Saturday 6th of March 2021

The conscience of the press...

news of   

In 1960, Sir Linton Andrews wrote a long article about “The Conscience of the Press”. This article is nowhere to be found on the internet and information about Linton Andrews is quite sparse. He had been a journalist and one of the president of the Press Council after a Royal Commission — to inquire into the finances, control, management and ownership of the press — had been voted upon by the British Attlee government in 1946…


By whatever coincidence, Gus has “The Conscience of the Press” article in full, in a printing manual publication and it makes an interesting reading considering the present battle between freedom of the press and “fake news” horrors, which to say the least has always been a problem, even before the days of Junius.

Say Junius’ letters to the Public Advertiser, an 18th century London Newspaper, had the objective to inform the public of their historical and constitutional rights and liberties as Englishmen — and to highlight where and how the government had infringed upon these rights.

Junius' private correspondence has also been preserved, written in his disguised handwriting. Junius communicated with Pitt, with George Grenville, with Wilkes  — all opponents of the Duke of Grafton, who Junius exposed as corrupt — and correspondence with Henry Sampson Woodfall, printer and part owner of the Public Advertiser.

The letters show a principled man, ahead of his time, exposing blatant corruption by the only means available — anonymity — in a country struggling with the idea of freedom of speech. Here on yourdemocracy (YD) we’re still manning the same conflicted barricade — fighting the media grand freedom to tell polished porkies, fighting a blatantly lying government, versus the need of exposing the hidden truth.

Back to Sir Linton Andrews:

The Second World War, as wars always do, made people go hotfoot for reform in many directions. Hostile eyes were turned towards the Press and its supposedly sluggish conscience. There were fears that the control of public opinion was falling into the hands of a few newspaper millionaires, that the tone of the Press was declining, that there was too much exploitation of sex and crime.

Nothing new today… The Royal Commission, thus formed in 1947, reported back in 1949. It was generally agreed that the British Press was “inferior to none in the the world and free from corruption". But it was agreed that "newspapers, with a few exceptions, failed to supply the electorate with adequate materials for sound political judgement". “(bad?) consideration of news value acted as a distorting medium”. The need to raise Press standards which was the main finding of the Commission, failed short of finding any “sinister Press influences” as some people had hoped for. After a few years of operations, the Council was still divided about self-reform and self-defence. By the 1970s, many journalists rumbled about the way the Press was run. This was in a world where TV was starting to take hold of news dissemination, but before the internet and "social media”. One still had to go to libraries for reliable references or find articles like “The Conscience of the Press” by accident...

Linton Andrews, born in Kingston upon Hull in 1886, first became a journalism for the Sheffield Telegraph, then worked as a journalist for a number of local newspapers. He became editor of the Leeds Mercury from 1923 until it merged with the Yorkshire Post in 1939, a paper he became the editor of, eventually.

Andrews became a president of the Guild of British Newspaper Editors. He was knighted in 1954. He was also a founder member of the Press Council, and was its Chairman from 1955 to 1959. He died in 1972, aged 86.

The Press Council was a British voluntary press organisation founded under threat of statutory regulation, as General Council in 1953, with a non-binding regulatory framework. The Council was mostly funded by newspaper proprietors, with the stated aim of maintaining high standards of ethics in journalism. The General Council was reformed as the Press Council in 1962. Due to the Council inefficiencies and interferences, the National Union of Journalists withdrew from membership in 1980. In 1991, the Press Council was replaced by the Press Complaints Commission. This showed that things had not improved. Even in 1960, newspaper "investigations" were often seen as "an invasion of private rights"… We shall shed a tear for “The News of the World” here (pictured at top, 1960). We also know of governments still hiding misdeeds under various “secrecy acts” and “national interest” grandstanding and court cases against witness K and defending lawyers. And keeping Julian Assange in prison against all forms of justice.

But back in 1960, Sir Linton was still optimistic, despite some reservation:

Finally the American Editor’s code expresses the hope that deliberate pandering by newspapers to vicious interests will encounter public disapproval or yield to the influence of a preponderant professional condemnation. This hope is one that decent, public spirited citizens will share, but it has often been disappointed.

This showed that the Press’s problems were not exclusive to England. And in order to write crap in the Press, many articles are now expressed under the cover of “opinions”. We know that the truth is always difficult to find and when found, governments will imprison the messenger. Here think Assange. 

So Sir Linton concluded:

It is difficult to persuade the public that journalists are as honest, public spirited and faithful to a high trust as they mostly are. But as the Press Council does its work year after year and gains more and more publicity for its views there will be, I think, a stronger tendency to realize that the Press, in spite of occasional irresponsibility and triviality, fights hard for freedom, that it has a keen conscience and that we may still pay heed to the word of Junius: "Let it be impressed upon your minds, let it be instilled into your children, that the liberty of the Press is the palladium of all the civil, political and religious rights.”

Here we have to warn that these rights thus include the freedom to tell porkies, including the fake news of religion — while the reality of sciences will often be buried. 

