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Media Watch -

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(generated from captions) will just fall apart. the whole feeling of the sport, already, to some extent? Do you think that's happening Unfortunately, I think it is. Wouldn't that be nice? # # Anyone for tennis? Closed Captions by CSI That's it! He's won it! singles champion. Lleyton Hewitt is the men's +. CC going back to the hockey, EDDIE MCGUIRE: Wayne, against the USA was amazing, the build-up to yesterday's match the team played well, in the net in the end. it just couldn't get the ball Canada's greatest ice-hockey star, That's Eddie McGuire interviewing Wayne Gretzky. ice-hockey isn't played with a ball. Someone forgot to tell Eddie that

It's called a puck, Eddie. It's played with this. I'm Jonathan Holmes. Welcome to Media Watch. Now, to more serious fare - My School website. the Government's controversial a rock, or don't have kids, Unless you've been living under

it's been popular with parents, you'll know that and unpopular with teachers. But what about school principals?

Seven News in Sydney had a story The Saturday before last, its members conducted about a survey of Principals' Association. by the New South Wales Primary to rank schools nationwide CHRIS REASON: The website attempts based on performance, of principals called it but the survey showed 67% 77% "a political exercise". "a potentially damaging time bomb" Geoff Scott, told Seven: And the Association's President, this website right, And unless we get sort of inaccurate, misleading data. we're going to find we're using that with the website, did he? Mr Scott didn't sound too thrilled must have been a bit puzzled So Seven's viewers in New South Wales this story in the Sunday Telegraph. to wake up in the morning and read

Que? Two thirds support it? Let's check the actual survey. So did Seven get it completely wrong? as many options as they liked. Respondents could pick Even more agreed that the website is: were overwhelmingly negative. In fact, the principals' responses the Sunday Tele manage to claim So how in the world did the My School website? that two thirds of them support Well, because... But that's just outrageous spin. The principals are realists. to stay. They know the website is here

want their association to: But 67% of them it's incomplete, inaccurate, In other words, right now they feel are really all about. and unreflective of what schools Some "support". The Sunday Tele's story went on: Miawling Lam exactly the opposite. But Geoff Scott says he told In yesterday's Sunday Telegraph - started asking questions - after Media Watch Miawling Lam came up with the article the week before - she should have written The article admitted that - Miawling Lam and her editor I may be old-fashioned but I reckon dunce's caps, should sit in the corner wearing right through morning recess. to Melbourne's Herald Sun Now, here's a letter Minister for Communications' plans from someone who doesn't like the internet filter. to introduce a mandatory It was sent in by: The day before, across Bass Strait, in The Mercury. an identical letter had appeared That was written by: in Sydney's Daily Telegraph: This one, was from: and this one, which was: came from: in the Northern Territory News, Seems like Oliver is a serial prest! to determine, As far as we've been able no Oliver Prest lives in Melbourne, or Alice Springs. or Launceston, or Sydney, is an anagram for ISP revolter. And we've noticed that the name When we sent him a polite email, Julian Ricci, the editor of the NT News, Media Watch spending its time... couldn't resist a ritual jibe about It's an oldie, Julian, but a goodie! Mr Ricci told us that: Anyway, with that off his chest,

at most newspapers. That's standard practice But, as Mr Ricci says... Obviously not. if letter-writers' names are genuine, But does it matter, these days, when hundreds of anonymous comments every day? are posted on newspaper websites

Earlier this year, you may remember, tried to make it unlawful the South Australian government The Advertiser's AdelaideNow for websites like matters during an election campaign to publish posts about political

the writer's real name. unless they carried The Tiser, and many of its readers, a fearful lather: worked themselves into The day that story appeared, Michael Atkinson, backed down. the State Attorney-General, and meanwhile, won't be applied. The law will be repealed he said, a little afraid of Mr Atkinson. Well, they should still be

AdelaideNow published this: Just a week ago, in the trade, a grovel. That's what we call, of a fierce letter And it appeared as the result for the Attorney-General. from lawyers acting It surprised AdelaideNow, had been dealt with weeks ago. because it thought the matter story back in early December: The offending post responded to this

a crook, The post did call Mr Atkinson which was certainly defamatory. down, and this appeared instead: That's why it was rapidly taken And so on.

AdelaideNow posted again last week. Precisely the same apology as didn't satisfy Mr Atkinson. That first grovel apparently And what hasn't been revealed before at the website. is that he didn't stop The man who wrote the original post of using his real name. made the mistake And on Christmas Eve, from the Attorney-General's lawyers. Dean McQuillan too received a letter it said, was: His post on December the 8th, resolve his claim, the letter said, But Mr Atkinson was prepared to in return for... sent a robust response, Mr McQuillan, who says he's bankrupt, and has heard nothing since. But be warned. In South Australia, at least, about a minister in an internet post, if you want to be rude

safer to do it anonymously. The state's chief law officer an ordinary citizen with ruin is prepared to threaten the net, for posting rude remarks on within a couple of hours. even when they were taken down And now, three Australians who would probably appreciate a lot more anonymity.

The story had broken more than 24 hours earlier. During the course of Thursday, some news outlets realised that though the photos in the three Australian passports used by the Dubai hit-team were faked, other details were genuine. CHRIS REASON: The passports belonged to 34-year-old Adam Korman, heavily pregnant 27-year-old Nicole McCabe...

By Thursday evening, Seven News was blurring the passport numbers and dates of birth.

ABC News was also trying to play it safe... The al-Mabhouh assassins appear to have forged their passports to travel to Dubai. But Nine and Ten still didn't bother - and nor did the newspapers next morning. In the Fairfax papers and in News Ltd's an identity thief could find every detail he needed. And if he didn't want to shell out a couple of bucks,

he could get them for free on We've blurred the details. The originals are crystal clear. The Sydney Morning Herald told Media Watch today that: Well, that's not true. The Herald, and lots of others, published the passport numbers too - and as online magazine ITNews established on Friday: Using the passport and other details published in the media, ITNews was able to: The banks, says ITNews, use an identification agency, which We asked the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade why it hadn't cancelled the passports,

or at least ensured its website couldn't be used to verify that they were genuine. We received no response to that question. But what we're wondering is why so few Australian media outlets followed the example of the ABC and Seven, by blurring the details themselves. As IT News says, the failure to do so could well have... It wouldn't have affected the story to have taken a bit more care. As for IT News, it may well have been breaking the law. At least it has closed the accounts it had managed to open. While we're on the subject of identity, back, briefly, to the Daily Telegraph, and Joe Hildebrand's gossip column in Sydney Confidential: The piece went on to detail the succession of tragedies that have hit the family of the late Senator Ferris. After her death in 2007... Pretty heavy stuff to hang off the news that someone is selling their house. Especially since the swimwear mogul who has been selling his multi-million dollar Bondi pad is no relation at all to the late Senator Jeannie Ferris. Her son is a different Jeremy Ferris altogether and he's not happy. Both he and a friend emailed the Tele but heard nothing. On Saturday, the paper printed a correction which left us baffled. But the whole point of the story, such as it was, hung on the swimwear mogul being the son of the senator. Did the subs invent the whole story? Joe Hildebrand hasn't enlightened us. He's told Media Watch: Very odd. That's it for now. As always, more on our website - or leave your thoughts on our message board. Till next time, goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

next oneational Summit is the This Program is Live


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have gone out with a bang in

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'Lateline' at 10:35.