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Is Google and Facebook's imitation game doomed?

25 September 2017 | David James

Google logo on wallThere are very few examples of companies that have been able to genuinely change when confronted with new circumstances. It looks increasingly that Facebook and Google are approaching this situation. The challenge is likely to come from some quarter that is new and surprising, just as the demolition of conventional media came from companies that could have barely been imagined 20 years ago.

'Both sides' journalism betrays the public interest

20 September 2017 | Ruby Hamad

Censorship muralIn a liberal democracy, the media's most essential function is to serve the public interest. This includes providing information so that the public can make informed decisions. In order to do so, journalists must decide what is in the public interest and why. 'Balanced' coverage of, for example, damaging aspects of the marriage equality No campaign does not fit these criteria.

The sad history of Australian media reform

18 September 2017 | Andrew Dodd

Nick XenophonThe big media players eventually get what they want by wearing down the government of the day and latching on to whatever opportunity comes their way. This month the government handed them the reform they've long craved while Xenophon attempted to win some concessions. We can assume Australia's media market will now become more concentrated. What we don't know is whether Xenophon's trade offs will do enough to protect public interest journalism and media diversity.

Storming the pixels: New frontiers of race activism

04 September 2017 | Tseen Khoo

Toppled Confederate statueThere's storming the barricades, and there's storming the pixels. Critical race activism in the 21st century can take on fascinating forms. A great recent example of this is the destruction of Confederate monuments in the United States, and the debates and actions surrounding these events. They generated larger conversations about culture wars and re-ignited the cycle of argument around historical authenticity, heroism and - dare anyone say it these days? - truth.

How political correctness kills language freedoms

24 August 2017 | David James

xxxxxThe push for politically correct language may be well intentioned enough, but its consequences are often appalling. It can rob us of one of the most important of all human freedoms: the right to use words to mean what we want them to mean.

We treat dogs better than the asylum seekers

22 August 2017 |

ABC logo

Last week I was rung to say my dog was missing. I finished at work as soon as I could, ringing the local council and neighbourhood vet on the way home. Neither had seen anything of him but suggested we post on social media. As my husband and I drove and walked the streets, the messages came in. People were concerned. He was missing from an enclosed yard. Some offered to look, others from further away, shared hope and the Facebook post. The post went everywhere, the last I saw was in Western Australia.


Why having a female Dr Who matters

26 July 2017 | Neve Mahoney

xxxxxIt was recently announced that the thirteenth iteration of the main character in Doctor Who will be played by Jodie Whittaker. A woman. In 2017, the casting of a white woman in a major TV role is hardly revolutionary, except that the role is the Doctor, a regenerative alien who can take on the appearance of anyone, but has for 12 iterations tended towards the persona of a quirky British white man.

Stock images strengthen chronic fatigue stigma

13 July 2017 | Evan Young

Silhouette in mistIf used without thought, stock images can misrepresent and trivialise serious issues. I have the displeasure of living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a hugely misunderstood and devastating condition. When I see an article on CFS, it is almost always beneath a stock photo of somebody yawning or with head in hands. These images contribute to society's misapprehension that CFS is exclusively related to sleep, making it even tougher for patients to live in a world already hard enough to live in.

Encryption and liberties on the 'ungovernable' internet

13 July 2017 | Binoy Kampmark

WhatsApp and Facebook iconsTurnbull's attitude echoes the fear all autocracies have: that control is slipping away, and that citizens cannot be trusted to behave in a modern communications environment without government intrusions. Arguments are repeatedly made that such enlarged powers are never abused - a charmingly naive assumption - and that law enforcement authorities merely need the 'capacity' to have them. These can either abate, or be extended, after a review. The reality tends to be different.

Balance vs fairness in giving airtime to conspiracy theorists

18 June 2017 | Francine Crimmins

Alex JonesThe NBC has pushed ahead with its plans to air Megyn Kelly's interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones despite criticism from friends and family whose loved ones were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, which Jones claims was 'staged by actors' and 'never happened'. This contentious interview has sparked a conversation about which forums should allow dissenting viewpoints and whether dangerous ideas should be given public airtime in a news context.

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