Good luck to all of us. Free Assange today.

the news of the world


The last pages of the NotW were telling... Proud to call itself the world's greatest newspaper, and having become part of the Murdoch empire, it bit the dust in 2011, after a few scandals too many, including grafts to the police and phone intercepts of no value but designed to embarrass celebs who to say the least have done pretty well at embarrassing themselves on shows like "I'M A CELEBRITY — Get me out of here" or "The Apprentice"...


The present feminine Press is even worse than the NotW ever was — but the scandal is that the exposed are often participating in being scandalously exposed. The magazine for females are full of pregnant celebs and royals (before and after the royal coitus) plus sexy legs and sexy butts often promoting the new lowlife that inhabits the social "media" and that makes a killing by selling stuff — which the celebs would not sell without the scandals nor the curve of their arse plastered in the femmes-mags...


The Press (the media) has become exactly what Sir Linton was fighting against. And in term of political enlightenment, one can mention zero — unless it is to follow a "liberal" (CONservative) politician in his or her lovely exclusive kitchen, where the turnips could represent the ideal populace and kale is de rigour as to show us, voting dummies, that these never-lying denialist pollies are with the latest trends (though I believe this one was last year's or the year before). 


But the hard pill to take is the constant assault on sciences and scientists in the Murdoch media. We shall continue to fight against this.


And by the way, the new Royals are giving up being Royals...


The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they will step back as "senior" royals and work to become financially independent.

In a statement, Prince Harry and Meghan also said they plan to split their time between the UK and North America.

The BBC understands no other royal - including the Queen or Prince William - was consulted before the statement and Buckingham Palace is "disappointed".

Senior royals are understood to be "hurt" by the announcement.

Last October, Prince Harry and Meghan publicly revealed their struggles under the media spotlight.

In their unexpected statement on Wednesday, also posted on their Instagram page, the couple said they made the decision "after many months of reflection and internal discussions".

"We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen."


I don't see the factory floor of a steel mill opening its doors to the royals. I see more stuff like "public relations" and charitable enterprises or, like Tony Blair, selling consultancy or what about weapons. Yes weaponry is a good business... Meanwhile, good luck to the whole royal circus and long live the Republic.


We can only hope that the self-de-royaled will fight for exposing the dangers of global warming, though their travels may burn too many of their carbon footprints...

a sunny day at the beach...

There was another important article in the reputable Sunday Telegraph (I’m not allowed to call it the rubbish Turdograph anymore), of 29 December 2019. It was written by the string-theory elastic specialist, eminent professor Dr Katt Hall, of the physics department at Murdoch Notre d’Empirium University. 

How much would you pay for a piece of string?” 

I dunno...

This informative article did a lot of name dropping, including the Kardashians', and ends up with: “So, just how much would you pay for the luxury of having a piece of string sandwiched between two sweaty sunbeaten bum cheeks? Not $187, that’s for sure."

I dunno. Is it diamond studded?

Oh I see. It must have been a satire on females using strings to cover their arse. Unless it was a subtle way to introduce the biggest naked bumcrack ever seen, competing with Miss BumBum's (I know my classics from the adverts on the side of serious net-icles), of a certain Tammy Hembrow, mother of two, fully string-clothed in the picture, which was obviously available from Instagram in a couple of million pixels/inch… Yes nude pictures tend to sell papers. The Daily Murdoch (Daily Mirror) used to have naked breasted ladies on its famous page 3, until Mr Murdoch, getting a bit old, thought that this was a bit tacky, especially when it merged with the more restrained Telegraph... It had them wearing bras, then the page 3 disappeared entirely.

So the article had nothing to do with the String Theory… Bummer. And here was I, sharpening my Quantum Mechanics pseudo-knowledge ready for a bit of superior intellectualism. But the clinch, belonged to the subtitle: “When applying sunscreen becomes a black ops mission, things have gone too far.

This had my conspiracy theory mind prickled. Do spy go naked in the dark by applying suntan lotion that make them invisible? No, I think from the not-so-subtle description in the article that this could be about applying the lotion in full sun and in full view of the beach inspectors, to exposed places that usually are defined as sexual organs and other holes… 

Meanwhile some sun-screen lotions have been banned by the authorities because they damage the reefs… I suppose that you can still buy these lotions, if you pledge the solemn undertaking that you won’t go swimming… And why would you? No point hiding in the water what you came to the beach to show…

Ah, the beautiful people…

This reminds me of a journo being asked to write an article about a photo of a lady with crooked teeth next to a horse. No-one knew who she was nor what the horse was doing. The art department was asked to straighten the teeth and to remove the blotches on the face — and the journo wrote the most plausible fictitious story about this champion horse woman… See. Easy...

Read from top. 

the brit-press goes berko...

The British press has turned on Harry and Meghan after their shock decision to step back from their roles as senior Royals.

Key points:
  • The British tabloid press condemned Prince Harry as being selfish for turning his back on Royal duties
  • Left-leaning commentators said the right's rabid reaction confirmed Harry and Meghan's choice to step back
  • Support also came from some sections of politics, reminding people of Harry's past military service


On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stunned Royal watchers around the world by announcing they would be working towards becoming financially independent and dividing their time between the UK and North America.

"We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties," a statement from the Duke and Duchess read.

