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Avoiding Opinion labeled as News and Current Affairs

Biased opinion haunts nearly many news and current affairs publications, programs and sites, and even more so in columns, blogs, talk-back shows that are often taken to be accurate news or current affairs reporting. Given people's reliance, and often non-critical reliance, on the media for information on which they make economic and political decisions, and their tendency to consume those whose views suit your own existing beliefs or prejudices, this situation tends to exacerbate polarisation on issues rather than considered judgements. Thie may be good for media ratings but it is not good for society as a whole.

Proposal for Improved Confidence in News and Current Affairs segments

How are the following for basic principles that should be the foundation for how news and currrent affairs media is undertaken/regulated:

  1. Media consumers' freedom to choose the media they consume needs to be informed by accurate descriptors and confidence that it will be "true to label"
  2. Media program labels should ideally be descriptive (eg news, current affairs/news analysis, current affairs forum/talkback) but could alternately be level based (1,2,3 etc)
  3. Criteria associated with labels should be specific, clear and pragmatic:

a. All

      • i. Clear separation of material from advertiser/sponsor messages 
      • ii. Editorial independence from all advertiser/sponsor influence
      • iii. Video, audio and other media recordings utilised are time and date stamped to show time of original recording 

b. News

      • i. Factual presentation of current news items within balanced context that provides meaning for the facts
      • ii. News producer filters potential news items according to importance assessed against either pre-specified factors or, if no such factors specified, against general interest of potential audience reached
      • iii. News items time and date stamped at the time of editorial completion 

c. Current affairs/news analysis

      • i. Any presenter/commentator conflict of interest explicitly identified
      • ii. Any presenter/commentator relevant affiliations and/or previous published viewpoints explicitly identified
      • iii. Clear and balanced presentation of context of the current affair/news item being discussed/analysed
      • iv. Research information gathered and further references available on website with URL explicitly identified

d. Current affairs/discussion (eg talk-back radio, panels open to public application etc)

      • i. As per current affairs/news analysis
      • ii. Approach to selecting/filtering discussants/contributors from the public explicitly identified

4. Media providers should have published and open processes to ensure compliance and report breaches

Other Web References

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 00:40

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