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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Olympic politics: Passive censorship off the ABC 702 talk back for this 5th estate tyre kicker
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: big media


Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 10:39 AM
Subject: mmm off your talk back list? So be it

1. I've been aware for about 3 weeks at least that I'm blocked from your talk back list, 702 morning show.

This is fair enough if it's a policy of facilitating general citizens while I'm more or less a full time community media practitioner that edits a community media website and so not 'normal'. That's okay, and accepted. I never wanted to be so average.

But maybe your team should be honest and tell me that directly instead of the ostensible passive censorship? Indeed it's a subtle form of emotional violence really to be blocked and censored, like this morning: My feedback on Lisa Forrest/politics in the Olympics - no mention of the Peter Garrett sorry suit at Sydney 2000. No mention of mural near McDonaldtown railway station (stop before Newtown) depicting the famous Black Power 1968 salute painted by one Donald Urquhart, an activist artist years ago pre Sydney 2000 from memory. These would have enriched your coverage.

But I would have preferred to not waste my time too.

Also you might just share the policy decision around, as some of your telephone talk back staff want to hear my material while one in particular is the proverbial Berlin wall, chilly.

It was much the same with Trioli, blocked, then waved onto the airwaves, then if memory serves blocked again. Cie la vie.

2. There's no secret I am highly critical of James Woodford who sounds like a Fairfax mate on your show. It may be of interest to know that HE in turn is blacklisted by many civil society green groups in south east NSW who have any independence from the hegemonic state ALP govt. In particular
ChipStop group run by ex journo Harriet Swift, local landholder, held in high esteem, wife of local Bega Councillor Keith Hughes, take quite a dim view of him. These are for sound reasons of biased (read absent) reportage about the Eden chipmill. A bias that the Sydney Morning Herald has been woefully guilty of too for about 8 years now directly leading to the destruction of East Gippsland majestic forests.

Nor do we have anything much good to say about another favoured ABC Sydney information source, Jeff Angel, director of the Total Environment Centre, and significantly, mentor to Woodford 1991-92. We say Angel is implicated in grotesque financial compromise from the NSW ALP state government such as the Lake Cowal Trust, Green Games Watch 2000, RACAC and Native Vegetation Committee as well as the most recent Unsworth Committee on power privatisation.

Significantly this is the position that Milo Dunphy, founder of TEC held, Dunphy having been our mentor. We say Angel is the cork in the bottle of spontaneous green movement and Green Party evolution. We know for instance the ALP ask rhetorically what are the green groups going to do when Jeff is gone? Get it? They need him as their controller, and contemptible gate keeper. If only I could do a 'Daily Telegraph/Mamdouh Habib' legal contest on the chapter and verse detail of this reality.

3. I'll be in the community media  trenches with or without engagement with the ABC radio morning show, which reminds me of the Stephen Mayne amusing reference to "the Kremlin" even as he does get an official gig. In truth every organisation is equally defensive or jealous of their turf.
I take seriously the role of the fifth estate on disciplining Big Money Media of which the ABC is a more benign and public spirited form, no doubt compared to many of the barbarians. That's accepted. But your organisation has got its warts like every flawed human endeavour, myself included. We were impressed with your on air grovel in particular about the issue of dementia which took guts and also seemed a little too accomodating which suggested a compassionate approach.

The morality of the ABC was never better than that on air grovel. Was it the modest orgins, farm near Panmure (?) that generates the moral gumption? My fear remains that like the local Hopkins/Merri Rivers none of these will survive dangerous climate change for lack of upstanding forests. As with all sectors of the society too much talk not enough honesty.

Yours truly

Tom McLoughlin, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog (solicitor)


Postscript #1

We made a courtesy call in Gandhi style to these folks being in the story here and had an amicable conversation with the "senior producer". She swears its just an artefact of logistics and split second decision making with 12 lines to juggle. Sounded plausible too. Which doesn't mean we are convinced. While wishing her well, we think it's probably moot as we decided a while back to try and wean ourselves off the talkback urge and rather manifest our material in this SAM outlet. A natural evolution for this community media, grown out of local indymedia, grown out of City Hub et al, and growing out of the talkback habit.

Off to get a picture of that mural of the black power salute because big money Olmpics means by it's nature, Beijing is political. Not least because China got the gig on a political agenda 'to help open up to the world'. Just as Sydney's 'green games' was to promote sustainability. And with the critical role China has in the global economy, and dangerous climate change, the big money olympic engagement involves profound politics already. Merely adding the profound concerns of Tibetan and Darfur human rights into this already profound mix seems totally appropriate to this writer.

Stay tuned for alot more on this front with some (mostly foreign?) 800 media reps at the press conference of a Chinese leader in Beijing yesterday according to the excellent Stephen McDonell on PM show last night:

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Well it was interesting this morning, just as Premier Wen Jiabao started his annual press conference, a dust-storm had blown in from the Gobi Desert, and shrouded Beijing in a very thick, I suppose, cloud of sand, and when I arrived at Tiananmen Square this morning and looked across at the Great Hall of the People I could barely see it.

Now, we went in there, and these press conferences are partly because it's… you get one chance at it. They are huge. There was like 800 journalists there, and Premier Wen Jiabao, to his credit, took a lot of questions about Tibet. And, you know, obviously people wanted to speak, to ask him about it, and I suppose he had a few things to say about it. Let's have a listen to some of the things he was asked.

Here's one of the grabs.

JOURNALIST 1: There is turmoil and violence in Tibet and China is accused of cracking down on peaceful demonstrations there. The Dalai Lama calls it cultural genocide, and in the light of these developments some are advocating a boycott of the Olympics. What do you say to these?

WEN JIABAO (TRANSLATED): It is true that recently in Lhasa, Tibet, a turmoil involving the beating, smashing up of property and arson and ransacking was taking place.

In this incident, a small number of violent rioters injured or even killed innocent people on the street and they used extremely cruel means.

There is ample fact, and we also have plenty of evidence proving that this incident was organised, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique.

Picture: The Olympics has been about politics for a long time now. Evidence of our tragic participation in the Sydney Olympics 2000, being a reader analyst night shift job (really night shift midnight to 8 am) with Media Monitors where most of these clippings filling 2 large binders derived from.


Posted by editor at 11:13 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 3:31 PM NZT

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