Thursday, November 28, 2013


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is disgusted that Malcom Turnbull is doing nothing to rein in the Leftist excesses of the ABC

Public broadcaster demands licence to be vile

Andrew Bolt

I am not a fan of defamation proceedings, but I’m far less impressed by an ABC now so out of control that it vilifies conservative critics and spends taxpayers’ money defending its right to call them “dog f...ers”:

Lawyers for Chris Kenny, a journalist and commentator with The Australian and Sky News, have lodged a statement of claim in the NSW Supreme Court against the ABC, Chaser presenter Andrew Hansen and production company Giant Dwarf for images and words broadcast on September 11 that referred to Kenny as “a dog f . . ker"…

The statement of claim also alleges the imputation the plaintiff’s “attacks on the ABC were so dishonorable . . . that he deserved to be compared to . . . a person who has sexual intercourse with a dog”.

Kenny is claiming aggravated damages, a permanent restraint on any future publication of the same or similar material and interest, plus costs.

I have never known the ABC to be so stridently partisan and so abusive of conservative critics. It has betrayed its charter and abused the trust - and taxes - of taxpayers.


Former director of the ABC Board who appointed Mark Scott calls for his resignation

Janet Albrechtsen

The seriousness of the ABC's decision to publish criminally obtained information that involved such profoundly damaging and entirely foreseeable risks also raises questions about the ABC board.

Did Scott raise the issue with the board, to whom he is responsible? If not, why not? What about ABC chairman Jim Spigelman? Was he included in the decision? If not, why not? If yes, did he consider the ramifications for the public interest?

What is Spigelman's view about Scott's response to questions in senate estimates last week that it was in the public interest to reveal information about Australian intelligence gathering in Indonesia even though he knew that it would "cause some difficulties with the Australian-Indonesian relationship in the short term". Or did Spigelman do what former ABC chairmen lacking spine have too often done - let the MD and therefore the staff - run the show without prudent board oversight?

So far, the only public comment Spigelman has made has been a letter to The Australian about the "considerable personal distress" this newspaper caused to his executive assistant by publishing an incorrect salary figure. Compared with the breach of national security perpetrated by the ABC, his focus on a matter of staff welfare is a disappointing demonstration of where the chairman's priorities lie. A responsible board must surely have concerns about Scott's stewardship of the ABC on this matter. Scott is appointed by and subject to removal by the board.

As section 13 of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act sets out, the managing director holds office subject to terms and conditions determined by the board. The reckless publication of criminally obtained information with the predictable and escalating consequences now unfolding make his position untenable. In short, the ABC board needs to look at its responsibilities here - and its culpability in this matter.

As a member of the ABC board for five years between 2005 and 2010, I can attest to the fact that it has a disappointing history of being ineffective. I can attest to the fact that information that ought to have been provided to the board was not.

And I can attest to the fact that, unlike commercial boards that work together, the ABC board is too often a numbers game. If you don't have the board numbers then the status quo at the ABC becomes untouchable. Moreover, if the chairman's main aim is to be loved by staff, then the MD is untouchable.

Instead of providing genuine oversight and counsel to management, the board gets bogged down drafting policies, codes of conduct and other fine-sounding documents. It's a management driven make-work gig for board members to make them feel important. It justifies them jumping on planes, travelling business class, checking into nice hotels and turning up for a fine lunch at Ultimo - all at taxpayer expense. Meanwhile the focus is taken off what really matters - the output of the ABC. The output this past week by the ABC has let taxpayers down. Badly.


The ABC still hasn’t said why their damage was worth it

Paul Sheehan

There’s not much point in calling into question the judgment of the Prime Minister, and his chief pollster, without calling into question the judgment of the people who started this conflagration [with Indonesia], Katharine Viner, the editor The Guardian Australia, and Mark Scott, the managing director of the ABC.

They made their decision to publish in the ‘’public interest’’, in the full knowledge that it would poison the relationship between Indonesia and Australia, damage Australia’s intelligence gathering, humiliate Yudhoyono and his wife, reinvigorate the people-smuggling trade, goad Indonesian nationalists, give fodder to Islamist xenophobia, and compromise Australia’s trade with Indonesia…

The arguments in favour of publishing the spying leaks are obvious: that the truth will prevent government security agencies from excessive zeal, and the public has a right to know what is being done in its name. It is a strong argument, and I respect it.

