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Media

ABC Life set to change and 250 jobs are to be axed

ABC studio entrance
Image: iStock

 

For a while, Australia’s ABC  has been dreading the reality of having to cut back on its content. There has been no funding cuts from the Morrison Government. However, due to past cuts, particularly from the Abbott Coalition Government, the ABC in it’s current form has become unsustainable.

One of the platforms that is going to change is ABC Life.

ABC Life was launched in August 2018. It’s aim was to attract young adult audiences to the ABC. It’s set to be called ABC Local with more an emphasis on regional and rural areas.

Rather than politics, the site focused a range of topics such as well being, work,  family, sex and relationships.

Stories that were published on the site was of that of 20 – something and 30 – something Australians. Types of post include personal narrative, opinion and recipe advice.

Unfortunately, 250 jobs are set to be cut.

ABC Life and disability activism

One of the great strengths of ABC Life is their disability advocacy. Back in June, they published an article

Filling  the void left by collapsed magazines?

Personally, I can’t help but compare ABC Life to collapsed magazines Cosmopolitan (Australia) and Cleo. While the site doesn’t embrace topics like fashion, as a former Cleo and Cosmo reader, I can see some overlap.

ABC Life, Cosmopolitan (Australia) and Cleo covered relationships, sexuality and work frequently. I guess they were all aiming to attract the same age group.

Media collapses, especially in regional areas

ABC isn’t the only station in Australia that’s facing job losses. Channel 10 have also faced job cuts. Kerri – Anne Kennerly, Natarsha Belling, Tim Bailey and Mike Larkin will reportedly lose their positions. Perth and Brisbane will lose their bulletins. All news will be aired from Sydney or Melbourne.

Albury/ Wodonga have also lost so much of their media over the years, with radio stations, 104.9 Star FM and 105.7 The River being largely broadcast in Melbourne.

I don’t like this at all. Why should Sydney and Melbourne have all the media? Why shouldn’t a young person from Albury or Wodonga have the opportunity to study and work in journalism?  La Trobe University only offers Bachelor of Communications and Media in Melbourne.

 

Is this a chance for independent content creators?

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Anyone who has read this blog know that I’m passionate about independent content creators and alternatives to mainstream media. I especially love The Young Turks and Secular Talk from the US.

I would love Australia to have something similar. Will this happen now? I guess only time will tell. I think we need more voices in the media landscape. Will Glycerine Queen Media be a part of it? (hey, I can dream can’t I?).

 

Personally, I will miss ABC Life when it changes. I might give  ABC Local a go, but I’ve got a feeling that the change will be noticeable.

Do you read ABC Life?  Do you find it useful or good to read? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Media

Adult magazine People set to shut down by end of year

Last year, Bauer Media Group’s Cosmopolitan Australia stopped production.

 

Issues of Cosmopolitan Australia
Bauer Media Group closed Cosmopolitan Australia last year

 

News.com.au reported that adult magazines, People and Picture will face the same fate by the end of the year.

The soft – core pornography magazines have faced backlash, with 7 – 11 and BP service stations pulling them from the shelves after an online campaign demanded changes.

Adult magazine, People is on its last legs and is set to close by the end of the year.

 

At the time the article was written, Coles and Woolworths still sold the controversial publications.

Activists and drop in sales blamed for magazines’ demise

Protest from Collective Shout and a decline in sales have been blamed for the collapse of People and Picture.

Former Zoo editor, Paul Merrill has also pointed fingers at the #MeToo movement.

With the #MeToo movement in full flow, [the magazines’] days were always going to be numbered.

While #MeToo has started debate on the treatment of women in workplaces and society and pornography is becoming scrutinised, it is still being watched at a huge rate worldwide. According to Psych Central, in the U.S. alone, 40 million people view porn sites regularly. Most are men, however, a third are women.

The most popular site is PornHub. In 2018, Australia was numbered 12th in the number of views by country.

The downfall of the magazine industry

As I pointed out above and have written in the past, the magazine industry in Australia has been dwindling for some time. Magazines continue to close down.

This is largely due to the Internet and the digitising of news and entertainment.

I also don’t think magazines, like Cosmopolitan Australia, People, Penthouse and Picture have failed to ‘read the room’, so to speak.

Cosmopolitan Australia didn’t move enough beyond the 1970’s. Much of their ‘sex advice’ became laughable. Too many people didn’t buy it (pardon the pun). Personally, the repetition (as well as endless ads) was what got me. The articles (what was left of them) were not very insightful.