But it appears they did not inform the Queen, Prince Charles or any other members of the family of their intention to make the announcement.

That, combined with an already fractured relationship with the media, sent many Royal pundits and commentators into a frenzy.

Read more:






Here, Sir Gus de Leon Après-ski of Yourdeemocracee wishes the former Royals a very happy life, away from the self-appointed pompous descendants of thieves. Long live the Republic of Australia. Read also: the colonialist good oil...


The main problem with the Brit-press (read from top) is that they had no warning, no leaks, no inkling of the deed and their noses got out of joint... 


Please note that the historical and constitutional rights and liberties as Englishmen — and to highlight where and how the government had infringed upon these rights — also applies to the Royals who so choose to leave the realm...

not to mention the US-poo-press...



As usual, the NYP excels itself... Harry is now "Prince Harming" (not charming). Meanwhile, the Lolita Express was on a humanitarian trip...


These are the photos revealing Bill Clinton’s 2002 trip to Africa aboard Jeffrey Epstein’s “Lolita Express” — with other celebrities and an Epstein accuser in tow.

The slew of images, obtained Thursday by The Post, show a smiling Clinton posing alongside Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell and Chauntae Davies, the masseuse who has accused the dead financier of rape.


And we deplore the possibility that a Ukrainian civil aircraft has been downed by a couple of Iranian missiles... Meanwhile, gangster Donald Trumpola reveals while he murdered an iranian general — and why he should get the freedom-to-do-as-Al-Capone medal for it, and why he kept a cool head, after the Iranians bombed a few of his middle-eastern warehouses...

And of course the fait-diverse:

We are a long way away from even the cover of the News Of The World at top. The media has sunk below the surface of the sewage pond without a snorkel. Maybe, just maybe, I should go and swim naked in the middle of pack of hungry sharks and see what happens: I could make the news, as long as someone takes a video...



Iran has dismissed claims that the Ukrainian Boeing 737 that crashed near Tehran was hit by a missile as “psychological warfare,” calling on countries that lost citizens in the crash to send representatives to join its probe.

"All these reports are a psychological warfare against Iran,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Thursday. “All those countries whose citizens were aboard the plane can send representatives and we urge Boeing to send its representative to join the process of investigating the black box.”

Meanwhile, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has called on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to share the intelligence he has claimed to have from “multiple sources” that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, state media report.

We are calling on the Canadian Prime Minister and any other government that has information about the crash to hand it over to the investigation committee in Iran.



Read more:

the plane was hit by iranian missiles...

Eventually, the Iranians admitted to having hit the Ukrainian plane with 2 missiles... Meanwhile the Voice of America has a wrong picture problem:


US-government sponsored Voice of America is well aware that Russia’s new PM Mikhail Mishustin is “a career bureaucrat who never had political ambitions” but, strangely enough, it doesn’t seem to know what the man looks like.

Kudos to the US outlet for having noticed a major shake-up in the Russian government, but someone at the desk needs to read up on the country’s internal affairs, it would seem – if only for better face recognition. A photo of the long-time leader of Russia’s Communist party, Gennady Zyuganov, has appeared on VOA’s article about Mishustin – who was ratified by the parliament as PM on Thursday. 

The caption under the picture reads “Russia’s new Prime Minister Mishustin – and neither photo nor caption seems to be going anywhere over an hour later. Who’d ever care to check, right? 


Read more:

new russian PM

Wrong picture...


fake news from 1945 till 1977 (then till now)...

Official documents declassified by the UK National Archives in early 2020 show that between 1945 and 1977 Her Majesty’s government secretly subsidized the Reuters News Agency and the BBC to disseminate Fake News against the USSR and communist sympathizers.

During the Cold War, the Foreign Office founded the Information Research Department (IRD), an apparatus in charge of identifying and discrediting supporters of the USSR. In particular, it created the Globe News Agency, the Near and Far East News Ltd (NAFEN) based in Istanbul and Delhi, the Star News Agency in Karachi and the Arab News Agency in Cairo and, as of 1956, in Beirut. Many well-known figures actively participated in this disinformation program, including George Orwell, Arthur Koestler, A.J.P. Taylor and Bertrand Russell. [Gus bold]

The IRD also swayed British public opinion in favor of the United Kingdom’s accession to the European Economic Community (now European Union), via the European League for Economic Cooperation (ELEC) (British equivalent of the American Committee on United Europe) [1].

The IRD was dissolved in 1977 by Lord David Owen to shut down the propaganda activities aimed against the left wing of the Labor Party.

All these facts and many more have been known for a long time [2], but these documents constitute irrefutable proof. They show that for around thirty years, the MI6 (and its US counterpart, the CIA) have dominated information flows throughout Western and Third World countries, as denounced by Sean McBride before UNESCO, in 1973.

These documents are linked to the Chilcot Commission revelations on the manipulation of public opinion during the war against Iraq (2003) and to our own revelations on the current device of the Foreign Office: Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat). Since 2014 to the present, this Istanbul-based agency has fabricated a false narrative regarding the war in Syria, which it managed to impose on the international media as a whole.

