Category Archives: Society

Issues of civil society

Distrust the greatest threat to peace

We live in dangerous times, in a world of crumbling trust. The fear and confusion this engenders has spread across almost all societies around the world – free and oppressive, democratic and authoritarian, east and west, north and south, rich and poor. Increasingly, no-one is immune and if we are unaware of the crisis that is because either we are the victims of our government’s duplicity or we are wilfully blinkered. Read More

Kicking the can of liberty along the road

Issues of freedom of speech come in all shapes and sizes, from those central to democracy to those that are just cover for personal obsessions. Two current cases in Australia are just the most recent in a seemingly endless cycle of outrage then nothing getting fixed … kicking the can. One involves government oppression of whistle-blowers and the media. The other a millionaire sportsman asked to choose between the pitch and the pulpit. Read More

Honesty still best policy for global broadcasters

Two events over the past few weeks have reinforced – if any further proof were needed – that honesty is the best policy in the complex world of international broadcasting. The first was the release of an Association for International Broadcasting analyses of rumoured plans by the recently-elected conservative government of Australia to cut off funding to the… Read More

Clouds of war gather over the Internet

The Internet is approaching a crisis. Authoritarian regimes censor and manipulate it to suppress dissent, western governments pursue online whistleblowers and Wikileakers, big business wants to track consumers’ every move. Supposedly liberal governments from the United States to Australia have proved as eager as their conservative predecessors to constrain it. And the media? They have largely been silent,… Read More

Trust me, I’m the Minister

As SBS makes its final preparations to absorb the National Indigenous TV channel in July, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have to take it on trust they’ll actually get a place on the SBS Board. [See Update at end of this article.] Expressions of Interest for two Board vacancies close on Friday (11 May) and although the… Read More

Endless war between newsroom and classroom

There has long been hostility between media academics and conservative journalists, but the Finkelstein review has opened up a new and bitter war of words between the two camps. Why has it come to this and can they both be wrong? The story so far: Acting on growing complaints and spurred on by the News of the World… Read More

Others in the schoolyard created this radio bully

Sydney radio shock jock Kyle Sandilands shows all the signs of being a classic bully, but it is hard to argue he is an entirely self-made one. For although he’s bright enough to be a successful bully – just bright enough to be dangerous, as the saying goes – he has had considerable help along the road to… Read More

Suffer little children

People in most walks of life suffer moments when they wish they were doing something else. Sometimes it is because they’re bored or they want more money, they are not achieving or their job no longer excites them. And sometimes it is because they are utterly ashamed of the behaviour of others in their particular field of work.… Read More

One man’s meat …

It’s all very well – and probably necessary – to expect the peddlers of hate to bear some responsibility for Saturday’s multiple murders in Pima, Arizona, if only because of the atmosphere of hatred their rantings helped to create. It is too early yet to say what drove 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner to kill or wound 20 people,… Read More

The War of News Corp – Hold the front page!

If the first casualty in war is truth – even a war involving News Corporation – then the second casualty is Vince Cable. Ironically, they were both hit by the same bombshell. The British Government’s Business Secretary is yet another victim of a current outbreak of honesty. Perhaps it’s just his small ‘l’ liberal-democratic naivety or perhaps collateral… Read More