The Media & Communications in Australia

By Stuart Cunningham; Graeme Turner | Go to book overview

19
Media ethics after
‘Cash for Comment’
Michael Gordon-Smith*
In July 1999, Media Watch, an ABC television program, broadcast allegations about a financial relationship between John Laws, a radio talk-show host on Sydney radio station 2UE, and the Australian Bankers' Association. Specifically, it suggested that Laws, previously heard to be a vocal critic of banks, had begun making more positive comments about them on-air after entering a commercial agreement with their association.The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) decided to conduct an investigation into these claims. Following further allegations about commercial agreements affecting program content, the investigation was widened to include Alan Jones, another 2UE presenter, and commercial radio stations in other cities. As part of its investigation, the ABA held a public hearing, which sat for nineteen days between October and December 1999. The terms of reference for the hearing included making findings on:
whether any conduct by Jones or Laws in ‘giving effect to their commercial agreements’ had affected the content of their programs; and
whether any conduct by the presenters in giving effect to their agreements had led to a failure by 2UE to comply with the Commercial Radio Code of Practice or the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA).

The BSA was introduced in 1992 and changed the approach taken in Australia to broadcasting regulation. Broadly speaking, it reduced the barriers to entry in the radio industry, and for issues relating to program content, such as accuracy and fairness, replaced a system of program standards determined by the

____________________
*
Michael Gordon-Smith became Chair of the ABA ‘Cash for Comment’ inquiry when the ABA chairman, Professor David Flint, stood down.

-277-

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The Media & Communications in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Contributors xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Part One - Introduction *
  • 1 - The Media and Communications in Australia Today 3
  • Part Two - Approaches *
  • 2 - Media and Communications: Theoretical Traditions 23
  • 3 - Political Economy and News 35
  • 4 - Policy 48
  • 5 - Textual Analysis 62
  • 6 - Representation 72
  • 7 - Audiences 85
  • Part Three - Industries *
  • 8 - The Press 101
  • Notes 115
  • 9 - Telecommunications and the New Economy 117
  • 10 - Radio 133
  • 11 - Film and Video 152
  • 12 - Television and Pay TV 173
  • Notes 186
  • 13 - Magazines 188
  • Notes 199
  • 14 - Advertising 200
  • 15 - Public Relations 217
  • 16 - Popular Music 226
  • 17 - The Internet and Online Communication 244
  • 18 - Video and Computer Gaming 258
  • Part Four - Issues *
  • 19 - Media Ethics After ‘Cash for Comment’ 277
  • 20 - New Media and New Audiences 293
  • 21 - Youth Media 304
  • 22 - The Future of Journalism 320
  • 23 - The Future of Public Broadcasting 330
  • Reference 344
  • Index 370
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