Sydney morning Herald, Lenore Taylor, August 12, 2011
Sixty per cent agreed when the idea of an inquiry when read the proposition ”following recent revelations in Britain about phone hacking conducted by newspapers, there should be a public inquiry into the performance and regulation of the Australian media.”
On each question 69 per cent of Labor voters supported an inquiry, but a majority of Coalition voters also backed the idea.
The Greens and crossbench independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor have backed an investigation. Andrew Wilkie has said he is ”open-minded” but the Coalition has argued another inquiry is not necessary.
Newstand, which launched an online petition yesterday calling for an inquiry, says it is funded by ”GetUp! and some generous individuals” and operates with ”a few staff and lots of volunteers”.
It consulted the Centre for Policy Development, the Australia Institute, Media Matters for America, the Centre for Independent Journalism, GetUp! and the international activist organisation Avaaz before starting its campaign.
The petition calls for a full parliamentary inquiry to examine ”how to promote higher standards, protect people’s privacy while guaranteeing the freedom of the press, stimulate a more diverse media marketplace, and ensure that problems and complaints can be handled simply, fairly and effectively”.
The poll found 86 per cent of the 1200 people surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the proposition that ”it should be easier to make complaints against the media when there is a concern about biased and inaccurate reporting”, including 89 per cent of Labor voters and 84 per cent of Coalition voters, and 70 per cent agreed with the statement that ”too few people control the media in Australia.”
Any parliamentary inquiry would run alongside an existing review into media regulation in the digital age – the so-called ”convergence” review. Senators Brown and Conroy met last week.
News Ltd has announced a review of editorial expenditure to ensure payments had been made for ”legitimate purposes”. There have been no allegations of wrongdoing in Australia.
Avaaz said it had 25,000 signatures on an online petition calling for a comprehensive review of media laws and practices.