Australia – (C1) Supervising the watchdog ‘control of controllers’

Score in short:

Australia has a number of independent observers of the news media.

Score in detail:

The most continual source of ‘inside stories’ on the media as well as politics, business and environment is the web publication crickey.com.au. Its pages are available to subscribers only, with an annual subscription costing A$160.

Arguably, the best known program is Media Watch on ABC television, which has been shown for over 20 years. Media Watch has a weekly 15-20 minute program slot right after the ABC’s major investigative television program, Four Corners, on Monday nights at 21:15 o’clock, and in 2009 averaged 736,000 viewers per program (ABC 2009b). Media Watch picks on factual errors and sloppy journalism, unethical behaviour such as plagiarism, and does not shy away from criticising its own media outlet. Under the motto, ‘Stay brave and true’, it has had some high profile presenters, either journalists with years of experience or media lawyers.

The national paper, the Australian, flagship of News Ltd, publishes a weekly sixpage media supplement, with articles, commentaries, and ‘The numbers’, which give the audience share of radio or television programs, the top stories of the past week on various platforms and other factual information.