Presenting the best of @Griffith_Uni student news blogs


THE greatest reward for a teacher at any level of education is in celebrating your students’ successes. Colleague Mic Smith and I did this today as we announced the winners of various awards to our students in the course Online News Production, where students were assigned to create multimedia news content and post them to their own news blogs.

I hope you agree as you browse the winners’ work that there are some outstanding examples of multimedia journalism and social media engagement here across a host of topics.

Congratulations students on aiming for excellence … and achieving it!


Mark (@journlaw)


Brisbane students of Griffith University celebrate their Online News Production Golden Mouse Awards for excellence in news blogs. Photo: Jimmy Wall


Gold Coast Griffith University students proudly display their Golden Mouse awards for excellence in news blogging. Photo: Kirsty Schmitt

Golden Mouse Awards 2014 – Brisbane 

Golden Mouse Award for Best Overall Blog

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.37.11 PMErin Maclean

Lady Game Bug


Golden Mouse Award for Best Multimedia News Story

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.38.37 PMNatasha Hoppner

‘Police say vested interests will prevent power abuse’

B4G20 blog


Golden Mouse Awards – Gold Coast

Golden Mouse Award for Best Overall Blog

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.42.41 PMPaul Eyers, James Laidler and Tom Mann

Waterways News Gold Coast


Golden Mouse Award for Best Multimedia News Story

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.44.21 PMDanielle Laing

‘Food safety, fraud and what it means for organic farming in China’

Organic in China blog


Other category finalists and winners (Brisbane)

Best education or arts blog finalists

A Reel Film Focus

Jordan Towning, Jane Orme, Joshua Wells, Riley Jackson

Best education or arts blog winner

 Art Student Q :

Tara Ingham

Best human rights / international blog

Tamara Sydenham and Gabrielle Smith

Brisbane Universities Amnesty International Clubs

Best community blog

Emma McCluney

Ambush the Airwaves

Most mindful blog on social issues finalist

Jimmy Wall

Fork: Privacy and Cryptography News

 Most mindful blog on social issues winner

Christopher Da Silva and Tim Noyes (NA)

Hard Core Truth Australia

 Best multicultural or indigenous issues blog

Audrey Courty

Indigenous Pulse

Best mental health blog finalist

Daniel Conaghan: A Different Perspective

Best mental health blog winner

Talkin‘ About Mental Health

Krystal Gordon and Rachel Harding

Best sports blog

Nickolas Feldon and Jonathan Najarro

Round 13

Best nature, science or environment blog finalist

Amy Mitchell-Whittington: Fishes for Thought

Best nature, science or environment blog winner

Simon Graham: Returning Cuckoo


Finalists and winners (Gold Coast)

Best education or arts blog finalists

Lydia Collins Donlon – Chasing Swell –

Phil Kimmins Ubud Letters –

 Kirsty Schmitt - Educating Alice-

 Best education or arts blog winner

 Janis Hanley

Digital storytelling for learning

Best human rights / international blog finalists

Gold Coast Refugee Australia

Pratsiri Setthapong

Best human rights / international blog winner

Africa: The Real Picture

Ruth Goodwin, Uduakobong Etukudo, Ohimai Longe

Best community blog finalist

Sophie Wood 

Do Good Brisbane

Best community blog winners

Gabrielle Quinn and Jayde Austin

The Hidden Wonders

Most mindful blog on social issues finalists

Maleika Halpin:

Courtney Kelly  and Daphne Maresca:

Most mindful blog on social issues winner

Samuel Turner:

What are the Odds: Gambling in Australia

Best multicultural or indigenous issues finalists

Courtney Kelly – Bound By Culture –

Best multicultural or indigenous issues blog winner

Kaylene Lawson

Street Culture

Best health, nutrition and fitness blog

Jessica O’Donnell

Healthy Mind and Body

Best mental health blog finalists

Sarra Davis – Sincerely Sarra -  

Crystal-Rose Fleming- Youthful Health -

Best mental health blog winners

Jo-Anne Wormald and Emma Lasker (GC)