But the public interest test can be rigorously contested in this case. The truth is something we all navigate every day, so as not to give offence or create enmity. Governments do the same. Yet neither Viner nor Scott has bothered to enunciate how, in the ‘’public interest’’, the positives outweigh the negatives. They have, with Abbott and the spooks, joint ownership of the toxins flowing through the relationship. And neither has come close to justifying their actions.


Daily Mail to set up an Australian tentacle

I read the DM daily and admire its courage so this could be good -- JR

IN a major shake-up of the Australian digital news market the world's biggest English-language news site Daily Mail Online has teamed with Nine Entertainment Co's digital arm Mi9 to launch a local edition early in the new year.

The deal, which was 3 1/2 months in the making, was unveiled in Sydney this morning by Mail Online publisher and editor-in-chief Martin Clarke and Mi9 boss Mark Britt, who predicted the new site would quickly become Australia's top digital news brand.

"It is our strategy to make Mail Online and Daily Mail a global news brand and this fits into our strategy," said Mr Clarke.  "Our track record speaks for itself. We've succeeded in the UK, we've succeeded in the US, and I have no reason to believe we won't succeed here.

"It's an opportunity that has come along thanks to Ninemsn and we're delighted to be able to take advantage of it. "

Daily Mail Online is the second British news group to launch a major digital play in Australia following the launch of the Guardian Australia website six months ago.

Internationally the Mail is by far the bigger player with 57 million users internationally per month, about one million of them from Australia.

With about 2.6 million visitors a month, Mi9's Ninemsn was Australia's third-largest news site in November after News Corp's (with 2.9 million) and Fairfax Media's (with 2.8 million).

"There's been this great ongoing battle for the last five years on who the national No.1 news site is in Australia ... between and the Sydney Morning Herald and the Nine news site," said Mr Britt.

"All of us sit at around 2.7m to 3m unique visitors a month in an audience population of 17m and an audience population on news sites of 10m. So none of us in that context are actually reaching yet true mass market mainstream news."

In contrast to the strategies of leading local news providers News Corp (publisher of The Australian) and Fairfax Media, which have both started charging for their online content, Daily Mail Australia will be free.

"We've made the decision globally to keep Mail Online free. We are going very nakedly for a scale play," Mr Clarke said.  "We expect this thing to be profitable pretty quickly. We see this as a very positive financial model."

Mr Britt said the migration of readers from print to digital consumption of news "has only just started" and was "probably going to accelerate".  "As more user behaviour moves online . . . we're in a growing market for the online consumption of news," he said.

"We absolutely see a complementary space for Nine News, which is currently the leading video-based news service in Australia, and the Daily Mail, with their traditional text based format."

Mr Clarke said Daily Mail Australia would offer local readers the site's familiar mix of "hard news, soft news, general interest news, human interest news and obviously showbiz, focused on Australians".

"Also, we're not partisan. We don't have a dog in anyone's fight. I think people might find us refreshingly straight," he said.

"We don't edit with an agenda. It's not a question of positioning ourselves to the left or the right of anyone."

The Daily Mail Australia site will be integrated into the Ninemsn suite of sites and its newsroom will sit alongside but separate to the existing Nine team headed by Hal Crawford.

"On the commercial side the Daily Mail site will be sold by the Mi9 sales team and will continue to use all the data and the technology that we use for the monetisation of all the rest of the Mi9 network," said Mr Britt.

Editor candidates are currently being interviewed and the new site would go on to hire about 50 journalists.

"I would envisage producing the first original Australian content very soon in the new year and we will gradually ramp it up as fast as we can recruit journalists to produce it," Mr Clarke said.

"Once we have the content we will be launching an Australian-facing home page that will be the digital destination for Australian visitors to Mail Online. And we'll keep making it richer and richer and richer as we get more journalists coming online.

"I would expect our Australian team to break good Australian exclusives."

The site's existing audience in Britain and the US was "pretty upmarket, slightly more female-leaning than male, highly educated and usually a young demographic, in their 20s and 30s", he said.


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