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Australia – (C7) The watchdog and the media’s mission statement

Score in short:

Australia’s media sees itself as a watchdog.

Score in detail:

The interviewees saw the watchdog role as their media’s most important task. This is substantiated by a recent survey of Australian journalists in which investigating government claims was named as very important by 90 % of the journalists asked (Josephi & Richards, forthcoming). While the Australian media do not pursue politicians or celebrities with the same doggedness as the British media, much of the ‘digger’ mentality and accompanying distrust of authority can also be found in Australia. For example, it is not surprising that the founder of Wikileaks is Australian.

Those media companies whose editorial policy is available on the Internet, such as The Age and the West Australian, commit themselves expressly to their role as fourth estate (West Australian 2009). The Age (2002) details its commitment: “The public interest includes investigating and exposing crime, serious misdemeanour and seriously anti-social conduct, and investigating and exposing hypocrisy, falsehoods or double standards of behaviour by public figures or institutions.”