Ethical concerns about mainstream pornography

Pornography is not just condemned by conservative Christians. Feminists have long been critics of pornography and its objectification of women. Psychologists and adolescent experts have also been worried about its effect on young people, the brain and relationships.

Last month, SBS aired a three – part documentary, Porn Laid Bare. Six young adults from the UK explored the porn industry in Spain: its production, its affect on the brain and damaging affect on consumers, actors and society as a whole. What struck me was the dangerously fine line between mainstream pornography and sex trafficking.

To me, the collapse of Penthouse and People magazines are a sign of a changing media industry and (slowly) values. Do people still want cheap ‘fast food’ sex entertainment? At the moment, obviously yes. However, I also think that mainstream adult entertainment will have to evolve or die on ethical grounds eventually. Ethical ambiguities that pornography presents will no longer be acceptable.

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Media

Is ‘de – transition’ the new ex – gay?

Transgender sign
Image: iStock

Lately, there has been a number of ‘transition regret’ stories in both Australian and international media.

On Sunday, Sky News Australia’s/ Win’s Outsiders had Walter Heyer on, a man who claimed identified as trans, but then wanted to transition back to male. The hosts of Outsiders and Andrew Bolt have really lapped up Heyer’s story and others like it.

Other media outlets, including Christian Concern, Daily Telegraph and USA Today have all published stories on people who apparently regret their transition and have worked to get their original sex back.

Is this the new ‘ex – gay’ movement

Are there some people who originally identify as trans, then realise they’re actually cis – gender? Maybe.

Let me clear, if someone originally identifies as trans and then realise they’re not, then that’s fine.

However, what I’m hearing and reading does concern me. I fear that the de -transitioning movement that will force trans/ gender non – conforming people to be something they’re not.

I can hear elements of ‘conversion therapy‘ language in these ‘testimonies’. Using early childhood (usually sexual) trauma as the reason for a person’s identity was very common at the height of the ex – gay movement.

Deliberate misuse of terms and using, frankly, unlikely stories have been used in the ex – gay and de – transitioning movements. For example, gender dysphoria (which is what many transgender people go through) and disassociate identity disorder (DID) have been conflated.

One unlikely story I’ve heard is a de – transitioned’ man who ‘felt’ he was a trans – woman after his wife died. He ‘felt’ that way in order to be closer to her. While some may realise they’re trans or gender non conforming later in life, I think that’ll be the exception, rather than the rule.

According to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, children begin expressing their gender between two and three. Even transgender people that I’ve heard about who have transitioned much older realised their gender identity as children, not after becoming widowed.

Even if some of these stories about de – transitioning do turn out to be true, I don’t want these stories to be used to give false hope to young people who are questioning their gender or do know they are trans. I don’t want them to be left feeling they should change how they feel, then fail and feel hopeless.. As seen in conversion therapy, this cycle only exacerbates the high suicide rates of LGBTQ+ people.

What the media needs to do

I believe the media has a major responsibility in this. Misreporting and fear mongering about transgender/ gender non – conforming people needs to stop.

De – transition stories need to be told with caution. They should not be used to pressure transpeople to be someone they know they’re not. I’m not exaggerating when I say lives are at stake.

LGBTQ+ people do not need more discrimination. They don’t need more misrepresentation. And they certainly don’t need to be told that who they are is wrong and needs to change. Too many lives have been destroyed.

What do you think about the wave of ‘transition regret’ stories in the media? Helpful or harmful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Media

Does the ABC’s new site make it harder for independent bloggers?

ABC studio entrance
Image: iStock

The ABC has another site, ABC Life.

The site covers a number of topics: food, family, work and well – being to name a few.

Reading some of the articles, I think they are generally well – written, even if some are politically correct.

Where does this leave independent media?

ABC is obviously trying to get into the lifestyle/ culture media space; genres that, a number of other outlets in Australia has failed to launch; such as  women’s website, The Hoopla or recently folded, such as Cleo and Cosmopolitan Australia.

If the ABC is filling the void that collapsed media companies left, then where does that leave future independent media outlets in Australia? Considering the ABC is arguably Australia’s largest media company, where dooes that lead other media?

