It’s Christmas: E-Lim-I-Nate the negative

To hell with Longfellow’s Rainy Day: Into every media commentator’s life a little sun must shine. And there is no better time for it than the eve of the festive season.

We have had a year that put even greater strains on journalism than usual. While journalists have never been the most popular people in the country, 2021 marked a dark juncture when the disaffected section of the community turned on them. That was on top of the stresses of Covid restrictions that have adversely affected advertising and (for Auckland newsrooms at least) had many journalists working from home.

So, it’s time to Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive. When Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen wrote that song during the Second World War, things were starting to turn in the Allies’ favour. I would like to think the same can be said for journalism as we say goodbye to the second year of Covid and look forward to 2022. Continue reading “It’s Christmas: E-Lim-I-Nate the negative”

Big Billy-Goat Gruff gives trolls a good kicking

Trolls beware: They’re coming to get you…if you live in Australia.

On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the latest measure to make social media platforms behave reasonably. He said legislation would be introduced to the Australian Parliament requiring platforms like Facebook to have robust complaints procedures and requiring them to ‘unmask’ anonymous accounts which disseminate offensive and defamatory content. If the companies do not comply, the federal court will be given the power to require disclosure.

The move will effectively overturn an earlier High Court ruling relating to posts on mainstream news media Facebook pages. It found the news publishers responsible for comments made by users on their pages. The federal announcement will ensure that social media companies themselves will be held accountable for harmful comments on their platforms. Continue reading “Big Billy-Goat Gruff gives trolls a good kicking”

Multiple media reviews and the lefthand-righthand rule

When I look at my hands, I’m sure the left one knows what the right is doing. I hope the same can be said of the various New Zealand Government enquiries into a broad range of issues that impact on the media.

Each has its own course and involves different government agencies, with a total of four ministers at the helm.

Each enquiry is working diligently to address areas that have long needed overhaul. The Ministry of Justice’s proposed changes to laws relating to hate speech and discrimination arose out of the Christchurch Mosque attacks but the need predated those atrocities. The Department of Internal Affairs’ review of content regulation had a similar genesis and it, too, has long needed revision (not least over the issue of multiple mainstream media regulators). And work has been progressing on a new public service media entity and, separately, the reshaping of Māori media. Continue reading “Multiple media reviews and the lefthand-righthand rule”

Did I just buy my last radio?

When I bought a new radio last week, I wondered whether it was the last one I would buy.

No, I’m not planning to part this mortal coil any time soon, but I did wonder whether the wireless was headed for the scrapheap.

After all, smartphones are the new Swiss Army Knife and podcasts are a growth market. Conversely, the daily reach of radio among New Zealand audiences has dropped by 30 per cent since 2014 and it is a straight-line rate of decline.

So here I was, splurging $27.00 on a portable pocket AM FM transistor radio (with emergency flashlight, I might add) and hoping that radio wasn’t dead before Amazon managed to deliver it across Covid-tossed seas. Continue reading “Did I just buy my last radio?”