  • The Reuters News Agency was taken over by Thomson Financial in 2008. It no longer seems to have ties with the MI6, but with the CIA: it has permanent access to the Pentagon’s command center and can therefore release Fakes News, in real time, as much and as often as necessary.

These facts teach us that it is stupid to think that only authoritarian regimes try to intoxicate their own population. Democracies do it too.


Read more:

real news has become unsustainable...

The news agency Australian Associated Press will close in June after major shareholders Nine Entertainment and News Corp Australia said the 85-year-old institution was unsustainable.

AAP’s chairman, Campbell Reid, described the news wire as Australian “journalism’s first responder”.

“It is a great loss that professional and researched information provided by AAP is being substituted with the unresearched and often inaccurate information that masquerades as real news on the digital platforms,” Reid, who is News Corp’s group executive corporate affairs, told staff at a meeting in the Sydney newsroom.

AAP provides more than 500 stories, 750 images and 20 pieces of video each day across news, politics, finance and sport to about 200 subscribers who use it for newspapers, radio news and talkback programs, television news and websites.


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Before its last breath, AAP should file the TRUTH... That is to say the truth about MH17, the truth about the US fiddles in Syria, about the disinformation by the White helmets, the truth about our crooked ways on many issues, including smirking scomo's rorts — and of course the TRUTH ABOUT JULIAN ASSANGE


It's all there in full daylight, away from the official lies — the TRUTH...




Read from top.

time to retool the guardian...




We relied on AAP when Guardian Australia launched. Holding power to account just got a whole lot harder

Without the wire service it will be far more difficult for new players to grow big enough to have influence

Every morning the list of stories Guardian Australia should cover is far longer than the list of reporters I have to assign to them. Many mornings the AAP wire service helps make up some of the difference.

Holding politicians and powerful institutions to account requires sticking with things, sending a reporter to the months of trials and retrials of George Pell, for instance, or pursuing case after Kafkaesque robodebt case, or sitting through all the parliamentary committee hearings that help piece together the mounting evidence of the politicised grants process before the last election.

That’s easier to do, or at least slightly less impossible, when we can rely on the safety net of our AAP subscription. If we can’t get to the disability royal commission on a particular day, or commit to cover a court case, we know AAP will be there. If we miss a press conference, AAP will have the quotes. Except after June they won’t. They’ll be gone.


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Easy. Make a commercial quid pro quo with Sputnik, RT, Pravda and other such outlets as Voltaire Network for REAL NEWS... and for adult opinions. You might not get the lies of the other Western media, but you might not be pilloried as much on OffGuardian — as well as becoming a true alternative media for the left... Time to retool... Which will it be? Murdoch or the left lane...?



Read from top.

something TRUE for the guardian...

Democratically re-elected President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, was forced to flee his country for fear of assassination and to prevent widespread bloodshed in the wake of an election victory that returned him to office in the first round of balloting with a winning margin in excess of 10 percent. 

Right-wing elements in the army and security services with close ties to the United States of America refused to accept the democratic expression of the will of the Bolivian people and used violence against Morales supporters to force him from the country. In the army, in the repression that followed at least 35 Morales supporters were killed and over 700 injured. Democracy was drowned in Bolivian blood.

The above paragraph is what should have been carried in international headlines and news bulletins across the world yesterday as a thoroughly independent and well-researched report from the respected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts completely debunked the manufactured story of a fraudulent election in Bolivia last November that was promoted by the mainstream media across the globe.

The US-inspired Organisation of American States (OAS) spread the deceit and deception into the belly of the billionaire-owned mainstream media and neo-liberal puppet news agencies and they obediently spewed out the lie that Evo Morales was not legitimately re-elected as president.

World Duped Into Believing Electoral Fraud Lie in Bolivia

The world was duped and internal opposition forces within Bolivia, particularly within the armed forces, were primed to take action at the behest of Washington memos and CIA proxies. Socialist Morales was a constant thorn in the side of the US State Department and their neo-liberal economic plans to privatise the vast natural resources of Bolivia and enslave them for US exploitation.


Read more:



another TRUE story for the guardian...

Julian Assange published the DNC leaks in 2016 not because of links to Russia, but because he was always longing for truth, John Shipton said as he recalled key moments of his son’s life in an interview with RT Documentary.

Claims by the US intelligence services that Assange received the leaked 2016 Democratic National Committee emails directly from the Kremlin are “absurd,” Shipton said.

WikiLeaks published the files, which revealed the DNC's bias against candidate Bernie Sanders and eventually cost Hillary Clinton dearly in the presidential race against Donald Trump. At the time, Assange was holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

While in the embassy, Julian was “the most surveyed person on the planet,” with anybody entering the facility photographed and recorded by both the British and Ecuadorian secret services. Under such circumstances, it’s just “impossible” to imagine that he could’ve had any contacts with the Russian intelligence, Shipton pointed out.

It’s just an entirely political ploy – place the burden of Hillary Clinton’s failure on the Russian Federation and WikiLeaks.

Shipton said that accusations of his son’s links to Russia were the same as “the Skripal poisoning – another ridiculous MI6 scandal.” Former double agent Sergey Skripal and his daughter were allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury, UK in 2018, with Britain swiftly blaming Russia for the incident, but never bothering to provide any convincing proof for it.