Mainstream media dominating social media

ABC Life also has already got a social media presence, including a YouTube channel. This is their right, I guess. But I do feel uneasy about it. Even though their current subscriber count is modest, I fear they could potentially overshadow independent creators.

Earlier this year, YouTube political commentators Kyle Kulinski (The Kyle Kulinski Show/ Secular Talk) and David Pakman (The David Pakman Show) accused YouTube for prioritising mainstream media outlets over independent ones. The Google algorithms made media companies like CNN and MSNBC favoured as recommendations for viewers. This has negatively affected view counts of videos from independent commentators like Kulinski and Pakman. Will the ABC further have a similar negative effect? I hope not.

I’m not saying the ABC or any other mainstream media outlet can’t have a YouTube channel, but not at the expense of killing independent content creators.

The blog/ website landscape

Naturally, this is where my concern is. How can independent bloggers compete with the ABC? We can’t. One bonus, I guess, is that the ABC doesn’t rely on advertisers like commercial or independent media.

Will it affect other bloggers’ ability to gain traffic and trust from readers? Maybe. Despite the criticisms that ABC frequently received, I think it’s still a fairly trusted company across the country. I know that people in rural towns often get news from their radio stations.

On a positive note, I’ll have more to write about and critique on here. Hopefully I will. Watch this space!

Independent writers/ content creators need to maintain high standards

I think the ABC Life potentially overcrowds an already overcrowded market. Independent bloggers and YouTubers will have to work hard in not just creating content, but also in advertising it.

I guess if we can’t beat the ABC and mainstream commercial media, we have to join them. We, as independent writers/ content creators need to maintain high standards in our work. And just cross our fingers that we’ll get readers/ viewers who are willing to support our work.

 

What do you think about mainstream media outlets extending to online? Do you think it makes it harder for independent content creators? 

Also, have you looked at ABC Life? What are your thoughts on their posts? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Media

Gillette ad controversy: is the media and social media trustworthy?

U.S. razor company, Gillette, caused a furore last month for their viral ad ‘The Best Men Can Be’.

If social and traditional media was anything to go by, this was an outrage. They were attacking boys and men — their primary consumers. This was #MeToo on steroids.

Hashtag #boycottgillette trended on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/socalsnowbrdr/status/1095811379741642752?s=21


 

So you’d assume that the ‘anti masculinity’ campaign would destroy Gillette. Well, no. Apparently, the campaign was actually positive.

Many U.S. consumers applauded the campaign

According to Upworthy, two studies showed that most consumers looked favourably on the campaign.

Data collected by Morning Consult found that more consumers believed that Gillette shared their values than before the campaign (42% before, 71% after). 65%of study respondents said they were more likely to buy Gilette products since the campaign.

Over four fifths (84%) of women and more than three quarters (77%) of men were either in favour or felt neutral towards the campaign. Data from Ace Metrics produced similar results.

Is the media and social media out of touch?

I am always careful when it comes to studies, especially on social issues. Too often, so – called ‘studies’ are conducted purely to confirm one’s own biases.

I don’t know the sample size of the Morning Consult study. I am also not familiar with Ace Metrics.

But, lets assume for a moment that both sets of data are a fair representation of Americans’ overall attitudes toward Gillette.That means traditional and social media did not represent mainstream public opinion. And maybe it’s not the only time.

Traditional media still a major source of news for the public

I’ve heard that U.S cable networks such as CNN and Fox are losing loyalty among the public. Meanwhile, independent news sources, including YouTube channels are rising in popularity.

Australians, too,  seem to also have little faith in the media.

A Roy Morgan study showed that journalists are generally not trusted by the public. Inaccuracies left uncorrected and biases were two major criticisms. Out of radio, TV and print news, most people surveyed, (66% for national news, 56% for world news) gained their news from TV. Print media gained the most negative responses.

Social media also deemed untrustworthy

While traditional media has its critics, social media hasn’t faired well, either. 2018 saw a backlash against social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

According to Reuters Institute, Digital News Report found that social media was facing a worldwide decline in both popularity and trust, with the U.S. leading the charge. News item were also not shared on social media as frequently as it used to

Apps such as WhatsApp and email news services are rising in popularity. However, many reported being annoyed at being bombarded with emails and notifications.

Personally, I’ve gotten increasingly annoyed by the number of statuses and ‘news’ articles that turned out to be hoaxes or just untrue. It’s made me cynical about sharing anything and now I mostly ignore a lot of articles I see posted.

