The conference was a crash course in African media and information access. Delegates from most African countries conveyed some optimism in spite of daily dealing with repressive governments. One example is the Ethiopian government that flicks the internet switch on an off at its leisure being the only internet provider in the country. This poses some logistical challenges for courageous regime critical blogger Endalk. He was on my panel in the workshop about media literacy. What he and other colleagues do in Africa humbles me. Things that we take for granted, like free speech, reliable independent internet connections and open and free debate are still being bitterly contested. If you want to get informed about Ethiopia read Endalk’s blog.
Another high light of the conference was to have input into the Pan African Access to Information Charter. This powerful and important document comes 10 years after the Windhoek declaration that started the movement towards greater access to government held information in Africa and increased transparency.
When I did the first assessment of the South African FOI system in 2004 it was the only country with an access to information regime in Africa – now there are nine (some of the laws are however dubious in that they seem to be counterproductive to the aim of FOI laws). It will be fascinating to follow FOI/RTI in Africa. However, as I’ve pointed out before. Passing the law is the easy bit – making it work in practice is much harder.
How should research into journalism be assessed in Australia?
In the July edition, 2017, of the Australian Journalism Review one section of the journal … Continue reading How should research into journalism be assessed in Australia?
The Senate inquiry: How governments can support public interest journalism
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‘A government without newspapers’ – why we should care about the cuts at Fairfax
Market based journalism is failing public interest journalism. It’s time for governments to consider how … Continue reading ‘A government without newspapers’ – why we should care about the cuts at Fairfax
Trump supporters playing with nationalistic fire
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Journalism in the era of post-truth and fake news
Confidence in the media has long been low, but can we really afford a society … Continue reading Journalism in the era of post-truth and fake news
New article – Suspect identified: revisiting naming practices in crime coverage
Australian Journalism Review – Vol 38 Issue 1 (Jul 2016) with Steve Lillebuen and Philip … Continue reading New article – Suspect identified: revisiting naming practices in crime coverage
New article: Information access evolution: assessing Freedom of Information reforms in Australia
Australian Journalism Review – Vol 38 Issue 1 (Jul 2016) The past seven years have … Continue reading New article: Information access evolution: assessing Freedom of Information reforms in Australia
Secrecy, Naru and Manus island
My take on our right to know what is done in our name in the … Continue reading Secrecy, Naru and Manus island
UniPollWatch: Monash journalism and 27 other unis cover the 2016 election
More than 100 Monash journalism student reporters contributed to the coverage of the recent marathon … Continue reading UniPollWatch: Monash journalism and 27 other unis cover the 2016 election
First Open Government Partnership National Action Plan for Australia
Monday April 11 saw a new chapter in Australian policy making. As part of Australia’s … Continue reading First Open Government Partnership National Action Plan for Australia
New book on journalism, secrecy and surveillance
As a result of the first Monash journalism research round table in 2014 myself and … Continue reading New book on journalism, secrecy and surveillance
Closing down FOI: a case study in sneaky government
My latest piece on the state of the federal freedom of information system is published … Continue reading Closing down FOI: a case study in sneaky government