Learning of WikiLeaks over a cup of tea

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks was launched by Assange in 2006, but Shipton knew of his son’s plans beforehand, of course.

“Julian was at my place and we were having a cup of tea. And Julian said I'd like to start a Wiki. And this Wiki would concern itself with leaks,” he told RTD. Assange had no problems getting his dad’s blessing for the risky and ambitious project.

“I thought that was a good idea,” he recalled.

What WikiLeaks did was “very new” as it allowed the public to analyze the original documents themselves – something that was previously only available to intelligence services. Those leaked files really showed the people “how the world is composed.”

Ecuadorian embassy turned from ‘cultural center’ to prison

In 2012, Assange asked for political asylum in Ecuador and moved in to the country’s embassy in London. He feared that the Swedish arrest warrant for questioning over sexual assault accusations, which he vigorously denied, would eventually lead to political prosecution and extradition to the US.

Julian was given a small room of about “three-and-a-half by three meters” at the embassy. “So he had half of the room to sleep in and half of the room to run WikiLeaks from.”

But this tiny space quickly became a sort of “a cultural center,” Shipton said. There was a constant stream of “brilliant people” visiting his son, including “filmmakers and Lady Gaga… politicians…” and others.

It all changed when pro-US president Lenin Moreno replaced Rafael Correa in Ecuador in 2017. Assange’s small room “became exactly like a prison,” his father said.

The Ecuadorian hosts were “turning away lawyers… searching visitors…installing cameras in every room, installing voice devices in every room.” They were often ‘forgetting’ to supply toilet paper or give their guest food. If Julian wanted to have a private meeting, he could only do it in the toilet, Shipton added.

Shipton confessed he was afraid that his son’s stay at the embassy “would end in the worst possible way.” Those fears materialized on April 11 last year when the Ecuadorian authorities invited the UK police inside to arrest the publisher of whistleblowers.


Read more:



The Guardian should say:

FREE JULIAN ASSANGE TODAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





the death of AAP threatens our democracy...


by Michelle Henderson


When the call came that a 39-year-old man had been critically injured in Barwon prison’s high-security Acacia unit in April 2010, journalists in Melbourne’s AAP bureau swung into action. We stood up at our desks, facing each other. We spoke fast and earnestly. We may have shouted. I entered an animated conversation with my news desk chief of staff. Tony Mokbel? No, I replied, he was 44. This guy was 39. It had to be Carl Williams.

At this stage, Carl was still being worked on by paramedics.


I hit the phones while announcing I was ringing my source. My COS did the same. Within seconds of each other, we’d both confirmed it was Carl. By now, another call had come through to the news desk confirming that the patient being attended to at Barwon prison had died.

I banged out a one-liner announcing the gangland figure’s death, which was sent to subscribers indicating a breaking news story, with more lines to come. The radio station 3AW ran with the story, voicing a rare attribution, “AAP reports”, to its news bulletin – in case we were wrong, I guess. We weren’t. To my knowledge, we were first with this story.

The announcement this week that Australian Associated Press will close on 26 June after 85 years shocked me. I feel deeply aggrieved that an organisation I worked for so passionately for seven years will be no longer.

Margaret Simons on Tuesday encapsulated well what the death of AAP means for public interest journalism and the significance of this event to our nation. “It affects us all, threatens our democracy and requires urgent and enlightened responses from our policymakers,” Simons wrote. “The AAP announcement is the latest, and one of the biggest, lurches down a slippery slope. If we reach the bottom of that slope, we will be a nation that doesn’t know itself, with citizens prey to fake news.”

AAP was credited with providing media outlets and their audiences with “basic, reliable reporting or courts, parliament and public events”, reporting that is “ordinary, routine” and “does not win Walkley awards but which, I think, is cumulatively even more important than the big investigative scoops”.

Sure, AAP does all this and no doubt many subscribers share this view. But from an insider’s perspective, it does so much more. With my former colleagues’ support, I broke the story of Williams’ death through speed, a knowledge of the underworld, and a rock-solid source. I covered the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires on the ground, and the subsequent royal commission in its entirety.

Other AAP Melbourne bureau colleagues traversed Victoria for up to a week after the Black Saturday bushfires, solo, no photographers or film crews for support, in their cars, reaching affected towns before any other media. One of those colleagues is now AAP’s Northern Territory correspondent, filing underreported stories on Indigenous Australia. September 11, the London terrorist attacks, the Bali bombings, the Boxing Day tsunami – AAP was there. Foreign bureaus have included London (the oldest, dating back to 1935) Auckland, Jakarta and Port Moresby. For me, this is far from ordinary but rather extraordinary and intrepid journalism.

While the outside view of AAP may be that it serves to provide routine and reliable content, filling a void while freeing up other media outlets’ journalists to do the important investigative work, that’s not how I, or colleagues I knew, operated. If we did, the copy would have been substandard and would not have adhered to the organisation’s and our own personal standards of speed, accuracy, quality and creativity.