Golden Oldies News

Best sports blog finalists

Brooke Dalton and Alexandra Purser

SEQ Sports Report 

Best sports blog winner

Mathilda Andersson

The Sunny Side of Hockey

Best nature, science or environment blog finalists

Bjorg Hildrum Saltveit and Tone Skredderbakken


Best nature, science or environment blog winner

Kelly Campbell

Plastic For Fence Sitters

Best fashion or lifestyle finalist

Gabriella Ruiz

Brisbane Fashion Bloom

Best fashion or lifestyle winner

Casey Brown

The Fashion Connection 2014


Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014

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Why The Australian is un-Australian: all ego and little heart

First they came for journalism educator Julie Posetti, for simply tweeting some critical comments made publicly by a former staffer of The Australian. [That time I did write a commentary in Crikey about why editors shouldn’t sue for defamation.]

Then they came for Matthew Ricketson, Greg Jericho, Margaret Simons, Wendy Bacon, Martin Hirst and Jenna Price and to my shame I said very little.

Well, this week they came for a good friend and colleague, Penny O’Donnell from the University of Sydney, and I refuse to remain silent. Enough is enough.

She is one of the most committed and respected journalism educators I know – in both research and teaching – and has shown the greatest courage in her personal life in recent years that has elevated my esteem for her even higher.

Sadly, the reputation of The Australian newspaper has followed the opposite trajectory. It is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, and my view is that the first 40 were far better than the last ten.

For many years I’ve been torn between my loyalty to The Australian as my former masthead where I learned a great deal as a young journalist in the early 1980s – and that very newspaper’s antipathy towards journalism education, the career I left it to pursue, and towards the people who do it.

[Note to colleagues: my comments here are about The Australian as a masthead and its leadership and branding – not about the scores of high quality journalists who produce stellar work there in both reporting and production. Similarly, I do not argue that every journalism educator is a saint or that every course is perfect.]

I’ve decided that the problem with The Australian as a masthead is that it is narcissistic and, like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, it lacks a heart. It is dry, unforgiving and remarkably impolite, often downright bitchy, to its media competitors and its enemies of the moment.

Sadly, like a true narcissist, it lets its own interests, agendas and catfights affect the quality of the journalism in its pages.

For a so-called intellectual broadsheet dealing with extremely complex political, scientific and social phenomena, The Australian has a remarkably simple and narrow world view.

WellfightIslamTheAustralianAs far as The Australian is concerned, it seems to be all about The Australian. And that’s about whether you are on the Left or the Right and whether you fit with its commercial objectives or stand in their way.

It does this blatantly in the media domain.

Like broadcaster Alan Jones it takes a ‘pick and stick’ approach to its friendships – and God help you if you are a perceived enemy.

The Media section is a corporate propaganda sheet. Its stories fit comfortably within newspaper’s agenda, achievements of any competitors or political enemies are played down or absent, the latest circulation figures are skewed to suit its image, and while the corporate and self-marketing line is front and centre.

Just peruse the Media Diary section every Monday and you get a stream of bile against people from the perceived enemy camps of Fairfax, the ABC, Media Watch, the Guardian, journalism education, the Daily Mail and commercial enemies all and sundry.

To use sporting parlance with political currency right now, the newspaper takes a ‘win at all costs’ approach to its market share and issues on its agenda. Alternative voices either don’t get a mention or are derided as ‘strident critics’ or belittled for their political allegiances.

It will jump at a stereotypical jingoistic headline on its front page – ‘We’ll fight Islam 100 years’ [see image] – without considering the potential consequence on sections of the community. Then, rather than apologise, it will blame the person it was quoting.

In its editorial on journalism education this week, the latest in a wave of assaults, The Australian conceded many of its own editors and journalists held a journalism degree. And that they should be critical and independent. But it seems that does not allow for criticism of Murdoch or The Australian.

This week the Media section attacked Penny O’Donnell for being critical of Murdoch and The Australian. We won’t go into the reporter’s misuse of the term “undercover” or the ethical issues associated with such matter if indeed it was one. That’s in JOUR101. I don’t deny The Australian the right to investigate and report upon journalism education. There is undoubtedly much that can be improved. But please do it fairly.

For mine, Penny O’Donnell would have been negligent in her job at the University of Sydney if she had not been critical of the current government’s media policy or of Murdoch and News Corp.

