Friday, April 16, 2010

Public Trust Journalism

Public Trust Journalism is critical to any form of democracy that can conceive of running a country devoid of the apathy that is repugnant to those, whom ‘of the people for the people’ has any real meaning. Without an operating process for the monitoring of bureaucratic activity, the result can only be worse than that which we have just witnessed, a runaway train wreck of George Bush proportions.

'By public trust journalism, I refer to journalism that applies scrutiny, analysis and accountability to governments, parliaments, politicians, public servants, judges, police, councils, the military, NGOs, diplomats, business and community leaders and the recipients of public funding.' * Eric Beecher

In Australia, most of this journalism has been funded by advertisers in the same newspapers, radio and TV programs that also undertook the “public trust” journalism. Those media outlets and their owners reveled it, while it lasted and they got to make extortionate profits from the ads at the same time as they were basking in the power and glory of running “public trust” journalism. Now, as advertising migrates from these profiteers to the Internet, the funding source is disappearing.

The ABC is the only alternative to the privately owned guardians but because of there close association with the very institutions being scrutinized, space should be put aside for the public to engage in online activities that would serve as the watchdog, that has been sadly lacking, and now runs the risk of totally disappearing. This is the right and responsibility of those who fund the ABC through there tax contributions and no one at the broadcasting commission nor the incumbent government, has the right to refuse.

Imagine, total accountability, transparent process and the ability to actually influence policy. These things can be achieved by demanding the obvious and necessary function of Public Trust Journalism be returned to the conscientious citizens who are prepared to participate in a broad spread of patriotic activity and a pinpoint of accountability, via an ABC supplied content management system designed for the specific task.

What perceivable application of democracy could you come up with that would come with in a bulls roar, of having a country wide forum for analysing all aspects of Governmental operations, in your home, at your disposal, twenty four hours a day?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A tall/short story

Super Professor/Administrator, I M Upitty signed off from the daily grind of endless discussion groups, countless working lunches and headed off in his Audi roadster to the airport for a rush trip into the field research part of His huge departments responsibilities. He was being pressured by the incumbent government’s budget restraints committee to actually come up with some positive actions in response to their massive financial contribution to His work. After a brief stop off at the Aero Ritz Bar and Grill to fortify himself for the hard yards which lay ahead, he boarded the private jet service flight to the remote location where he would have to walk all the way to the waiting helicopter. Just the thought it all was giving him a massive migraine, so he popped maybe one to many Vallium and managed to pass out for most of the gruelling three hour journey.

On arrival, the prearranged team of co-ordinators met Him with a small fleet of 4WD’s laden with all the provisions needed for an overnight stay in the potentially hostile territory referred to in His research as Problem area No:27b. This area had come under the spot light of all sorts of government research, it was unique in the sense that all the previous Aboriginal residents had move out because of the strict application of an alcohol cordon and now only poor white kids resided there, mainly because of a lack of transport. Small outposts of lean-to’s scattered over a large area was going to make the documenting of their current pathetic state difficult to say the least but, because of previous incursions into the area, Professor Upitty had it covered. He would make his base camp high on a ridge overlooking the creek where the little ferals tend to gather because of their need for water and the occasional yabby.

All had gone well up until the time they began to switch on the satellite surveillance grid and wouldn’t you know, it was down and a manual override had to be put in place before night fall. The professor tended to stay inside the air conditioned environment of the Hummer but as all the facilities of a fully operational field lab kicked into place and they settled down to observe the night time activities of the target groups, He positioned himself into the command chair ready to document anything that moved for the next twelve hours and had left word with his secretary not to be disturbed.

As the heat of the heat of the day subsided and night began to fall, all the occupants of the lean-to’s began to move about. Crime was about to erupt and the Prof. was feeling as hard as a Cobra. Soon the little perpetrators were brazenly about to start doing things in full view of the high tech surveillance devices and their conversations could be plainly heard via directional recording equipment aimed in their direction. Little fires began to erupt all along the banks of the creek even though there was a total fire ban covering the whole area. Before the night would be over, sex was bound to happen.

The morning light put an end to the operations, Professor Upitty thanked his team for a job well done and headed off back to the waiting helicopter to rush his findings to the sitting committee that was meeting for lunch at the Hyatt. As he walked from the rooftop helipad into lift he commented to His aids how tiring field work was but His findings would prove beyond a shadow of doubt, it was all worthwhile. As he took the floor to point to the evidence proudly displayed on the overhead projector, the professor’s demeanour changed to that of a highly concerned moral campaigner and everybody agreed that more money was needed to fight this grave injustice to human rights, law and order. His recommendations for more research and a higher police presence were well received and everybody felt sorry for these underprivileged kids when it was finally reported; “There just wasn’t enough money to relocate them and the facility to detain them was designed but not yet built, it would require further massive injections of funds".