Monday, 10 September 2012

Thoughts on Lecture 7

Last week’s lecture was on public media with a specific focus on Australia's. Bruce kicked things off with a hilarious video by British humorist Charlie Brooker, who parodied the tired news report
formula ironically through a self-referential and cliched news report. It has nothing to do with the topic, though.

Back onto the topic at hand, Australia's public media, the ABC and SBS, have an interesting history. First and foremost, the ABC, founded in 1923, was designed with the intention to serve the public good of Australia through creating an unbiased and non-partisan medium for the public discourse. SBS followed around 50 years later, in 1975, with the goal of allowing the voices of Australia's
multicultural landscape to be heard, and is tailored for all cultural communities. Both are not meant to be corrupted by the forces of enterprise or politics, always being objective.

The problem with these two media groups is that, because of their social function, they are not allowed to create drama when their is none. They cannot sensationalize the news in any way, unlike Channel 7, 9 and 10 which have always done this and will continue to do so. I remember, I think, last year when the ABC television channel aired a hour-long documentary on the Global Financial
Crises. This particular documentary received a lot of criticism and outright backlash for being too flashy and dramatic, essentially using cheap emotive tricks and not being fact-driven. This little controversy shows how much the Australian public look towards the ABC for being 'dry' in the sense that they, the viewers, never need worry about being manipulated. This affair was, of course, featured on Media Watch, which is surprisingly on the same channel that aired the documentary. Something like this would never happen in a million years if it happened to a for-profit media group like the News of the World scandal and News Corp.

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