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Media Watch -

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(generated from captions) Next week, the obesity epidemic
that may have begun in the west but is taking over the world. Until then, goodnight. Captions by CSI Australia -
Sharmishta Sarkar & Matt Whitmore

This Program is Captioned Live.

# Theme music

Hello, I'm Paul Barry.
Welcome to Media Watch.

And it seems all is not well
in the Top End of Australia.

As Darwin's NT News warned us
two weeks ago

in a story accompanying
that front page Alien Alert:

The Northern Territory
is famous for its UFO activity,

especially in the dry season,

which brings clear skies
and alien sightings every year -

particularly in the NT News.

But the abduction of Territorians
for breeding purposes

is a disturbing new development.

UFOlogist Alan Ferguson
told the NT News

UFOlogist Alan Ferguson
told the NT News

he'd talked to
several of these abductees

about their alien experience.

But he also claimed
to have first-hand knowledge.

Ferguson is a regular
with the NT News.

And he's been the source
of most of the stories

they've done on UFOs and aliens
in the last three years.

And there have been plenty of them.

But on this occasion
the UFOlogist is not happy.

On his blog, UFO Territory, last week

he claimed he had been misquoted
about the 'starfish' probe

and about the entities
in grey suits

which the NT News denies

and that he had been
made to look like a fool.

There's no doubt
there is some truth in that.

He also said:

Now, viewers of Media Watch
may well agree

that Ferguson is being sent up
to sell papers.

But before you ridicule the story

and the fact that
we are bothering to look at it,

just consider the results of a poll
taken by the News

in the week
after the abduction claims,

in which two other alien stories
were published.

Now, that's probably not scientific
but on those figures,

4 out of 10 NT News readers
believe what they read in the paper,

even when it's as crazy as that.

However, surely no-one
would try to stop them

from printing this nonsense.

So should Australia's
TV and radio watchdog, the ACMA,

be allowed to force
radio shock jocks like Alan Jones

to ensure
their so-called 'facts' are right?

Or should he be allowed
to claim whatever he wants?

Last week the ACMA upheld two
complaints against factual errors

made by Jones
in broadcasts last October.

Here is one.

Unfortunately for Jones, the first
fact in that list was wrong.

The minimum wage
in the Department of Climate Change

appears to be nearer $40,000.

Jones also got his facts wrong in
another broadcast just days earlier,

naming six power stations he said
were being closed by the carbon tax.

One was NOT being closed at all

and another was certainly NOT
being shut down for that reason.

As its owner, Alinta Energy, had
already emphasised months before:

Now, you may think
those are fairly trivial mistakes

and not worth a year's investigation.

But Jones and 2GB
are serial offenders,

so there's rather more at stake.

In the past three years,

the ACMA has produced
25 investigations

involving 2GB's Alan Jones,
Ray Hadley or Chris Smith

and, from our calculations,

found 18 breaches of the radio codes
or standards at the station.

That makes 2GB
the worst station by far.

And not only is Alan Jones
the biggest offender,

he was already
on extra fact-checking duty

when the latest breach took place.

In June 2012 he had been found
to be in breach of the code

for claiming
that humans were responsible

for only 0.001% of the
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,

which was wrong by
a factor of 30,000. As a result, the ACMA had
negotiated a settlement with 2GB

which involved:

And specifically, which promised:

That extra fact-checking agreement

was made only days
before one of these latest breaches.

And last month we caught Jones
being loose with the truth again, repeating claims about
the IPCC report on climate change

that had already been corrected
by the Australian and Daily Telegraph

and highlighted by Media Watch.

So it's pretty clear

that this policing of radio accuracy
is not working.

2GB hates it
and is threatening legal action,

the ACMA is frustrated,
and the complaints change nothing.

So what can be done to fix it?
Or should it be scrapped?

Well, the ACMA wants more powers.

As it noted last week:

It also said:

In fact, short of taking away 2GB's
licence, which it would never do,

the ACMA can do very little.

It can't discipline Jones

and it can't require
correction of mistakes

or acknowledgement of its findings,

even though other regulators
in the world possess that power.

Yet it's not for lack of asking.

In 2000,
the Australian Broadcasting Authority

called for this power
in its Commercial Radio Inquiry.

The following year the Department
of Communications canvassed it.

Four years later a report
for the ABA by Professor Ian Ramsay

agreed it was necessary.

