An affront to democracy?

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  • Published 20040907
  • ISBN: 9780733314537
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

WHATEVER THEIR PARTIES or programs, prime ministers and premiers eventually get angry at the media. They complain of superficial reports, a carping tone and political bias. Privately, they complain above all of the arrogance of Australian journalism, the one major institution successfully resisting the accountability mechanisms that hold most other public and private organisations to account. In a world in which ethics in government, business, social services and universities are compulsory and legislated, in which even minor transgressions can be career-fatal, the media escape the scrutiny applied to everyone else.

Sometimes government leaders try to punish particular outlets for perceived bias. As Premier of NSW, Neville Wran cut all government advertising from The Sydney Morning Herald and refused to speak with journalists from the ABC. Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, too, questioned the objectivity of ABC reporters at media conferences. But mostly politicians know better than to criticise journalists. Any complaint just provokes an immediate and deeply stung response.

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About the author

Nancy Sikes

Nancy Sikes is a Brisbane-based observer of politics and media. She believes her character was captured with grace and compassion by Kay Walsh in...

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