September 9 - 15, 2018: Issue 375
Making Sense Of The “News”: The ABC Launches Media Literacy Week
Making Sense Of The “News”: The ABC Launches Media Literacy Week
September 6, 2018: ABC
The ABC has initiated a comprehensive program to equip people of all ages with the skills to sort truth from fiction in news and information.
Media Literacy Week, to run from 10-16 September, utilises the knowledge, reach and cross-platform skills of Australia’s most trusted media organisation to help the community navigate the modern media landscape.
It addresses issues ranging from bias and misinformation to the importance of public interest journalism.
New research by the ABC and University of Tasmania shows one in four teachers feel unable to help students distinguish between “fake news” and trustworthy news.
“With research showing Australians, particularly younger Australians, are increasingly relying on social media for news, this discrepancy between how teachers and students access news raises some issues,” Dr Nettlefold said.
“Teachers need to be supported with specialised media education resources to explain the news media environment and the way participants are engaged in it, including social and ethical dimensions.”
ABC Head Education Annabel Astbury said: “The ABC’s Media Literacy Week is a comprehensive survival guide, ensuring all Australians can navigate news, opinion and information. In a world where ‘fake news’ and misinformation are rife, the ABC is best-placed to help Australians sort truth from fiction.”
The latest Roy Morgan MEDIA Net Trust Survey, released in June, found the ABC is by far the nation’s most trusted media organisation.
Headlining Media Literacy Week is the Navigating the News Conference (10-11 September), presented by the ABC and University of Tasmania, which will explore declining trust in journalism and the need for better media literacy.
ABC Education has created a suite of resources aligned with the curriculum to help students understand and analyse news and information, including a News Diet challenge, media literacy interactives and videos of journalists explaining concepts such as bias and sources.
The ABC News Media Literacy Week website features articles examining issues such as fact checking, “deepfakes” and the weaponisation of social media, along with video explainers, tips and quizzes to immunise people against dodgy information.
ABC Radio content will include interviews with key speakers from the Navigating the News Conference, such as Dr Claire Wardle, a global expert on truth in the digital age. Some of the conference sessions will also be broadcast on the ABC NEWS channel and iview.
Visit abc.net.au/medialiteracyweek and join the conversation: #medialiteracyAUS.
Related And To Give You An Example:
Media Watchdog’s Finding On Sunrise’s Indigenous Adoption Segment Is Justified
September 7th, 2018
by Alana Schetzer
Sessional Tutor and Journalist, University of Melbourne
Alana Schetzer is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
In March this year, Sunrise aired a panel discussion about the removal of Indigenous children from dangerous or abusive family situations.
It wrongly claimed that Indigenous children could not be fostered by non-Indigenous families and one panellist, commentator Prue MacSween, suggested that the Stolen Generation might need to be repeated in order to save children from physical and sexual abuse.
The reaction was swift and fierce: the segment was condemned as racist and insensitive, with many questioning why the panel featured no experts or Indigenous people. There were protests at the show’s Sydney studio, and multiple complaints were made to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
This week, ACMA announced that the Channel Seven breakfast show did indeed breach the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice in airing false claims that Indigenous children could not be placed with white families.
It was also found that the segment provoked “serious contempt on the basis of race in breach of the Code as it contained strong negative generalisations about Indigenous people as a group”.
Seven has defended their actions, labelling the ACMA’s decision as “censorship” and “a direct assault on the workings of an independent media”. They are also considering seeking a judicial review of the decision.
However, it is not correct to assess ACMA’s decision, nor its role, as censorship. Rather, the ACMA monitors and enforces basic journalistic principles governing ethics and responsibility.
The decision is more symbolic than material – Channel Seven will not be forced to pull the segment from online; indeed, it is widely available. ACMA also has no power to order any compensation to be paid to a wronged party or fine the broadcaster; nor can it force Channel Seven to apologise or correct its error.
This dispute is but one of many examples that raises questions over the power of the media and what happens when media make a mistake, deliberately bend the truth or publish information that may cause harm to people, especially from marginalised groups.
In his research on the media portrayal of Indigenous people and issues, and the difference between sensitivity versus censorship, Michael Meadows argues the media are resistant to admitting there is a problem with racist or insensitive coverage. He writes:
Aboriginal Australians have had to be content with a portrayal which is mostly stereotypical, sensational, emotional or exotic, with an ignorance of the historical and political context in which these images are situated.
