Here’s a story from media land that raises a couple of significant issues and should raise the eyebrows of at least a couple of our nation’s politicians and media regulators.
Yesterday Brisbane’s morning tabloid The Courier-Mail carried a smallish item about a directive issued by “bosses at radio station 4BC” to the Brisbane station’s “talk show hosts” (pictured left).
The problem is, as The Bug mentioned recently, there are no talk-show hosts at 4BC. In fact no on-air hosts at all since local content has evaporated and the station is effectively on relay from its big sister station 2GB in Sydney.
A check of Saturday’s edition of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph shows the Courier’s story was an edited version of one appearing in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph (main picture) about the directive issued by “bosses at radio station 2GB”.
Why did The Courier-Mail see the need to mislead readers? Who knows? But it could just as easily left the Tele’s story untouched except maybe for inserting a line noting that 4BC was affected because it was now on relay from 2GB. Simple and factual.
But it gets worse for the Sydney and Brisbane audiences of the two, or should that be one, or maybe one-and-a-half stations.
The directive issued by the 2GB “bosses” allegedly told announcers not to criticise station advertisers, and not to criticise any TV shows screened on the Nine Network. Macquarie Media which runs the two radio stations and others just happens to be owned by the Nine Entertainment Co which happens to own the Nine TV network too.
The Daily Tele story listed a few examples of where 2GB announcers had lambasted companies advertising on the Macquarie stations and attacked some Nine programs.
So here we appear to have a blatant case of the promotion and protection of commercial interests by censoring the opinions of some of the biggest radio hosts like good old Alan Jones and Ray Hadley.
Have there been any eyebrows raised by those in any of our federal or state parliaments about this muzzling? Any eyebrows raised by those in any agency with responsibility for media licensing and standards?
Not so far, and we suggest we may have to wait a long time for that to happen.
Darwin paper strikes gold
We all know those hard-drinking readers in the Northern Territory love nothing more than, well, hard drinking.
Oh, and they also love a good front-page story about crocodiles.
Croc stories have been a staple of the NT News and when they arise they invariably grace page one even if other papers around the nation all focus on a much bigger story.
But what are the odds of a recent NT News front page featuring stories, albeit short pointers to more expansive treatment on inside pages, of both crocs and booze?
Yet, there it was last week (pictured) at the bottom of page one — a story about the NT government offloading its collection of dangerous crocs and another one about the refurbishment of four of Darwin’s 15 BWS bottle shops. Bingo!
News gives its news a run
It must be nice to own a news outlet or two.
It must be even nicer when that ownership gives you a leg-up when trying to get a run with a story touching upon your own commercial interests.
That was on show last week when major News Corp Australia papers including The Australian and some of its capital city dailies carried page-one pointers and large inside yarns about the call by the company’s executive chairman Michael Miller for new laws to force Google and Facebook to pay for news items generated by the company that the global online giants now snaffle and publish for free (pictured).
Fair enough argument by News Corp, but we can’t help wonder if any other business in the same position would secure such coverage.