The Talking Point: Taking Liberties With the Press
One of the world’s largest and most powerful media dynasties threatens to unravel after a scandal that has veered from high to low drama and back again. Join a panel of leading media commentators and analysts — Margaret Simons, Mark Day and Rod Tiffen, with host Richard Ackland — as the process of teasing out the implications of Hackgate begins in earnest. We take a look at what the phone-hacking scandal means for the media locally and abroad.
The scandal may well permanently reshape the media landscape in the UK, where phone hacking may have been more widespread than previously reported, and where senior government and police figures find themselves compromised. Meanwhile, sections of the US media will be carefully monitoring the progress of an FBI investigation into allegations of hacking into the phones of 9/11 victims and their families, while rumours persist of a ‘black ops’ room at Fox News.
Just as Australia was shielded from the worst of the global financial crisis, so too do the worst excesses of the British phone-hacking scandal seem to have bypassed us, if only by dint of our relative smallness. Some would wish it were not so: amid calls for media inquiries and privacy-protection legislation, it seems the local media configuration may not be left unexamined.
Richard Ackland is a journalist, editor and solicitor with a track record of more than 30 years in journalism and publishing.
Mark Day is a veteran journalist and commentator on media matters for The Australia.
Margaret Simons is Associate Professor in the School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University. In 2015, she won the Walkley Award for Social Equity Journalism. Her recent books include Six Square Metres, Self-Made Man: The Kerry Stokes Story, What's Next in Journalism?, Journalism at the Crossroads and Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs, co-written with former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser. The latter won both the Book of the Year and the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2011.
In addition to her academic work, Margaret regularly writes for the Saturday Paper, the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, Griffith Review, the Monthly and other publications.
Rodney Tiffen is Emeritus Professor in Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. His most recent book is Rupert Murdoch. A Reassessment (2014). He is co-author, with Ross Gittins, of How Australia Compares.