the mindset of those running the media: Only 14% venture that they will manage to operate exclusively on advertising.

Without knowing exactly the global economic impact of coronavirus, news companies must brace themselves for the direct impact of a massive recession on the pockets of their readership base, as they, faced with the dilemma of paying for news or meeting basic needs, may end up choosing the latter.

On the other hand, there is much concern among publishers and media project leaders about the growing power of digital platforms providing social media to the public (Facebook, Twitter, Google). Although this concern is widespread, there is no consensus on what kinds of response should be given to this new power that has been consolidating.

It is feared that regulations approved by the legislative or executive branches of government will end up hurting instead of helping journalism (25% to 18% of respondents), although most consider that they will not make a noticeable difference (56%).

2020 will be the year of podcasts. Over half of respondents (53%) state that initiatives in this field will be important this year. Others point to text-to-voice conversion as a way of capitalizing on the growing popularity of these formats.

We are likely to see more moves from the media this year to customize digital covers and explore other forms of automatic recommendation. Over half of respondents (52%) state that such AI-supported initiatives will be very important; but small companies fear to lag behind. This is still practically a science fiction topic for readers in Southern Hemisphere countries.

Attracting and retaining talent is a major concern for media companies, especially for IT positions. Another concern relates to the way in which companies are taking action on gender diversity. In this area, 76% believe they are taking steps in the right direction.

However, although progress is being made on gender diversity within the news media, this is not the case for other forms of diversity – geographic (55%), political (48%), and racial (33%). There is remarkably less progress regarding decisions inside of news companies and, in some cases, these issues that are just not part of their agendas.

The outlook for the future of journalism, in general, is marked by questions rather than certainty. The world as it turns in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic may further trigger some of these questions, without any likely answers in the short term.

* The author is a Venezuelan journalist and Doctor of political science.

In a rebuff to big media outlets, the Fair Work Commission rules digital journalists also covered by Award benefits

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Photo: MEAA

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 21 November: In a landmark verdict on 20 November 2019 the Fair Work Commission ruled digital journalists will be entitled to penalty rates, overtime and other key conditions, which print journalists access from the Journalists Published Media Award, the benchmark award in the published media industry (covering news titles and magazines).

The verdict removes an anomaly where digital journalists, doing the same job as print journalists, were denied access to Award conditions.

In its historic ruling yesterday but announced today, the full bench of the Fair Work Commission has agreed with the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance’s (MEAA), the premier media union in Australia, argument that digital media workers should have full access to the Award.

The decision removes an anomaly where digital journalists, doing the same job as print journalists, were denied access to the award.

It means that digital media journalists will have access to minimum standards for their wages, penalty rates, overtime and other conditions of employment such as hours of work and breaks.

A media release from the MEAA says, “The Fair Work decision is part of the four-yearly review of modern awards. MEAA first put its case to the Commission in 2015. MEAA’s arguments for including digital journalists were strongly opposed by some of Australia’s biggest media outlets (including Nine Entertainment – incorporating the former Fairfax company, Rural Press and the Daily Mail).”

MEAA Media director Neill Jones says, “The Fair Work ruling means that if you work for a digital media start-up or a digital-only publication you are no longer treated as a second-class journalist.

“This decision removes the award’s outdated focus solely on print journalists which placed digital workers at a disadvantage. The decision to modernize the award brings those journalists together under one standard, in recognition of their shared roles and responsibilities as media professionals, regardless of whether they work online or in print.”

MEAA Media federal president Marcus Strom says, “Digital is the reality of all newsrooms today. It’s about time the award caught up with the working lives of our members.

“Congratulations to the MEAA Digital Media Committee made up of working journalists at a range of online publications. Now, more than ever, journalists working in digital media need to join the union so we can collectively enforce these new entitlements.”

The FWC has also ruled that journalists working for country non-daily newspapers should be entitled to a 10% weekend penalty rate loading if they have to work on a Saturday or Sunday. This is the second significant outcome for workers in this Fair Work ruling.

The decision has a 12-month transition period before it comes into full effect.

VIDEO : “Politically Free, Imprisoned by Profit”

P. Sainath while delivering 22nd Safdar Hashmi Memorial Lecture talked about the state of Indian Media and deep impact of corporate houses on it. He took jibe at the surgical strikes and said that it had exposed the bias in the Indian Media. “Any vestige of spine vanished in the last 35-40 days,” he said. The nature of the media in subcontinent has changed enormously in last 10-15 years.