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ABC should lose international TV channel

01 February 2014 | Michael Mullins

ABC logoTony Abbott's suggestion that the ABC should be patriotic in its news reporting is not compatible with its Charter obligation to truth and impartiality. But it is a reminder that the ABC has muddied its own waters by taking on the running of the Government's Australia Network international television service, which gives patriotism priority over truth.

Journalistic ethics in transgender tragedy

23 January 2014 | Ellena Savage

Screen cap from Grantland's article 'Dr V.'s Magic Putter' shows a cartoon version of the 'magic' putter beside a cracked golf ballLast week a troubling story broke on sports journalism site Grantland. While investigating the background of Dr V., an avowed physicist who had invented a revolutionary golf putter, journalist Caleb Hannan discovered that Dr V. was a trans-woman. In the course of the investigation, Dr V. committed suicide. This tragic case raises questions about journalistic ethics, not least of which is if journalism is, by its very nature, unethical.

Best of 2013: McGuire ape gaffe exposes Australian tolerance as myth

1 Comment
08 January 2014 | Ruby Hamad

Adam Goodes in actionThose who object to Indigenous people being called 'apes' and to white men painting themselves black are dismissed as being politically correct and denying free speech. But how can Adam Goodes choose not to be offended by comments conceived for the very purpose of justifying crimes against the racial group to which he belongs?

Facebook personality disorder

19 December 2013 | Ellena Savage

One of Ellena Savage's 'comic selfies'Social media requires us to produce 'profiles' of ourselves that represent our cultural aspirations; not only who we are, but who we imagine we would like to be. This is often liberating and creative. But the digital sphere is not as innocent as mere self-expression. The more we believe that we are inherently self-made, essential beings, our capacity to recognise the cultural and economic forces greater than us suffers.

Rights and wrongs of ABC spy reports

28 November 2013 | Walter Hamilton

Leaked documents as captured by ABC TVThe ABC does not have a special responsibility to be 'diplomatic' in deciding what to report and what not to report. It does not have an obligation to adjust its news judgments to implicitly support government policies, or to weigh up what the majority of the public might think to do in such a situation. It must only exercise its professional judgment as to 'news value', and be accountable for it.

Would Crikey pay Doris Lessing?

21 November 2013 | Ellena Savage

Cover of Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook features a young woman in a nightgown sitting on the floor with a book and a cigaretteLast week a letter circulated among freelance writers that called out Crikey's online arts daily, The Daily Review, for its decision not to pay freelance conributors, despite being a commercial, advertising-driven enterprise. The death this week of British writer and Nobel laureate Doris Lessing speaks further to this issue of whether writers should be paid for their work. The way she lived her life could not be disentangled from how and what she wrote.

Marring the Cardinal's image

25 September 2013 | Andrew Hamilton

George Pell in bishop's raimentThe limitations of Marr's account are the obverse of its virtues. It sifts Pell's motives and words but not those of his critics, and simplifies complexities. The details are designed to imply character. Churches are empty or full depending on the needs of the plot; Pell does not speak but booms. If a cock crows in a distant farmyard it crows for the Cardinal alone. This makes for engaging reading, but demands careful judgment.

Sarah Hanson-Young's Zoo suit righteous

15 September 2013 | Ruby Hamad

Sarah Hanson-Young weepingPutting aside the outrageousness of 'jokingly' offering sanctuary to asylum seekers in exchange for an Australian senator posing for a lad's magazine, Zoo's actions simply tell us that mouthy women with an opinion can be dealt with by reducing them to sexual objects. And that objectification directly affects how women are perceived.

SBS audience betrays gays with a kiss

13 August 2013 | Ben

Ben and Nam on SBS InsightMy appearance with my partner Nam on last night's Insight episode about marriage equality was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I thought I was strong enough to bear the brunt of bigotry, but the day after the program was filmed I broke down. For the first time, I felt the full force of internalised homophobia and public heterosexism.

Election coverage you can trust

05 August 2013 | Michael McVeigh

Daily Telegraph cover features a photo of Kevin Rudd looking goofy and a headline that reads 'Finally you now have the chance to KICK THIS MOB OUT'One of the things we expect from our media is that they will ask the hard questions on an election trail. Today's editorial from the Daily Telegraph makes it clear that they believe only one party is worthy of your trust. If the mainstream media can no longer be trusted to ask the serious questions of both parties, perhaps it's time for the game to move elsewhere.

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