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?

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