Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The "right to know"

campaign is still being spruiked in this morning's paper. There is a single letter to the editor - in support of it. The letter isn't even particularly original.
I wonder whether there will be any more letters? It would not surprise me if there were none. Despite protestations to the contrary the campaign is, ultimately, about media self-interest.
One of my cousins, now deceased, worked for a television company. Two of my nephews also work in the same area. My cousin used to say that media was changing. The internet was just taking off when he died but he could see the impact it was going to have.
    "It will make your job much easier Cat. In a few years you'll have almost instant access to people all over the world but it will change the face of news gathering too."
Yes, it has. One of my nephews is developing a new interface between journalists and media organisations. It's been tough and he is putting in incredibly long days - and nights. The other nephew is in a position which requires him to constantly monitor the changes occurring. He  thinks it is likely that print media (newspapers in print rather than electronic form) will almost entirely disappear within a few years. People will be connected to the internet. They will get their news that way or via television.
If that's the case then many people will be less well informed. There is too much else on the internet for them to be interested in much of the news. I haven't seen a commercial news service for years - my nephew tells me not to bother. What little I hear about it suggests that there is no in-depth reporting there. Even the more serious services such as our ABC  or SBS  only skim the surface of a story and, all too often, they do it in a biased manner.  What is more there are things they won't say and stories they won't touch for fear of upsetting people who have the ear of other sections of the media or who have an economic and/or political influence.
So yes, we need press freedom. It can only come with the responsibilities I mentioned  yesterday. It also has to be about more than self-interest. Right now I am not convinced though. Self interest would seem to have a lot to do with the current campaign.

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