I’ve also found that so much on Facebook is heavily biased, often veering to one extreme on the political/ ideological spectrum. People are often hard Left or hard conservative, with very few willing to look at multiple sides to an issue. Look, people can publish what they want. I’d just advise viewers to be wary of articles that are posted. If you read it, Google it and see if the article is factual. Many times, they aren’t.

 

Social and traditional media have issues with trust. To mainstream journalists, no offence, but pull your head in. Your viewers/ readers/ listeners deserve the truth, not just political propaganda.

What did you think of the Gillette ad and do you have any news outlets you particularly like? Let me know in the comments

 

 

 

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Media

‘White’ magazine closes after same – sex backlash: bullying or free market?

 

Australian wedding magazine, White announced that it’s ending production after twelve years. Creators Luke and Carla Burrell claimed that the magazine was no longer ‘economically viable’.

A number of wedding businesses pulled their support for the magazine after it was revealed in August that the Burrells were  deliberately excluding submissions from same – sex couples. There have beeen some reports that advertisers caved after a social media campaign turned nasty.

I am vehement when it comes to bullying. Nobody deserves it and it should always be condemned. However, reading articles on this story, it’s hard to tell for certainty whether advertisers boycotted White due to intimidation, or, rather it was in disagreement with the Burrels choosing not to feature same – sex couples in their publication. If it is the latter, then, the advertisers should have that right

One of the arguments used for the loosening of anti – discrimination protections against LGBTQ+ people is the free market. If a business refuses to cater for a gay wedding, for example, then word would get around and there may be a backlash against the business, hence, reducing their revenue and putting the survival of the business in jeopardy. Well, depending on the real reason for the advertiser boycotts,  it seems possible that’s what happened to White. Businesses pulled their support for White because of vehement disagreement with the Burrells on same – sex marriage and/ or not making their stance public. If this is the case, isn’t that what a part of being a free market is all about? Aren’t businesses (and advertisers), allowed to run in a way that suits their conscience?

Also, should businesses be able to operate in a way that satisfies their consumer base? Again, I do not condone bullying, threats or intimidation of any sort. But, what if a social media campaign isn’t vicious, but a businesses bottom line could be affected, can a business adjust, Or, at least reevaluate their values to make sure that customers are willing to support them? True, it may be the only reason why a business may support a particular cause, like Nike supporting former NFL player, Colin Kaepernick. Do companies and advertisers have a right to do this or not?

Also, as I’ve written on a number of times, magazines are becoming a shaky industry in Australia. Since 2016, Bauer Media has stopped the production of three major magazines: Dolly, Cosmopolitan Australia and Cleo. Could it be possible that print magazines became shaky for White, too?

 

One last thing, I really don’t think the White magazine controversy is a part of a ‘gay agenda’ (I hate that conspiracy!). It was a company that decided on, what turned out to be, an unprofitable venture (and possibly format given the ever collapsing of the print media industry), and the Burrells saw no option but to close. While it is a shame (I do feel for media companies have to close or journalists, photographers, etc who lose their jobs), it is a) the way much of the media in this country is going and b) exclusivity may not be a good business value to build on. Maybe since last year, Australia has moved in another direction.

 

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Media

Magazine ‘Cosmopolitan Australia’ is stopping production at the end of year

Collage of fou4 issues of Cosmopolitan Australia
Four issues of a revolution in women’s media about to come to an end

After forty – five years, Cosmopolitan Australia is set to close it’s doors. CEO of  Bauer Media, Paul Dykzeul released a statement confirming the closure, stating “commercial viability is no longer stable for magazines”.

This is the third magazine that Bauer Media has stopped producing, with Dolly having stopped the production of it’s paper magazine in 2016 and Cleo also ended print editions the same year.

What’s going on?

I’ve written before how I find it disheartening that women’s media is slowly collapsing. Not only have I felt it as a consumer on and off for fiften years, but it has also made me wonder about the future as a female content creator.

Frankly, I find the reasoning questionable. Newscorp, Fairfax and other media outlets around the world have been able to transfer their content online and create a paid subscription service. I’ve also seen a number of Cosmopolitan companies producing apps for women with a small subscription fee (you can also buy single editions of different magazines from around the world).

So, why couldn’t Cosmopolitan Australia, Cleo and Dolly just go digital and have subscribers pay a fee per month?