Any journalist that is not critical of any government’s media policy is not worth their salt.

And, as for News Corp, if it was The Australian pursuing a pharmaceutical story, and there was a big pharma company had been pilloried by the likes of the Leveson Inquiry for criminal wrongdoing with its ensuing trials and jailings of journalists and editors, and such a big pharma had thrown its considerable weight behind a political party at the recent federal election, how could a reporter not be critical of it?

Memo The Australian: It’s not always about you, or about Left or Right or on which side of your so-called ‘culture wars’ someone might sit.

It’s about what some of your top investigative reporters like Tony Koch and Hedley Thomas have revealed in important areas of social injustice and corruption that you allowed them investigate and report upon fairly.

So, The Australian, you’ve won a new critic. You’ve finally managed to alienate a loyal former staffer who has publicly defended you on many occasions.

I usually pick my friends and stick with them too, but you’ve lost me for now.

No, I’m not of the political Left or Right. I see the 21st century world is a tad more complex than that. I’m for a fair, accurate, mindful, independent journalism with a heart that can help change society for the better.

You know, journalism that afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted and all that … fair, accurate and compassionate reportage, without the influence of major political or commercial interests.

The sort you should be doing if you really were what we aspire to as ‘Australian’. The egalitarian little digger, perhaps a little anti-authoritarian, but with a Chesty Bond sized heart.

Instead, your so-called ‘undercover’ operations are really the equivalent of the iconic ‘underarm bowl’ – the sporting moment we would rather forget.

Wake up, Australian. Open up your agenda to other perspectives and go visit the Wizard of Oz and get yourself a heart. You might win some of us back again.


Have your say on social media …

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.


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See @ConversationEDU for @journlaw’s five reasons the Australian #natsec laws damage media freedom


The Abbott government’s latest tranches of national security and counter-terrorism laws represent the greatest attack on the Fourth Estate function of journalism in the modern era. They are worse than the Gillard government’s failed attempts to regulate the press.

Unlike most other Western democracies, Australia has no constitutional instrument protecting free expression as a human right. Few politicians can resist the temptation to control the flow of information if the law permits.

Here are five reasons that this latest move is damaging the democratic cornerstone of press freedom:

  1. It is legislative over-reach
  2. It gags reportage of a key public issue
  3. It compromises the separation of powers
  4. It spells the end for the confidential source
  5. Exemptions effectively license old media over new media.

See The Conversation today for the full article.

[Thanks to media freedom interns Jasmine Lincoln and Satoshi Horiuchi for their research assistance.]

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

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Why we can name this forensic mental health patient, but you can’t: open justice in action


Almost 13 years ago an interpreter at the Community Relations Commission in Ashfield in Sydney – Ms Radmilla Domonkos – died in a fire that had been deliberately lit. Two colleagues were critically injured.


Long Bay Correctional Centre in Sydney. Photo: JBar, WikimediaCommons

A co-worker was charged with her murder and with maliciously damaging property by fire with intent to endanger life.

After two years of court processes in March 2004 the accused was found not guilty on the ground of mental illness and has since then been held for treatment at the Long Bay Prison Hospital under the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act (1990).

As in many other jurisdictions, the Mental Health Act (2007) prohibits at s. 162 the publication of the names of such patients even if they wish to be named.

As my colleague and research partner Associate Professor Tom Morton explained in an ABC Radio National Background Briefing program – The Man Without A Name – earlier this year, this patient has been prevented from telling his own story because of such anonymity provisions.

As he reported there, the ABC prepared a detailed application for permission to name the patient in that program and we attended a special hearing of that application before the Mental Health Review Tribunal in Sydney last September.

That application was approved, and Tom was able to name the patient in that program that aired in April this year.

However, were advised that such permission was limited to that single publication of the patient’s name. In other words, even though you can listen to a podcast of that program available here to discover his name, we would not be allowed to repeat it in our research outputs without further permission.

Earlier this year we went through that process, and I am pleased to advise that the Mental Health Review Tribunal has granted us permission to name the patient in our research publications and also in this blog.

I believe this is somewhat of a first – an academic research blog being granted permission to name a forensic patient – so is likely breaking new ground here as we do so.

