Derek Wilding, Director, Communications and Law Centre:
Wilding, Director of the Communications Law Centre
speaks with Media Man Australia's Greg Tingle, on
topics such as the role of the CLC, achievements,
"cash-for"comment" in Australian broadcasting,
and how the CLC communicates with the Australian Broadcasting
interesting, revealing interview will be available
in full transcribed format as soon as possible.
to the interview
following is some of the key parts and quotes of the
interview: (this is currently being alligned with
the actual conversation, and in the process of transcript)
is Greg Tingle from Media Man Australia reporting.
We're speaking with Derek Wilding, Director of the
Communications Law Centre. Welcome to the program
tell me. What is the actual role of the Communications
research and we specialize in media, and communications
and online services and we try to bring some informed
comments to major policy work.
would you say are some of your key achievements to
date have included?
have produced some policy submissions that have made
contributions to some of the debate that have been
fairly infulential...in 1988...a couple of areas are
in relation to media ownership, media diversity, and
also ethical issues in relation to the media, whether
that's to do with say editorial independence or disclosure
of commercial interests...cash for comment, type issues.
remember attending one of the forums where there were
a number of people on the panel including Channel
10's chief censor and there were discussing things
like freedom of the press and that kind of thing.
the general public out there may not be sure of how
yourselves work in with the Australian Broadcasting
Authority. Would you explain that process please?
tend to be interested in major policies issues and
the broadcasting authority has been made regulated,
so that might been the Communications Law Centre making
a response, or it could be that we think that a particular
perceptive, should look at...for a particular incident.
The main area for the last few years with our involvement
with the ABA has been in related to the cash-for-comment.
first round of cash-for-comment was in 1999-2000.
Then there was another round of that last year, the
end of 2002. Then there is a review that is on the
way at the moment, so in those areas we make submissions
to the ABA. In relation to the cash-for-comment inquiry,
we made appearances at the public hearing.
the lay-person out there, what is cash-for-comment,
and how does that actually different from payola?
are quite a few differences. In Australia, we've taken
the view that say, a presenter, if they have some
sort of commercial interest in what's being discussed,
then some sort of disclosure should be made..
the case of 2UE and 2GB, which has been subject to
some review by the broadcasting authority. We've had
prominent presenters like John Laws or Alan Jones
who have at various points have received or have had
various contracts with third parties, in order to
promote those parties. In the ordinary course of events,
that's fine, of course.
issue is whether or not listeners are aware of those
commercial agreements. We've taken the view, and the
ABA has certainly taken the view that listeners should
be aware those presenters are receiving some payment
for that...that there's not pretense that there's
any degree of objectivity there, in fact listeners
are able to make their own minds up about the quality
of the information or the nature of the comments,
provided that they know there is a commercial arrangement
there, so that's the situation in Australia. Largely
based upon why the presenters make web disclosures.
the U.S. the legislation is quite stronger..applies
not just in relation to presenters, there is a serious...record
companies, DJ's might have and so on.
Australia, some people would be aware that some disclosures
are made on one or two of the radio broadcasting websites
or sometimes you hear an announcer say on the air
that their got "x" amount of sponsors, but
do you feel that their should be more than what there
currently is, as far as disclosures on the web and
on the air?
certainly say that....websites, are quite separate
from the experience of listening to an announcer,
yes, they needs to be announcements form the presenter
saying what sort of arrangements are in place, on
part requires that an announcement is made... an announcer
is made for a certain period of time...if an announcer
is actually promoting..they mention that...
sort of ethical obligations do you feel that radio
announcers should have?
are ethical that have not been followed. One of the
stations has found a way that....doesnt appear to
contravene. Appears to undermine the sprit of them...there
is in fact a series of obligation on journalists,
via the industry codes of practice...but also the
Press Council, and the Journalists Association, the
for comment, back to 1999. The Association of Banks,
what example in history?
to cash-for-comment. There were a few examples..FOXTEL,
Telstra. One of the cases involved the ABA, John Laws,
tell the minister that...regulary issues involving
, so that's a good example, of where these arrangements
a couple of sponsors, Telstra is certainly top of
the list, NRMA...waiting from the ABC.
you think they are being more careful?
don't think that the radio stations themselves set
out an agenda where were' going to be completely one-sided
you think the general public is becoming less gullible...cash-
for-comment, Jayson Blair..New York Times thing coming
have always had a kind of insight...an awareness that
commercial radio does come....let's take Telstra...Telstra
privatization for on the pubic agenda.
one of those announcers does have a commercial agreement
do you see as the idea outcome?
not like the "sky is falling"....the first
is that there needs to be some improvements ...there
is a "loop hole"...the regulations need
are some issues than should be self regulated .. .large
being coming out of ministers Senators Alston's office?
ABA has lots of experience with these kinds of issues....comments
have been made on the
report that....busy with media ownership, pay TV,
the public and parliamentary issues.
you think there will be more nterest...internet censorship
and internet broadcasting?
don't regard internet streaming being a ....as far
as TV, but there is a content system...
is not a really cohesive policy..its not terribly
the next 12 months your looking to achieve?
hope the ABA acts on the matter we discussed this
morning ...the cash-for-comment....we like to not
see the media ownership bill passed - that's something
that deregulates..we have some work to do there...some
large issues ACCC pay television and the connections
between Pay TV, analogue, and ACCC Telstra divesting
appears to be complicated .. you have the Telstra
infrastructres, the FOXTEL network runing ove the
ACCC, its not just priviatasion of pay tv...very much
intertwined...its presents quite a few challenges.
been a pleasure, very insightful, I look forward to
future contact. Thank you. Bye.
Journalism & Media Ethics (including cash-for-comment)
2GB: commercial agreements on their website
2UE: commercial agreements of John Laws on their website
Australian Subscription and Television Radio Association
won't be sooled on ABC: Sydney Morning Herald - 18th
expecting broadband results to be in the black: Sydney
Morning Herald - 18th July 2003
from the Australian Media Forum #2: 3rd July 2003
research on phone and internet use: Not all benefit
from competition: University of NSW - 8th July 2003
voiceless still not heard: Crikey.com.au - 26th May
we combine telecommunications and broadcasting regulation:
Australia.Internet.com 4th Jan 2002
allegations over radio sponsorship: ABC PM - 29th