When news of the stabbings in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon came through, one of the first tweets about the incident came from Sky News reporter Laura Jayes. Immediately it got retweeted and sent around the world, and I might have retweeted it myself, but for the voice whispering in my ear from my former BBC training, “two agencies and a correspondent.”
In July, the website Snopes published a piece fact-checking a story posted on The Babylon Bee, a popular satirical news site with a conservative bent. Conservative columnist David French criticized Snopes for debunking what was, in his view, “obvious satire. Obvious.” A few days later, Fox News ran a segment featuring The Bee’s incredulous CEO. But does everyone recognize satire as readily as French seems to?
As the battle heats up over how much protection and freedom the news media deserves as it goes about its business, a famiiar problem is once again raising its head. In these days where anyone can start a website, run a blog or publish via social media, what IS a journalist anyway?
In light of the ministerial direction issued to the Australian Federal Police by the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on August 9, it would be a spectacular contradiction in policy if the Australian Federal Police’s current pursuit of journalists were to end in prosecutions.
The Australian government has given a new direction to the Australian Federal Police to prevent repeats of the recent raids on the media when leaks are being investigated.
So, what did journalism learn from WikiLeaks about the ethics of journalism in the digital age? First, there is a big difference between an information dump and journalism.
Protestors make their voices heard in New York City following Donald Trump’s 2016 election. Shutterstock By: Eliza Bechtold, Durham University US president Donald Trump is engaged in a deliberate and insidious campaign to undermine freedom of expression in the US – essentially declaring war on the First Amendment. In a “normal” political climate, this threat to one of America’s most fundamental freedoms would warrant the intense and sustained attention of the media and the public. But these aren’t “normal” times – and this threat to democracy, like so many others, is largely ignored as the collective attention of the public shifts from one outrageous incident to the next. This attack on freedom of expression warrants particular attention because it threatens one of the most fundamental facets of American democracy – the right of the people to criticise the government. ...
You don’t need to look far to find doom and gloom stories about traditional media in the digital age. Yet linking media hardship to a view that investigative journalism is dying is a misconception.
One of the least enviable tasks of journalists in the US must be reporting on how the public trusts their work less and less. A 2018 study found that only about four in ten Americans had at least a “fair” amount of trust in the media. Also, in a June 2019 survey, a full third of respondents agreed with President Donald Trump that the news media are “the enemy of the people.”
Facebook’s new, depressingly incompetent strategy for tackling fake news has three, frustratingly ill-considered parts.