The order states:

The means of publication are restricted to the following outlets for academic scholarship:

1. Academic journal articles, books and book chapters authored by Professor Morton and / or Professor Pearson.

2. Academic research blogs authored by Professor Morton and/or Professor Pearson.

It proceeds to require that any such publication must indicate our authorship, that the Tribunal can withdraw the consent at any time, and that any publication must carry the following notice:

“Notice: It is an offence under the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW) section 162 to publish or broadcast the name of any person to whom a matter before the Mental Health Review Tribunal relates or who appears as a witness before the Tribunal in any proceedings or who is mentioned or otherwise involved in any proceedings under the Mental Health Act 2007 or the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990, unless consent has first been obtained from the Tribunal. The author has obtained such consent to publish Mr Dezfouli’s name.”

That should make it clear why we can name the patient but you cannot – at least without going through this whole process of application detailed in the Tribunal’s Practice Direction on s. 162, viewable here (pdf file).

So, after that extended preamble, I shall now reveal the patient’s name.

It is Mr Saeed Sayaf Dezfouli.


Forensic patient Saeed Dezfouli. Photo: Justice Action

In coming months we will be publishing our academic outputs on the research and journalistic processes involved in our pursuit for permission to identify Mr Dezfouli, kindly funded by a Rule of Law Institute of Australia grant.

Clearly, there are many competing rights and interests at stake in such a situation, including the patient’s right to privacy and effective treatment, their liberty, community safety, the reputations of their treatment team, and the welfare of victims and their families.

There are also the important legal principles of open justice, free expression, and the public’s right to know about the workings of the mental health and criminal justice systems. We will be exploring such issues in our academic publications.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in the Tribunal’s processes you might wish to read the Tribunal’s Official Report of an uncannily similar case (pdf file) it has published on its website using the name “Mr Ephram”.

The prisoner rights advocacy group Justice Action has also applied for, and obtained, permission to name Mr Dezfouli on its website and you can read more about his situation there.

Also, if you search for his name in a web browser you will find some other instances of him being named in the media, although it is unknown whether there were any legal consequences for the outlets which identified him.

(Tom Morton’s ABC Background Briefing program ‘The Man Without A Name’ – 20 April 2014)


Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014

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Journalists face jail for reporting intelligence operations – with no public interest defence


The Australian Government’s passage this week of the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 is highly likely to impact on Australia’s standing in international media freedom rankings like Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF’s) World Press Freedom Index.

Media Watch cites this journlaw post

ABC Media Watch cites this journlaw post in its 6 October 2014 episode

The legislation amended the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (‘ASIO Act), and the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (bizarrely abbreviated as the ‘IS Act’).

The new law leaves journalists and bloggers liable to up to five years in jail for ‘unauthorised’ disclosure of information related to a special intelligence operation – and up to 10 years if the disclosure ‘endangers the health or safety’ of anyone or will ‘prejudice the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation’ (Section 35P of the ASIO Act).

The legislation seems aimed at whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or Wikileaks, but as Ben Grubb reported in, it casts its net so wide that it relies on the goodwill of the government of the day not to pursue ordinary journalists and commentators if they happen to stumble across such an operation and report upon it.

35P Unauthorised disclosure of information

(1)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person discloses information; and

(b)  the information relates to a special intelligence operation.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

Speaking to The Australian’s legal affairs editor Chris Merritt this week, I suggested an operation like that involving former Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef in 2006 might have triggered such a consequence if it had been deemed a ‘special intelligence operation’.

That particular arrest was the result of an Australian Federal Police investigation, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility to see ASIO involved in future such operations.

It was only thorough investigative reporting based upon leaks that led to a Gold Walkley Award for journalist Hedley Thomas at The Australian that exposed the flaws in the prosecution case against Haneef, and led to his later release and exoneration.

While Thomas and other national security writers would not want to compromise an anti-terror operation, you could certainly see them pursuing rigorous reporting of such a matter if a serious injustice appeared to be done or public safety was being placed in jeopardy.

And that is the problem – there is no ‘public interest’ defence available under the laws that have just passed both houses of the Australian Parliament.

Further, there is nothing that would prevent prosecution of a journalist who inadvertently disclosed information about such an intelligence operation in the course of their normal reporting.

