‘Fourth Estate’ Documentary

Following a nine-month international screening run, the independent UK documentary ‘The Fourth Estate’ is now online for all to view, download, and share for free.

During 2015, filmmakers Elizabeth Mizon and Lee Salter hosted numerous sold-out screenings and Q&A sessions throughout the UK. They want their take on the monopolisation of the global mainstream media industry to be seen and heard far and wide, and thus they are now making their film free for all to see and screen.

Though the ‘official’ screening run is now over, anyone can still host a screening of the film, anywhere. See the official site to contact the filmmakers and organise a screening in your city. To read about the zero-budget, two-year production process of The Fourth Estate, and the filmmakers’ take on radical filmmaking, read their article in Film International.

In the meantime, watch the full film here.

Freedom for Whom?

Freedom! Is there any word more abused than this in the debate about politics and media standards? From Rupert Murdoch, his editors and commentators and the ubiquitous IPA, the rhetoric of ‘freedom’ is now ritually used to forestall any examination of media power.

This American style hand-on-heart eulogising of freedom reached a crescendo recently with the failure of the Gillard government’s media reforms. Having gone as far as sending its own representative to make a submission at the Senate hearing into the legislation, the IPA predictably released a statement  welcoming the ditching of the reforms as a “victory for freedom of speech in Australia”. Continue reading

Oh, THOSE ethics!

With the report of the Leveson inquiry into UK press ethics due within days and decisions from the Australian government on its own twin media inquiries now well overdue, get set for a coordinated rendering of garments and gnashing of teeth against the coming assault on our sacred freedoms.

In fact, the hysteria-meter has already been activated by brave defenders of freedom – the lone voices speaking up for ordinary folk against the intrusions of unelected busybodies and out-of-touch elites in judiciary, academia and the so-called ‘public’ service. Continue reading

The Murdochratic State

Anyone beguiled by appeals by the Murdoch press in Australia for the defence of “freedom” against the Leviathan of the state needs to read Tom Watson’s ‘Dial M for Murdoch’ – a forensic examination of the gradual corruption of the British state by News Corporation.

Reading the book should cure any delusion you have that these events are in any way controversial. Using court and police records, it shows in great detail that elements within News Corporation have bought police, put politicians on the payroll, intimidated regulators, invaded privacy and routinely smeared critics to get its way.

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The Untouchables

They squibbed it. Given the chance to tackle News Ltd’s stifling  dominance of the metropolitan newspaper market in Australia, the federal government has left ownership issues out of the remit of its independent inquiry into the media.

That was really the only reason for holding an inquiry in the first place. Instead, the inquiry – to be led by former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein – will focus on print media regulation, including online publications, and the operation of the Press Council – a body generally considered to be next to useless. This is akin is calling an inquiry into the liquor licensing board in Capone-era Chicago. Until you tackle the gangsters running the show, the Keystone cops appointed to police the precinct are going to prove plod-like in their pursuit of wrong-doing.
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Strings Attached

Business institutions so large and powerful that they distort the democratic process; frightened politicians in the pockets of large monopolistic companies; a corrupted and constricted public debate and an ever increasing separation between the actions of those large institutions and the generally agreed standards of public decency: The grim pathology of the global financial crisis comes to mind when watching the beginning of the end of Rupert Murdoch’s malignant global media empire.

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