We took immense pride in our work. In our minds, we weren’t filing stories to fill the gaps in newspapers or provide routine, basic content – we were striving for the highest quality journalism in the hope we might get a byline rather than our work ripped off. We wanted to write a good yarn, to expose corruption and inequality, to entertain, to make a difference. We worked just as hard – sometimes harder – than any other journalists.

The outpouring of support for AAP from different sections of the media this week is welcome and encouraging. In my experience, AAP journos could be looked down upon by our media colleagues and sometimes subject to treatment that would not have been afforded to other members of the media. If there was a pecking order, we were not at the top.

Ben Butler’s report that News Corp and Nine, AAP’s major shareholders, did not want to subsidise the news service for competitors is a brutal reality. It smacks of a lack of innovation and imagination in not allowing AAP to continue under a different model, but why would they want that? Because as a competitor, especially in the breaking news space, AAP would kick ass.

While the final bell may have tolled for AAP (and only AAP staff will understand this metaphor), I still hold out hope this is not the end of the newswire’s story. I’ve often wondered what a more independent future model of AAP could look like. Measures recommended by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to boost philanthropy and grants for journalism are reassuring. And there are 180 creative minds who will be out of a job after 26 June who I’m sure are willing to be part of an innovative solution – if they aren’t snapped up elsewhere first.

• Michelle Henderson is a Melbourne-based writer and former AAP journalist covering news, courts and the national medical round. She’s eternally grateful to AAP for giving her a go.


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blaming others for their crime...

The demise of AAP has unexpectedly ignited a war of words between media companies over who is to blame.

According to News Corp – one of the major shareholders who actually took the decision to close AAP – the shuttering of the vital news service is the fault of digital giants Google and Facebook … and the ABC and Guardian Australia. Wait. What?

In the fallout over AAP in the last few days, News Corp has used its significant real estate to attack both media organisations, with articles appearing in the Australian, the Daily Telegraph and other Murdoch titles shifting blame to competitors.

A page three story in the Australian on Friday accused Guardian Australia of “gobsmacking hypocrisy” for reporting that, along with the very compelling financial reasons for closing the service, News Corp and Nine told staff they no longer wanted to subsidise a breaking news service for their competitors. Neither News nor Nine have denied making the comments.

The AAP chairman, Campbell Reid, fired off a statement after the Guardian report saying it was “one of the very companies that slashed the amount it was prepared to pay for AAP”.

A senior executive for News Corp, Reid is also furious with the media union, the MEAA, for questioning News Corp’s motives for suddenly closing the wire service and throwing 600 people into unemployment.

“[The Guardian] is one of the organisations whose decisions have contributed to the closure of AAP and it and the [Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s] leadership should confront the bigger, tectonic forces our entire industry faces rather than trot out this arrant nonsense,” Reid thundered.

Guardian Australia’s editor, Lenore Taylor, who was not given a right of reply by the Oz, says: “We were offered a discount by AAP when we renegotiated last year because we were using fewer services as we expanded our own reporting teams.”

“Mr Reid’s statement is based on false premises,” Taylor said on Twitter. “No one at Guardian Australia has ever suggested the decision to close AAP was made primarily to hurt small media organisations. We have written that it was a commercial decision. We did publish what Mr Reid TOLD staff at AAP – that as well as commercial considerations, News and Nine felt they were propping up a news wire that helped competitors.”


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a killing in broad daylight...


Democracy dies in darkness – but AAP closure shows it can be seriously hurt in daylight

by Stephen Mayne


Can anyone else think of a situation when the two biggest players in a market, both of which are listed on the ASX, get together and agree to close a joint venture which is a key supplier to most of their smaller competitors?

Welcome to the News Corp and Nine decision to summarily shutter Australian Associated Press (AAP) on June 26, ending 85 years of history and jeopardising 600 media jobs.

Surely this is unacceptable from a public interest and media diversity point of view, particularly in this era of fake news and constantly shrinking newsrooms.

If Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg are looking for stimulus ideas for next week, they could do worse than give the ABC some funding to buy AAP.

The closure announcement also appears utterly unacceptable from a competition point of view.

In order to test this, I lodged a formal complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last night in the following terms:


News Corporation and Nine Entertainment Company, as the joint controlling shareholders in AAP, have conspired to close the business in order to make life more difficult for their competitors, including the likes of Guardian Australia and The New Daily.

AAP is a wholesale supplier of news, video and pictures which is pivotal for smaller media outlets. News Corp and Nine are the two biggest Australian media companies and have the resources to survive without AAP services. Smaller competitors do not have this luxury.

Media reports have stated that News Corp and Nine are sick of subsidising their competitors.

If that is the case, they should be required by the ACCC to offer the business for sale to a third party, such as the ABC, the Judith Neilson Institute or international wire services such as AFP or the Associated Press (AP).

When News Corp sold the NRL franchise Melbourne Storm, it offered more than $10 million in ongoing subsidies to the new owners to keep it going.

News Corp and Nine should be required by the ACCC to disclose AAP’s ongoing operating losses and the closures costs they anticipate meeting in June this year.

They should be required to offer the business for sale to try and achieve a better exit outcome for their shareholders.

