Picking up from where the last post finished (which can be found here), there is an imbalance and possible inaccuracy in the way the scientific consensus is represented Australian newspapers. Going forward I hope to (1) assess how well Australian media are performing their role of providing “adequate and accurate information” on climate change, (2) seek policies or guidelines in place to prevent print inaccuracy, and lastly (3) describe and analyse current campaigns which aim to create awareness of climate change and combat the prevalent inequalities in todays media.
Our two biggest newspapers, News Corp’s Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph “were more than 60% sceptical about anthropogenic climate change”, with the Herald Sun recording a whopping 67% rejection of the consensus (Bacon 2013).
After discovering the staggering statistics surrounding the consensus representation, I found it extremely ironic that the first page and first point of New’s Corp’s code of conduct is “Facts must be reported impartially, accurately and with integrity” (News Limited 2012). Not only this, it is promptly followed by “clear distinction must be made between fact, conjecture, comment and opinion“.
THE. FIRST. LINE. Their full Code of Conduct can be found here.
Throughout this research project is has become abundantly clear that there is unfortunately very little safeguards, policies or procedures in place to stop these misleading pieces. Where television and radio broadcast have organisations such as the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) to enforce regulation, print media is left with very little in the way of repercussions. Print media are generally held to their individual organisation’s or journalism association’s codes of conduct, which as we can see- is extremely sacred to some.
Now I don’t mean to imply that all organisations use their code of conduct loosely. Furthermore, there is certainly a limit on the blame to be placed on individual journalists. At the crux of it, Australia’s concentrated media ownership “limits the diversity of reporting needed to cover climate change in depth”. The monopoly on Australian print media (aka “News Ltd controlling 72% of capital city newspapers”) is unlikely to be changed by individual journalists, whom most likely are not going to jeopardise their career in order to challenge the intentions of their employer. And I don’t blame them- I probably wouldn’t either.
This misreporting of science and skepticism is consequentially support of policy inaction. This means that the public are no longer holding politicians accountable to develop “climate policies and offer national and international leadership on the issue” (Edwards, G, Farrant, B & Holmes, H 2013).