I was discussing this today with another Walkley Award winning editor of a regional newspaper who was concerned that an operation conducted in a regional centre would be such big news that it would be difficult not to cover it.

That might well meet the definition of such a disclosure, and the reporters dealing with it would likely not be as well briefed in national security laws as their national and metropolitan counterparts.

Either way, and as I explained to Chris Merritt in that interview this week, the law now presents journalists with a potential new conflict between their code of ethics and the law over which they might face jail.

Journalists have traditionally been willing to go to prison to protect their confidential sources – and in fact three Australian journalists have done time for just that over the past three decades.

Now we have this new situation where some journalists might be willing to defy this new law – and face up to 10 years in jail – if they see an overriding public interest in revealing the nature of such an operation.

If they choose to do so, sadly there will be no defence available to them.

This is just one of a series of detrimental developments for media freedom in Australia in recent months which I have documented previously – all of which are likely to see Australia’s ranking decline in the RSF index which is being compiled over the next two months.

The Australian measures are already on the international radar, as a recent World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRA) blog by media academic Julie Posetti demonstrated.

My frank view is that Australia is an ‘emerging Secret State’ – a topic I will be addressing at an upcoming conference marking the 20th anniversary of the Pacific Journalism Review in Auckland in November.

Of course I do not suggest Australia is at the far end of the spectrum like North Korea, China or Vietnam. We do not have the licensing of journalists or the jailing or torture of those opposing the government’s line.

However, when compared with other Western democracies we do not have the safeguards of free expression protections in a Bill of Rights or in a major constitutional amendment as in the US.

Sadly, this means new gags like this measure can be rushed through Parliament by a government seeking a tougher anti-terror image and an Opposition fearful of being seen to go soft on national security.

© Mark Pearson 2014

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

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Hot off the press – our 5th edition of The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law


I was delighted to receive from publisher Allen & Unwin my first copy of the fifth edition of The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law (co-authored with Mark Polden).

Much has changed since our last edition in 2011, particularly in the fields of news media, communication technologies and practices, tertiary education and the law. We have reshaped and updated this edition of the book to accommodate those developments.

The book is still titled The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law, but its new subtitle—‘A handbook for communicators in a digital world’—encapsulates the seismic shifts that have prompted our considerable revisions. Our target audience has broadened with each edition as technologies like the internet and social media have combined to transform journalism and its allied professional communication careers. Thus our prime audience of Australian journalists working for traditional media outlets has widened to embrace public relations consultants, bloggers, social media editors and new media entrepreneurs,  as they fill new professional occupations dealing with media law, once the domain of mainstream reporters and editors.  Crucial questions which recur through the book include: ‘What is a journalist?’, ‘Who is a publisher?’, ‘How does media law affect this new communication form?’ and ‘Who qualifies for this protection?’ Some of the answers are still evolving, as legislators, the judiciary and the community grapple with the implications of every citizen now having international publishing technology literally at their fingertips on mobile devices.

Such shifts have prompted major new inclusions in the content of the book. So much publishing now transcends Australia’s borders via social media, blogs and other online platforms that we have expanded this edition to contain many more international comparisons and cases. This has been accommodated by reducing some of the forensic examination of precise legislation in various Australian states and territories, found in previous editions. Instead of attempting to document every statutory instrument in all nine Australian jurisdictions, we have directed readers to the resources that contain those details.

All of this has necessitated design and pedagogical changes to the book’s format and contents. While the chapter structure is generally in accord with previous editions, there are new sections within the chapters addressing these issues. Their order varies slightly according to topic, but most chapters now include some key concepts defined at the start, some international background and context to the media law topic, a more detailed account tailored to Australian legislation and case law, a review of the ‘digital dimensions’ of the topic with special focus on internet and social media cases and examples, an account of self-regulatory processes if they apply to that topic, some tips for journalists and other professional communicators for mindful practice in the area, a nutshell summary, some discussion questions, and relevant readings and case references.

The introduction of ‘tips for mindful practice’ encapsulates the authors’ aim that professional communicators need to build into their work practices and routines an informed reflection upon the legal and ethical implications of their reportage, commentary, editing, publishing and social media usage. This approach is explained in greater detail in Chapter 2, but it essentially links safe legal practice and the responsible and strategic use of free expression with the personal moral framework and professional ethical strictures of the digital communicator—whether a journalist, public relations consultant, media relations officer or serious blogger.