And in 2005
the Department of Communications said it should be considered.

Seven years after that,

the Finkelstein Inquiry
and the Convergence Review

both argued a new media regulator
should have the power.

And just four months ago,

the Joint Select Committee
on Broadcasting Legislation

recommended it too.

So why has the ACMA been denied it?

One highly-placed source
told Media Watch:

Now, whether that's right or not,

the commercial radio stations
have certainly opposed it.

They want the ACMA to have
less power, rather than more.

And they don't like the rules
on fairness and accuracy.

In July, Commercial Radio Australia
told a new ACMA inquiry

that the fact-checking requirement:

Commercial Radio Australia
also suggested

that talkback hosts
like Alan Jones and Ray Hadley

should be exempt
from fact-checking rules.

Now, as it happens,
the commercial radio code

does not require talkback hosts
to get their facts right.

It simply asks them
to make reasonable efforts to do so.

And if they make a mistake,
they can avoid breaching the code -

which is written by the industry -

by correcting the record
within 30 days.

It's really not so hard.

So we asked a number of radio hosts

how important they thought it was
to get their facts right.

We got no replies
from Jones, Hadley or 2GB.

But John Stanley of Sydney's 2UE
told us that accuracy was:

Paul Murray of Perth's 6PR told us:

And the ABC's Jon Faine in Melbourne
was just as adamant.

So why might it be unreasonable
for a watchdog to demand

that Jones and his fellow shock jocks
try to get their facts right?

The answer perhaps lies in a comment
from the Institute of Public Affairs,

whose legal director, Simon Breheny,
told The Australian last week:

In that same interview,
the IPA's Breheny urged Tony Abbott

to get rid of the media watchdog
immediately.

We doubt the new Government
would go that far

but it's conceivable
that it will consider it.

The Minister for Communications,
Malcolm Turnbull,

told Media Watch
in a statement this afternoon:

We think having a watchdog

with powers
to police fairness and accuracy

is justified.

The shock jocks get people riled.

They have a big audience

and they talk about
matters of public importance,

not about aliens.

We think it's important
for democracy and public debate

that they get their facts right.

But it's also important
for democracy

they can then say
whatever they like.

And the commercial radio code
does not shut down freedom of speech

or force shock jocks to be balanced.

It simply requires commercial radio
stations to make 'reasonable efforts'

to offer a range
of 'significant viewpoints'.

The rules covering the ABC are much,
much tougher and we seem to do OK. Now, you may argue that commercial
radio should not be regulated at all

because it gets nothing
from the taxpayer.

But 2GB has a guaranteed slot
on the dial

and a licence
worth many millions of dollars.

And it's perfectly reasonable
to ask that it repays the community

by delivering honesty, accuracy
and fairness in public debate.

So we'd like to see regulation
made to work. And we have two suggestions.

First, that the ACMA be given
more power NOT to investigate.

It's crazy to spend a year
on trivial complaints

and it's a waste of time
for all concerned.

Second, that the watchdog
be given some teeth.

Allow the ACMA to force broadcasters

to acknowledge
and correct their mistakes

and allow it to impose fines
on serial offenders,

as the British regulator Ofcom
is able to do.

Finally, it would help if 2GB took
its responsibilities more seriously.

Six weeks ago
Channel Nine's A Current Affair

was found to have breached
the TV code

with a story
that a shopping mall in Sydney

had been overtaken by Asians.

ACMA recommended
it acknowledge that breach on air. And thanks to Channel Nine boss
David Gyngell, it did.

We would like to acknowledge
that the ACMA has determined

that our segment
entitled All Asian Mall

was found to have breached
the code of practice in three areas.

The ACMA has made a number
of findings in their report -

a copy of the report can be found
on the ACMA website,

which is shown on your screen.

A Current Affair apologises for
any offence caused by this segment

and Nine accepts
the report's findings.

It wasn't the best apology
in the world

because it did not go into any
detail of the sins they committed.

And we're not suggesting A Current
Affair will never sin again.

But it is a start.

If broadcasters are forced
to admit their mistakes on air,

it will surely make them
a little bit more careful

about making them
in the first place.

And, as always, you can read more
about this story on our website,

including a number of other
responses from broadcasters

about accuracy and regulation.

But for now that's all from us.

We'll be back next week
but until then, goodbye.

Captions by CSI Australia

BlockThis Program is Captioned Live.

