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”