Those changing roles are reflected in a new final chapter, Chapter 13, which deals with the law of PR, freelancing and media entrepreneurship. It replaces a chapter on self-regulation in earlier editions. (The role and application of the various industry regulatory, co-regulatory and self-regulatory bodies, such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Press Council (APC), are now introduced in Chapter 3, but they are then referred to in the chapters where their functions and decisions seem most relevant). We saw this area of media law as significant because those who occupy those roles  are now grappling with special dimensions of media law—and several other legal topics relevant to their work—and deserve a new chapter dedicated to their roles and the legal dilemmas that are emerging in relation to them. The chapter also reflects the fact that many former journalists are now working in these allied occupations, and that student journalists need to start their careers with a broad understanding of the legal considerations which govern allied professional communication industries.

The sheer pace of change in all areas of media law is astounding. Many changes were mooted as this edition was going to press—including important developments in the laws of privacy, copyright, hate speech and court reporting. Rather than render the book dated as soon as it is printed, we have opted to use co-author Professor Mark Pearson’s blog (this one!) as the venue for updates to material, and have built several mentions of that resource into the chapters and discussion questions.

Apart from an array of new cases and examples—many from the international arena and many more from social media—some highlights of important new content covered in this edition include the following:

  • There are significant cases on increased statutory powers, allowing courts to make suppression and non-publication orders, and on the relationship between free speech, open justice and the right of parties to settle disputes privately. Recent cases at the borderline between ridicule and defamation, and on the application of freedom of information laws to immigration detention centres are included, as are cases on the application of sub judice contempt to internet content hosts and ‘celebrity’ claims of privacy invasion.
  • Recommendations of the ALRC on copyright reform are included, together with a discussion of the new copyright fair dealing defence that applies to satire. The book presents a wide range of examples, across different legal categories, relating to the use of the internet and social media, which will be of growing importance for current and future professional practise in communication, reportage and media advice.
  • A separate chapter on secrets (Chapter 9) covers the new journalists’ shield laws and their relevance to micro-bloggers and non-traditional publishers.
  • Chapter 10, on anti-terrorism and hate laws, includes the recommendations for reform of anti-terror laws and discusses the high-profile Andrew Bolt case and related proposals for reform of the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
  • The recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry in the United Kingdom, and the Finkelstein Inquiry and Convergence Review in Australia, are subjected to critical analysis in view of their potential impact upon notions of a free press.

There is also an increased emphasis on real-time reportage, as the traditional print media increase their online presence and depth of click-through coverage in a 24/7 news cycle, with concomitant risks in the areas of defamation and contempt in their own work and that of third-party commentators on their websites and social media pages.

Without going into exhaustive detail on all of these matters, the book remains true to its original aim: to provide professional communicators and students with a basic working understanding of the key areas of media law and ethical regulation likely to affect them in their research, writing and publishing across the media. It tries to do this by introducing basic legal concepts while exploring the ways in which a professional communicator’s work practices can be adapted to withstand legal challenges.

In designing this edition, we have tried to pay heed to the needs of both professional communicators and media students. The book is best read from front to back, given the progressive introduction of legal concepts. However, it will also serve as a ready reference for those wanting guidance on an emerging problem in a newsroom or PR consultancy. The cases cited illustrate both the legal and media points at issue; in addition, wherever possible, recent, practical examples have been used instead of archaic cases from the dusty old tomes in the law library. Rather than training reporters, bloggers and PR practitioners to think like lawyers, this book will achieve its purpose if it prompts a professional communicator to pause and reflect mindfully upon their learning here when confronted with a legal dilemma, and decide on the appropriate course of action. Often that will just mean sounding the alarm bells and consulting a supervisor or seeking legal advice.

Of course, the book is not meant to offer actual legal advice. Professional communicators must seek that advice from a lawyer when confronted with a legal problem. The most we claim to do is offer an introduction to each area of media law so that journalists, PR consultants and bloggers can identify an emerging issue and thus know when to call for help.

Booktopia is offering pre-orders on their website:

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014


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