I’m seeking a declaration by the ACCC that News Corp and Nine have colluded in an attempt to reduce competition in the media market and a requirement that they offer the business for sale to independent third parties before closing it in June.

The lack of public or industry consultation ahead of the closure decision is just staggering. Surely News Corp and Nine should have first released the financial results of AAP and publicly declared that the business was under review with a view to either selling or closing it.

The four different shareholders – Seven West Media and Antony Catalano’s Australian Community Media also own small stakes – should have then been given an opportunity to take each other out.

If they all wanted to sell or close it down then the business should have been offered for sale, including to the ABC, which is an obvious buyer.

And please don’t buy this line that AAP has long been a burden for the major players. It used to be a commercial powerhouse. Remember when it launched the telco AAPT in 1991 which was later floated on the ASX in November 1997 raising $76 million in fresh capital at the price of $1.85.

AAP Information Services, the News Corp- and Fairfax-controlled joint venture, retained a 37.3 per cent stake in AAPT after the float. When Telecom New Zealand went over the top two years later offering $5 a share or $1.5 billion for AAPT in late 1999, it delivered a windfall of $264 million to AAP, as Fairfax disclosed in this announcement at the time.

TPG later bought all of Telecom New Zealand’s Australian operations for $450 million in 2013, so News Corp and Fairfax clearly sold at the top and profited handsomely from AAP’s telecommunications adventure in the 1990s.

There has been much written about the demise of AAP, including important pieces in Guardian Australia and The New Daily. The old Fairfax papers have tried to be impartial, but News Corp journalists have predictably towed the company line.

News Corp executive Campbell Reid has been making the public running on the closure as the current chairman of AAP, but we’re yet to hear from any of the minority shareholders or from Nine, which surely can’t be comfortable lining up with News Corp for a devastating jobs massacre like this.

Given that Rupert’s father, Sir Keith Murdoch, was a pivotal player in the establishment of AAP 85 years ago, it is remarkable that the wider Murdoch family are sitting back and copping such a brutal decision which must have been signed off by News Corp’s co-chairs, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.

After the Fox Entertainment sale to Disney, the wider Murdoch family are worth almost $30 billion. Keeping AAP going as a legacy to Sir Keith would be a drop in the bucket, but there’s seemingly no place for sentiment when it comes to a business which helps News Corp’s competitors.

That means it’s over to the ACCC to intervene, just like the way they blocked the $1.45 billion takeover bid for AAPT by Cable & Wireless Optus in May 1999.


Stephen Mayne is the founder of Crikey and a shareholder activist.



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acknowledge the harm they caused and paid him compensation...

The actor Kris Marshall, known for his role in the film Love Actually and TV series including the BBC’s Death in Paradise, has settled his phone-hacking claim against the parent company of the Sun and now-defunct News of the World.

Marshall, who fronted BT’s advertising campaigns from 2005 to 2011, is understood to have received a six-figure sum in damages.

News Group Newspapers, the parent company of the Sun and Sun on Sunday, offered an apology as part of the settlement handed down at a session of the high court conducted remotely on Wednesday.

“Our client had his privacy grossly invaded by News Group Newspapers in a manner which caused him considerable distress,” said Alex Cochrane, a lawyer at Hamlins representing Marshall. “It is absolutely right that they have apologised today, acknowledged the harm they caused in open court and paid him compensation. Kris is very pleased with the apology and the successful outcome in this matter.”

The legal action was against the News of the World relating to articles published between 2002 and 2010, a time when it was the UK’s biggest-selling Sunday newspaper.

As part of the settlement, News Group Newspapers made no admission of liability in relation to Marshall’s allegations that journalists at the Sun were also involved in voicemail interception and other forms of unlawful information gathering.

The Sun has always strongly insisted that phone hacking only took place at its sister newspaper the News of the World, which closed in 2011 at the height of the phone-hacking scandal.


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AAP to continue to provide breaking news...

The newswire division of Australian Associated Press is set to continue to operate with new owners.

AAP’s board confirmed on Friday that an agreement was in the final stages of negotiation with a consortium of investors and philanthropists led by Peter Tonagh.

The newswire, which had been slated to close in late June, will instead continue operating as AAP and provide breaking news, public interest journalism, sports coverage and news photography.

“I am pleased that, after months of discussions with various parties, it appears we have been able to secure a new home for AAP’s legacy of trusted news,” CEO Bruce Davidson said.

The sale involves only the news division of AAP, including text and photography, which provides reporting on general news, courts, politics, finance, racing and sport, plus images and video.

Other parts of the AAP Group will be retained by the current shareholders. This includes Medianet, Mediaverse, AAP Directories, Pagemasters and Racing operations – all will continue to operate as usual.

Mr Tonagh said his consortium was committed to independent journalism.

“We live in a time where trusted, unbiased news is more important than ever. AAP has always delivered on that and we are committed to seeing that continue into the future,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to working with the AAP team to continue its great work and to find new commercial opportunities to ensure its long-term survival.

“On behalf of the consortium that I lead, after consulting with staff, customers and other stakeholders, our consortium will provide more information about our future plan for AAP.”


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a lifejacket...