While “censorship” is a label that is often used by the media in response to criticism, actual censorship in Australia by government or media watchdogs is thankfully rare to nonexistent. Other issue such as defamation law are greater sources of censorship.
In a 2018 report released by Reporters Without Borders, a worldwide organisation that advocates for a free press, Australia ranked 19th out of 180 countries on press freedom. This was a fall from ninth in 2017 due to of media restrictions on reporting on asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention centres, not the role of ACMA. In fact, ACMA and the Australian Press Council were not even mentioned.
Australian journalists are expected, although not obliged, to abide by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s Code of Ethics. This states that journalists should “report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts” and to “do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors”.
ACMA’s finding on the Sunrise segment that featured sweeping claims such as “children left in Indigenous families would be abused and neglected”, is simply holding those responsible to the minimum standards expected, not just within the industry, but from the public, too.
In the era of “fake news”, it is not surprising that the public’s trust in journalists is low; a 2018 survey found only 20% of Australians deemed newspaper journalists as being “very” honest and ethical, with television reporters fairing even worse, at 17%.
The ACMA was created in 2005 following the public outcry over the infamous “cash for comment” scandals in 1999 and 2004. At the time, the then-Australian Broadcasting Authority was criticised for being “too soft” and ineffective in response, the ABA was abolished and replaced by the ACMA.
It’s incorrect to label the ACMA’s role as playing “censor” when they do no such thing. In fact, there is criticism that ACMA, like its predecessor, is a “toothless tiger” that lacks any power to actually hold the media to account.
No media can operate without a basic framework that places public interest, a commitment to accuracy and responsibility to the public.
In a statement released on September 4, ACMA chairwoman Nerida O’Loughlin highlighted this important distinction:
Broadcasters can, of course, discuss matters of public interest, including extremely sensitive topics such as child abuse in Indigenous communities. However, such matters should be discussed with care, with editorial framing to ensure compliance with the Code.
With “clickbait” and inflammatory opinion increasingly finding a home in the media, it’s more important than ever that the media respect and abide by their responsibilities to fairness and the truth. And when they cannot or do not do this, regulatory bodies such as the ACMA are essential.
This article first appeared in The Conversation - republished under Creative Commons licence.
ABC Most Trusted | Facebook Most Distrusted
June 26, 2018: Roy Morgan Press Release
Australians trust the ABC and distrust Facebook the most, a landmark new survey reveals.
Conducted in May by Roy Morgan, the MEDIA Net Trust Survey reveals that while Facebook – and Social Media generally – is deeply distrusted in Australia, the ABC is by far the nation’s most trusted media organisation.
Half of all Australians (47 per cent) distrust social media, compared to only 9 per cent who distrust the ABC.
According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, trust is now firmly on corporate Australia’s agenda, “But distrust is the critical measure everyone’s ignoring,” she said.
“The absence of the voices of distrust should be alarming every CEO and company director.
“Distrust is where our deepest fears, pain, and betrayal surface – the shock of discovering we were foolish to trust too much.
“And nowhere is that sense of betrayal more profound than in our media brands.
“When we subtract distrust from trust to achieve a Net Trust Score or NTS, we reveal a minus NTS for the Australian media industry,” she said.
“The banking industry has an NTS of minus 18 percent, compared to the media industry with an NTS of minus 7 per cent. So, while media industry is less toxic than banks, it is still in negative territory.
Media category Net Trust Scores or NTS (distrust score subtracted from trust score):
Social Media minus 42%
Television minus 16%
Newspapers minus 13%
Internet minus 7%
Magazines minus 4%
Radio minus 2%
After the ABC, SBS is Australia’s second most trusted media brand. Fairfax comes in third as the only other media brand with a positive NTS.
SBS is also Australia’s most trusted commercial television network with an NTS of +5 per cent – well ahead of the other three commercial networks, all with an NTS of between minus 6 and minus 10 per cent.
“Australians told us that their trust of the ABC is driven by its lack of bias and impartiality, quality journalism and ethics. While their distrust of Facebook and Social Media is driven by fake news, manipulated truth, false statistics and fake audience measurement.”
According to survey respondents, their top-5 drivers of distrust in commercial television are:
False news / fake news
News is sensationalised / focus on controversial stories
Pushing commercial or political agenda
Too much advertising
But why does distrust matter?
According to Ms Levine:
Distrust triggers audience churn
Distrust kills audience engagement
Distrust kills advertiser spend
Distrust is the tipping point for reputational damage
Distrust is the bellwether for an unsustainable future