Stopping Social Media-Is This Evidence Of Its Impact?

March 20, 2014

By MARCUS BREEN, Professor of Communication and Media, editor of the International Journal of Technology Knowledge and Society, and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

Speaking at Dublin City University in February 2014, my presentation was titled: “Uprising: What happens next?”I addressed the political chaos in Egypt where reports of the influence of Social Media and the impact of the Internet have been strong. In my view Social Media has been generating hyper-fragmentation among interest groups in society, giving rise to “ideological grooming” which continues apace.Researchers are notoriously brave or reckless in theorizing technological determinism in the quest for democracy. Count me in that lot.Now there is evidence of real impacts as opposed to marketing claims from techo-boosters parading as researchers – I know the terrain is complex, but the point is worth making less researchers become corporate shills. (definition of shill: a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty).Turkey Prime Minister quote:”We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook,” Erdoğan said in an interview late on Thursday with the Turkish broadcaster ATV. “We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way.”

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Immigration Case Shows Process Can Take The News Out Of FOI Requests

January 14, 2014

By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Social Media and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

A recent decision by the Australian Information Commissioner has demonstrated that persistence with a Freedom of Information application can pay off – if you are willing to wait the year or more for the appeal process to take its course. 

Farrell and Department of Immigration and Border Protection [2013] AICmr 81  (21 November 2013) was decided recently and may well be subject to further appeal.

On November 15, 2012, he applied to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for access to a series of incident reports about five self-harming events logged on the department’s FI disclosure log.

On January 14, 2013, the Department provided Mr Farrell with edited copies of five documents totalling 23 pages related to his request, citing its ‘operations of agency’ and ‘personal privacy’ exemptions under sections 47E and 47F of the Commonwealth FOI Act as its reasons for the deletion of material. On February 14, 2013, Mr Farrell applied to the Information Commissioner for review of the information exempted by the Department under s 47E.

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‘Dinosaur Wrangler’ Sacked From ‘Jurassic Park’: Fair Work Commission Upholds Dismissal Over Facebook Abuse

January 7, 2014

By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Social Media and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

Australia’s Fair Work Commission  this week (December 10) added to its developing body of social media case law by upholding the sacking of a worker who described himself as a ‘dinosaur wrangler’ at ‘Jurassic Park’.

The latest is cited as:

Cameron Little v. Credit Corp Group Ltd [2013] FWC 9642 (U2013/11522) 10 December 2013. < http://decisions.fwc.gov.au/ >

Cameron Little had worked as a customer relationship manager for Credit Corp Group for three years when in June 2013 he used his personal Facebook account to criticise an organisation he dealt with on behalf of his employer (Christians Against Poverty (CAP)) and to make sexually suggestive comments about a new colleague. Little had listed his employment on his Facebook account as a ‘Dinosaur Wrangler’ at ‘Jurassic Park’ but other details on his page made it possible to identify him as an employee of the Credit Corp Group. He dealt with Christians Against Poverty when the not-for-profit group was negotiating new debt arrangements with Credit Corp on behalf of their clients. He posted to their page:

‘For reals bro, you should put a little more of funding into educating consumers on how the world works rather than just weaseling them out of debt, blah blah blah, give a man a fish/teach a man to fish.’

and

‘No thanks, just take my advice and try to educate people about things like ‘interest’ and ‘liability’ rather than just weasel them out of contracts. #simple’

The day after the posts came to the attention of his employer, he was called to a meeting where his employment was terminated. Two weeks later he filed a claim for unfair dismissal.

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Beware The Co-Regulators… Key Bodies Wielding Power Over Publishers

December 17, 2013

By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Social Media and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

Several self-regulatory and co-regulatory bodies hold powers that can impinge on the work of journalists, PR consultants and new media entrepreneurs. They include:

  • The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). < http://www.acma.gov.au/ > The broadcast regulator’s powers can impact upon public relations consultants, freelancers and new media entrepreneurs in a range of ways. PR consultants need to ensure their audio packages and video news releases (VNRs) comply with the code of conduct and classification requirements of the particular broadcast media they are targeting (community, commercial radio, pay television etc). The ACMA also administers the national Do Not Call Register where citizens withdraw their phone numbers from telemarketing dial-ups. It also polices the Spam Act 2003 – the legislation ensuring you can unsubscribe from junk mail posts to your email, mobile phone and messaging services. It is important public relations consultants and new media startups work within the bounds of this legislation or they could face heavy fines. For example, in 2013 Cellarmaster Wines received a $110,000 infringement notice from the ACMA for sending marketing messages in breach of the Spam Act. Some of the messages were sent without an opt-out choice, while others were sent to customers who had earlier selected to opt out of the company’s email promotions (ACMA, 2013).

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New Reports Offer Insight Into Legal Risk Management In The Fitness Industry

April 30, 2013

The Institute’s recent conference in Sydney not only marked the AFIRM’s inaugural forum to discuss legal risk management in the fitness industry.  Additionally, the aptly named conference, ‘Is Your Fitness Business At Risk?’ also saw the launch of two reports tailored for the Australian Fitness industry.

Offering up-to-the-minute, industry-relevant information, the reports offer fitness industry professionals an insight into liability for workplace health and safety in the Australian fitness industry, and planning and buiding regulations affecting fitness businesses.  The reports are the second set of key deliverables as part of the AFIRM team’s ARC linkage grant: Legal risk management of adverse health outcomes and injury in the fitness industry.

To view the reports click the links below:

Author:   Joel Butler

Liability for Workplace Health and Safety in the Australian Fitness Industry

Authors:  Rebecca Richardson and Jacqui Salter

Planning and Building Regulation for Fitness Businesses


Narrow Escape For A Fragile Freedom #medialaws

April 15, 2013

By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Social Media and member of the Institute for Law, Government and Policy.

[Here is a taste of my commentary in The Conversation on 28th March 2013.]

It is just two weeks since the Gillard government withdrew the four media reform bills for which it could not garner the necessary support from the crossbench MPs.

The proposal that concerned me most as a media law scholar and free expression advocate was the News Media (Self-regulation) Bill. This would have given an individual the power to deregister bodies, like the Australian Press Council, if they failed to police effectively the ethical standards of their newspaper and online members.

The big stick the so-called Public Interest Media Advocate would have wielded was the withdrawal of media companies’ journalism exemption from the Privacy Act – a penalty that stood to send newspapers broke through its demands of bureaucratic compliance. I detailed this problem in a blog republished on The Conversation last week, describing it as a defacto form of licensing. Many vested political and commercial interests were at stake in this debate.

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Lost Cause? The Convergence Review Model For News Media Self-Regulation

July 22, 2012

By MARK PEARSON, Professor of Journalism and Director of Social Media Research, Centre for Law, Governance and Public Policy, Bond University

Australia’s news media regulatory framework has been the subject of two recommendations for major overhauls in recent months.

It was the $2.7 million Convergence Review, announced in late 2010, that was meant to develop the definitive regulatory model in its final report released in April, 2012.

But along the way political pressures (or opportunism, depending on who you want to believe) prompted the announcement last September of an offshoot – the $1.2 million Independent Media Inquiry – specifically briefed to deal with the self-regulation of print media ethics. Read the rest of this entry »