Australian Associated Press has been handed a $5 million lifeline by the federal government, which says its existence is vital for maintaining regional news and media diversity.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher announced the funding for the beleaguered newswire on Friday after months of lobbying, extolling AAP’s commitment to accurate, fact-based and independent journalism.

“The AAP Newswire provides services to more than 250 regional news mastheads across Australia, covering public interest content on national, state and regional news,” he said.

“This allows regional mastheads to concentrate on local news stories important for their communities.

“Importantly, AAP also provides regional stories for national distribution so that regional issues and voices are heard across the country.”



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Meanwhile the ScoMo government is slowly destroying the ABC... 

vale paul...

Australian journalist Paul Murphy, best known for his decade-long tenure as host of the ABC's PM program as well as being the first host of SBS's Dateline, has died aged 77.

He was in the host's chair at PM when Nelson Mandela walked free from Victor Verster prison, and during the Tiananmen Square protests.

Murphy first joined the ABC in the late 1960s and became a political reporter in the Canberra press gallery, before joining the ground-breaking ABC television current affairs show This Day Tonight.

In 1994 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to public broadcasting and to journalism. In 2000 he was awarded the Walkley Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism.


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from a champion of slanted news...

Media bias may be in the eye of the beholder, but the ability of journalists to slant the news can be demonstrated in ways that are both obvious and subtle.

Blatant bias was seen in the competing presidential town halls last week. In one, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie decided the job of the moderator was to debate, attack and interrupt President Trump. In the other, ABC’s moderator George Stephanopoulos tossed softballs to Joe Biden. That’s the kind of unfairness we’re used to with respect to coverage of Trump and Republicans.

But a more insidious form of media bias comes in the use of language and the way journalists use terms designed to favor the left. All you need to do to see examples of this is read the bible of American journalism: the AP Stylebook.

Published by The Associated Press, the Stylebook has, since its first edition came out in 1953, become the leading authority on grammar and style by reporters and editors as well a corporate-communication reference guide. Its updates about how to use words have even more influence on the way Americans speak and write than dictionaries.

While it may have started out as an objective source, as with so much of the media it serves, the Stylebook has long since discarded fairness for a liberal bias that betrays the goal of its authors and tilts the playing field against conservatives.

This was on display last month when the Stylebook weighed in to re-educate Americans about the “mostly peaceful” Black Lives Matter protests that resulted in violent riots and looting in hundreds of American cities since the death of George Floyd.

Since speaking the unvarnished truth necessarily paints these events in an unflattering light, the AP advised journalists to stop calling them “riots” and to use the more neutral “protests” instead — even if they were violent. Describing the pillaging of businesses by rioters as “looting” was denounced as racist.


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the censorship from the alternative media...

A new report has found that the social media accounts of President Donald Trump as well as his re-election campaign have been censored more than five dozen times while his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, has faced no censorship at all.

NewsBusters, the blog for the conservative media watchdog Media Research Center, released a report Monday titled “Twitter, Facebook Censored Trump, Campaign 65 Times, Leave Biden Untouched.” The report analyzed social media posts of the two presidential candidates as well as their respective campaigns from May 2018 to Oct. 16, 2020.

According to the report, “Twitter composes the bulk of the problem, with 98 percent of all the instances of censorship. … Twitter has been by far and away the biggest offender, labeling, fact-checking and removing Trump’s tweets and the tweets from his campaign accounts 64 times since the president’s election.”

“Tweets about the president’s concern over mail-in voting, COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have been given ‘public interest notices,’” the report noted. “Videos retweeted by the president depicting a satirical version of Biden walking on stage to the song ‘F*** tha Police’ have been deleted as well, after a fact-check from Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact.”

Three of Trump’s tweets touting hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment for the coronavirus were completely removed from the platform. Four videos have been removed from the president’s campaign account, including one featuring a pro-life message. Twitter also scrubbed a meme featuring the president saying “in reality, they’re not after me; they’re after you” from one of his tweets.

Twitter’s censorship has received renewed scrutiny in the past week as a result of its actions to suppress distribution of the New York Post story alleging that Hunter Biden used his father’s position as vice president for personal gain. The Trump campaign’s Twitter account was just one of many accounts suspended for sharing the story.

While Facebook has engaged in censorship far less than Twitter, it has still flagged or removed content from Trump and his presidential campaign. Facebook took down a video asking Trump supporters to “sign a petition and stand with your President and his decision to declare ANTIFA a terrorist organization,” citing a violation of the company’s “organized hate policy.”

Members of both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government have attempted to address social media censorship. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report recommending an overhaul of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which exempts social media companies from civil liability regarding content added to or removed from their platforms.


According to the DOJ report, this immunity has left social media companies “free to moderate content with little transparency or accountability.” The report’s publication came one month after Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to crack down on social media censorship.


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Please, No! I am not a Trump supporter! But I am not a supporter of Joe Biden either, even if he makes sense while being a deceiver and a hypocrite. Please beware... The DNC should have chosen a younger woman or younger guy to represent the values of the future. Biden represents the crappy past. Things are going to turn ugly... I hope not, nor that the world will go back to burning itself down through the human craziness... Hey, I'll be out of here before the big shit... Not the end, just the big shit...



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