Now I get it. I think paid subscription services, especially for independent, little  – known media companies is risky and, frankly, I don’t think it’s always viable. But, for newspapers and magazines like Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Cosmopolitan, Dolly and Cleo; products that have been consumed and trusted for decades, why can’t they transfer to digital and remain in business?

Is women’s media just not profitable?

When Cosmopolitan started by author of Sex and the Single Girl, Helen Gurley Brown, it was revolutionary. The idea that women didn’t have to be married to own their sexuality. However, Gurley Brown was accused of spreading the message that women needed a man and playing down sexual harassment.

Yet, her product worked. For generations, women were informed and entertained by articles that thousands, if not millions of women could relate to. Also, Cosmopolitan evolved, and they were instrumental in campaigning for same – sex marriage last year.

They have explored same – sex relationships and fluid sexuality.  However, I have asked whether they’re approach helped or hindered campaign towards LGBTQ+ rights.

img_0102

Has women’s media hit a dead – end?

Is it possible that women’s media is just not needed anymore? Are women just sick of reading the same relationship advice, same old sex advice, etc? Over the years, I know I have been. While I do appreciate some of what magazines like Cosmopolitan Australia, Cleo and Dolly have done for me and countless other women, it got to the point, where, frankly, they were monotonous. It was the same old, same old: same relationship advice, same fashion advice, same… advertisements. Like Cleo before it, Cosmopolitan Australia ended up lacking on high – quality articles that made me a fan of them in the first place.

 

So, where does it leave women’s media, regardless of it’s format? Personally, I want high – quality articles and commentary. I want to read about people’s first – hand experiences and things they’ve overcome. I want commentary that is well written and offers a strong argument for or against an issue (or a fair, well – written piece featuring both sides of an argument).

I want media that doesn’t make women feel like they need more to be enough, (which, ironically, was the business model that made Cosmopolitan a successful brand for nearly fifty years).

I want health to be promoted, rather than the debate on size, not the dangerous extremes. I want articles that focus on exercises that most people can do without too much trouble. And recipes that are easy and stuff that most people would actually eat. I also want LGBTQ+ and people of colour represented without being a gimmick.

 

The end of an era in women’s media is coming. But surely women’s media itself doesn’t have to. Maybe the format… and content of women’s media in the future will just have to evolve.

Have you been reading Cosmopolitan (Australian or otherwise)? What did you get out of it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Media

LGBTQ+ rights conflated with paedophilia… again

Article from Humans are free accusing the UN of 'normalising pedophilia'

When will people get it?

Far – right and allegedly conspiracy theorist website, Humans are free have accused the UN of normalising pedophilia and legitimising sexual abuse. What gave them that idea? Let’s pause for a moment and let’s see if you can guess…

Yep! Humans are free are accusing the UN for legitimising pedophilia because of their fights for LGBTQ+ rights and condemnation anti – LGBTQ+ violence around the world. The article also alluded to transgender people being able to use public toilets that align with their gender identity being a risk to children.

Arguably, the UN could be accused of hypocrisy, considering that LGBTQ+ people can be executed in countries like Saudi Arabia, a member of the UNHRC. And many dictatorial regimes also condemn LGBTQ+ people. But what I object to is the never – ending linking of LGBTQ+ people and pedophilia. No, most LGBTQ+ people don’t have an attraction to children! While people in the 1970’s and 1980’s  claimed there was a link between gay men and child abuse, ‘studies’ used to support these claims have been debunked.

Pro LGBTQ+ organisations have repeatedly condemned the notion that they want to legitimise and condone pedophilia. Two of the latest examples that I’ve come across of far – right activists trying to smear LGBTQ+ people is the (false) news that Minor Attracted Persons (MAPs) have a pride flag and are accepted by the LGBTQ+ community. This caused  outrage on social media from members of the LGBTQ+ community. They vehemently deny any link or any acceptance from the LGBTQ+ community. and from a year ago, the myth of ‘clovergender’; when someone allegedly identifies as a person younger than they are in a bid to get close to and assault children. This, too, has proven to be false.

Why this is important?

Frankly, I almost class these accusations as a form of slander. If these accusations were aimed at another group, including Christians, there would be an outcry. Why do LGBTQ+ people have to put up with these claims again, again and again?

It’s no surprise that stigma and discrimination can harm a person in multiple ways. It can affect a person’s mental health, ability to work and their ability to form healthy romantic and non – romantic relationships.

