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Apr 1, 2011

Media watch and fairness doctrine, (when appropriate.)

GetUp, the bastard son of US based MoveOn has at the behest of Media Watch has launched proceedings with the government regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, to take action against broadcaster Allan Jones and others for favoring the skeptic side of the climate debate.

Media Watch were ruminating on the activities of Jones and other skeptics on radio and their favoring of like minded people for interviews on their programs. This in turn raised the argument that the Code of Practice governing commercial broadcasters which requires reasonable efforts be made to present opposing viewpoints in covering controversial issues deemed to be of public importance.

This was reported on by Chris Berg on “The Drum Unleashed,” accusing MW of calling for the stifling of free speech by means of regulations.

Today Jonathon Holmes of MW replied, picking around the semantics of what Berg had said and claiming:

So Media Watch suggested they should do what the Code requires, and ensure that "reasonable efforts are made... to present significant viewpoints when dealing with controversial issues of public importance".

Such as, just occasionally, interviewing scientists who maintain that the evidence points to dangerous, man-made global warming - scientists who represent by far the majority scientific view - as well as (not instead of) scientists who disagree.
And I said that it shouldn't need complaints to the ACMA to make that happen.
While this seems on the surface fair and reasonable, Media Watch has not at any time complained of the overwhelming preponderance of pro global warming material on just about every other form of media apart from these programs. Even when a sceptic is put before a camera the interviewer normally concludes with a disclaimer indicating that the majority of government funded reputable climate scientists, agree that the earth is warming and that man made CO2 emissions are responsible.

It seems though that if someone takes the other side then it has to be balanced to what Media Watch approves of.

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