Monday, 20 August 2012

Steve Gibbons - Labor's biggest fool?

Politicians might not like journalists. They might, in fact, despite them - think they are regular publishers of "blatant untruths." But threatening to fine journalists when they publish misleading or incorrect stories is hardly a way of turning publicity back in your favour. That policy would guarantee nothing more than a renewed expression of bias without any punishable factual errors.
Yet fines are exactly what the Labor member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons advocated in the House of Representatives today. The ABC reported:
Mr Gibbons, the Member for Bendigo, told Parliament that people were losing faith in journalism and voiced concerns about the lack of accountability in the sector.
He said recommendations from the Finkelstein independent review of the media did not go far enough and journalists should be fined for their errors.
"Fines such as these for publishing blatant untruths or misleading news reports, or temporary suspensions of the right to publish or broadcast, would lead to a major improvement in the accuracy and fairness of our media," he said.
Mr Gibbons said he supported free speech, but inaccurate reports degraded public debate on issues of national significance.
"When a media outlet, journalist or redneck shock jock deliberately broadcasts or publishes a statement that they know is factually wrong, and it is subsequently proven that they knew it was factually wrong, they ought to be subject to an appropriate penalty," he said.
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