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South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
Chapter 1, Week 3
1. Liberal doctrine has influenced the form and structure of the Australian media. What impact has this made?
Liberalism is a reaction to oppressive government control, instead stressing freedom, liberty and autonomy protecting the individual from the excesses of the state (p.2). It has affected Australian media through policies of separation: whereby media outlets are privately owned and operated; as well as light regulation: where restrictions are generally limited to national security, media monopoly and general standards (p.9-10). Even the government-funded ABC has very little governmental influence over its content. But instead of government propaganda, it has created private media empires run for financial gain. While the media controls the flow of public information, who will keep a check on them?
2. Is it right to assume that government poses the greatest threat to the freedom and plurality of the media?
The concept of a liberal and uncensored media came from a desire to overturn governments selfish manipulation of knowledge and communication, instead creating a gap whereby the press could keep a healthy check on the behaviour of leaders. In the centuries past (and still in some developing nations today) the government remains the greatest threat to media freedom. But a new threat has arisen in the western world. Outlets have become reluctant to report on the media and commercial sectors (p.15), nor on any corporation that might provide them beneficial relationship. Modern media is big business (p.14) and their commercial interests sway too much of their decision making.