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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Inquiry to examine media's ability to serve the public interest

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The terms of reference for the independent inquiry into the Australian media by former Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, Ray Finkelstein QC, and the highly respected former journalist and Professor of Journalism at Canberra University, Dr Matthew Ricketson, won't fit the narrative of those who portrayed it in advance as a threat to press freedom and to the very existence of the Australian Murdoch empire, as well as to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The inquiry which could turn out to be more friend than foe, has a catch all public interest focus, and is to report by February 2012 on:
a) The effectiveness of the current media codes of practice in Australia, particularly in light of technological change that is leading to the migration of print media to digital and online platforms;
b) The impact of this technological change on the business model that has supported the investment by traditional media organisations in quality journalism and the production of news, and how such activities can be supported, and diversity enhanced, in the changed media environment;
c) Ways of substantially strengthening the independence and effectiveness of the Australian Press Council, including in relation to on-line publications, and with particular reference to the handling of complaints;
d) Any related issues pertaining to the ability of the media to operate according to regulations and codes of practice, and in the public interest.

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