APPLAUSE Good evening. Welcome to Q&A. I'm Tony Jones. Answering your questions tonight - the Minister for Education and Leader of the House, Christopher Pyne. The editor-in-chief of the online magazine 'The Hoopla' Wendy Harmer. Journalist and author Ray Martin. The Shadow Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon. Economist and opinion writer for the 'Australian', Judith Sloan. Please welcome our panel.APPLAUSE

As usual we are being simulcast on ABC News 24, News Radio and you can join the Twitter conversation with the hashtag on your screen. The first question is from Jakov Miljak.My question is to Christopher Pyne. I would like to ask - now that you are in power, what steps will the Coalition take to reduce the influence of a progressive Left Wing agenda in our education system, an agenda which continues to emphasise a black armband view of history and whose teaching methods are leaving today's generation of students deficient in material facts and concrete literary skills? APPLAUSEThat's a strong start. Well, the first will
thing we have done which we will be soon announcing is a review of the national curriculum. We have obviously announced we are going to review the national curriculum, that was part of our policy before the election. But I will soon be announcing who is going to do that and we are going to ask them to report to us early next year about whether the national curriculum is rigorous enough and whether it achieves the outcomes we as a nation need for our students because there is really a battle in education between people who believe that education is about skills and garnering skills and those who believe that it is can
about knowledge, something that can be used throughout one's life to change careers or to inform decisions, skills being something that you pick up at school and outside school but shouldn't be the focus of our education. So it will be interesting to see what the review of the national curriculum finds especially with respect to the themes in the national curriculum. Most listeners probably don't realise there are three themes that are supposed to permeate the national curriculum. Sustainability, Australia's place in Asia and Indigenous issues. I think there is a question mark whether there needs to be themes in a national curriculum, how themes work in, for example, maths or science. This is what we will ask the review of the national curriculum to find how it can be improved because it should be something we are aiming to make the best in the world.Do you accept the basic point made by the questioner that the curriculum has somehow been tainted by a Left Wing agenda? Look, I don't accept that in its entirety, no, but certainly the history curriculum was written by Stuart mac intyre and his supporters and Stuart McIntyre has a particular view about world history which probably wouldn't accord with a lot of people in the audience's view but that doesn't mean it is not worthy of being debated. As Wendy said off-camera, perhaps the different views about history should be taught in the curriculum ...That's actually not what I said.Oh, sorry. I thought that's what you meant.No. I will get to that in a minute.Perhaps the point I was going to make, that I thought Wendy was sensibly making off camera -I am not going to mention what I heard her say off camera.- there are divergent views about history is not something we should be shying away from.Wendy Harmer? I was actually saying this is a revival of the old history wars, like "Here we go again". I don't even know who won the last one. Maybe that should be taught. The war about historians rather than particularly the different views of history. This squabbling. I don't know why every Conservative Minister has to come into your job, Christopher, and make over the curriculum in their own image. It seems that's what you are doing. You have talked about an emphasis on skills teaching, standing in front of the blackboard and teaching facts, almost going back to what I think is a rote way of learning. The Minister Minister for 'Science' doesn't teach how to dissect a frog.In 2013 we do not have a Minister for Science in the Australian government. 1929 I think is the last time we didn't have a Minister for Science.It is called Ian Macfarlane, he is the Minister for Industry.We have a video question on this subject. This is from Tess Mimms and Ben Wong in Canberra.Mr Pyne, how do you justify your claims that the history curriculum which, according to you was written by an ex Communist is taught in such a way that exposes us to a black armband history? Shouldn't we be taught about Australia's Aboriginal history. How will you sure it is not subjected to the white blindfold approach? APPLAUSE.Wendy is saying they are clever kids.They are, they are thinking for themselves.Yes, sure, that's terrific. No-one is suggesting we don't need to learn about Indigenous history and the poorly way Indigenous people were treated by our forebears by changing the curriculum to reflect Australia's history. The thing about history is when you learn about Indigenous history in Australia, of course you would learn about the Mile Creek massacre or the treatment of Indigenous people. You wouldn't also want to ignore the fact Australia is the kind of country it is today because of our colonial past, because because of
of Western civilisation, because of the rule of law and the Westminster system. One of the problems with the history wars as they are called is the Left describe them as the wars because anybody who has a different view than the Left is apparently at war with the facts. That's not the case.Are you saying Stuart McIntyre, I