JERAA Executive Statements 2016
December 31, 2016
JERAA applauds champions of free speech 2016
On World Press Freedom Day, the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) applauds those who champion freedom of expression and support media around the world.
Journalists and other media workers play a pivotal role in developing and sustaining democratic, prosperous and just societies. Journalism acts as a watchdog over power, supports public processes and public life, mediates public debate, and airs the views and perspectives of different community constituents.
There are many forces that attempt to silence journalists around the world – political factions, business interests, criminal gangs, and terrorists, among others.
JERAA expresses praise and solidarity for those who persist in the struggle to create and circulate accurate and balanced media reports on issues of public importance in the face of obstacles, threats and harassment.
Most of the members of JERAA are university-based lecturers and researchers who, through teaching, research and community service, contribute to processes that support free, independent journalism.
In recognition on World Press Freedom JERAA calls on the Australian media and government to continue to raise awareness and seek solutions to these and other media freedom issues:
- The Indonesian Government continues to ban foreign journalists from entering and reporting on events in its troubled West Papua provinces. Two French journalists were detained and held for 11 weeks by the Indonesian Government in 2014. They were released after being convicted of breaking immigration laws to report on unrest in the area. In a worrying new development the government of neighbouring Papua New Guinea appears to have been pressured to follow suit in restricting reporting about West Papua. In March 2015, PNG officials told journalists covering an official visit by Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi not to ask questions about West Papua.
- Alan Morison is an Australian journalist due to face trial in July in Thailand. He and his Thai colleague Chutima Sidasathien are facing a long jail term in Thailand for reprinting part of a controversial, award-winning article from Reuters about people smuggling.
- While the release of Peter Greste from custody in Egypt was welcome news in February, the future of his colleagues Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed is far from secure as they are still facing trial.
JERAA also notes that in 2015 Australia was ranked 25th by the RSF Press Freedom Index, and was not awarded a higher rank because the National Security Legislation Amendment in October 2014 not only rendered the national security service immune from prosecution for a wide range of illegal activities but also imposed a blanket ban on coverage of its “special operations”, with imprisonment as the penalty for violators. (Source: http://index.rsf.org/#!/themes/national-security-spurious-grounds ). In addition the new data retention laws have raised concerns about the viability of shield law protection of journalist’s sources.
Journalism academics and social media 11 June 2016
The issue of journalism academics’ use of social media to discuss issues, institutions and individuals has attracted media attention recently.
The Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) supports freedom of expression and opinion that complies with limitations concerning defamation, sub judice, discrimination, incitement to violence, and similar matters.
As the professional association for journalism academics, JERAA also supports adherence to the principles espoused in the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Journalists’ Code of Ethics.
In cases where universities and other academic institutions need to investigate complaints about comments made by academics, we urge management to follow proper processes and complete investigations in an impartial, transparent and timely manner.
The JERAA Executive (June 11, 2016)
Anne Dunn Scholar Award – Congratulations to Emma A. Jane
Emma A. Jane, from the University of New South Wales, has won the 2016 Anne Dunn Scholar Award.
The award, presented by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia and the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, was established in 2014 to commemorate the life and work of Professor Anne Dunn. More details on the Grants & Awards page.
JERAA research grant 2016
Congratulations also to Stephanie Brookes, from Monash University, who has been awarded the JERAA research grant for 2016. Her project is ‘Checking the facts: The impact of new sources of political information on “legacy” election coverage in Australia and the United States’.
Following a presentation and discussions at the 2015 JERAA Conference, the JERAA Executive has unanimously agreed that the association should act as publisher of the UniPollWatch website for the 2016 federal election. JERAA President Matthew Ricketson has issued a statement explaining the association’s involvement in and commitment to the project.