Studies in the US have found that in many of the major cities, LGBTQ+ people make up nearly half (40%) of youth homelessness. This is despite the fact that they make up less than 10% of the population. There is also the studies worldwide that claim that LGBTQ+ people have higher rates of mental health issues and suicide. I have written about these many times before. This, no doubt, would put strain on the mental health system, including phone counseling services. But that’s not all.

The World Economic Forum argues that stigma also affects workplaces and national economies, with results in loss of productivity and higher rates of unemployment and poverty.

The New York Times

The article also accuses US newspaper/ online publication, New York Times for stating that pedophilia should not be a crime. What the article actually says is not that simple.

Associate Professor, Margo Kaplan wrote that pedophilia should be seen as a mental disorder. That is, the sexual attraction to children should be treated like any mental disorder (to Kaplan’s credit, she didn’t say ‘sexual orientation’). Kaplan argued that this will prevent child sexual abuse by pedophiles.

She also claimed that pedophiles should be protected under anti – discrimination law. Again, she argues that this will help prevent offending. Like other disability exemptions in US disability/ mental illness anti – discrimination acts, schools would be able to discriminate against a person who has attraction to minors.

Kaplan also lamented at the fact that most pedophiles are only offered rehabilitation in the aftermath of a a sexual offence (or a number of offences) against children have already being committed. She believes early intervention can help prevent some of these crimes. Needless to say, this has NOTHING to do with the LGBTQ+ community.

 

I will continue writing posts about this when I feel I need to. These smears need to be dealt with and stopped. Enough’s enough.

 

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Media Uncategorized

Being comfortable is one thing. But, obesity is always unhealthy

Screenshot of Cosmopolitan UK magazine (October 2018) featuring Tess Holliday
Cosmopolitan UK causes controversy by featuring ‘plus – size’ model, Tess Holliday.

 

Cosmopolitan UK caused outrage when they featured plus – size model, Tess Holliday. It sparked condemnation both within and outside the UK, with journalist, Pierce Morgan and Herald Sun’s Rita Panahi using social media to criticise the women’s magazine.

According to The Sun, the model is 5 ft 5 (165.1 cm) and 20 stone and 6 pounds (approximately 131.8 kg). This makes Holliday clinically obese.

That is not healthy, no matter how you sugar coat it (no pun intended).

It’s no secret that being overweight affects a person’s health. It can cause heart disease, put a person at higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes and increases a person’s risk of other diseases.

In women in particular, being overweight or obese can impact fertility. Being overweight can cause Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which can throw the menstrual cycle out of whack. Some damage can be reversed by losing even a small amount of weight.

 

Over the years, there has been an understandable backlash against media and modeling industries for creating unhealthy ideals and expectations put on the public and models. In 2015, Vogue US reported that former model Charli Howard used Facebook to compose an open letter attacking her former agency for unrealistic expectations on both male and female models.

 

Things are also changing at the top level. Some governments in Europe have legislated standards that the modelling and media industries have to abide by. Last year in France, a law was introduced for modelling agencies to require potential models provide a  medical certificate proving that they are healthy, including at a healthy weight using the Body Mass Index (BMI). Magazines are also required to notify the readers when a photo has been altered. Similar legislation has been introduced in Spain and Italy (minus the BMI requirements).

Some models and modelling agencies are making positive moves and starting to promote body diversity. According to National Eating Disorders Foundation, models and fashion shows, such as New York Fashion Week are starting to encourage agencies promote health and diversity in their models.

More models have also hit back at agencies and events that demand unhealthy ideals. Arna Yr Jonsdottir, who was crowned Miss Iceland, openly condemned the pageant on social media after she was told to lose weight in order to make it in the competition. She refuted the requests by claiming in English that her body was already ‘perfect’.

 

So, is there even any need for ‘body positivity’ anymore? Even though a lot has happened, I’d still say ‘yes’. There’ll probably always will be. But people turning a blind eye to the health detriments of being overweight or obese is not the way to go. Only promoting physical health, mental health, and self – love will do that. That includes getting real about one’s weight and the health problems that are heightened because of it will do that.

If you have any concerns about you or your loved ones in regard to eating disorders, you can contact Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673 for referrals and brief counselling sessions. 

For those from overseas, you know what you can do. Drop any links or contact information about eating disorder or counselling services in your country/ area.

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Media Social media

Free speech, the media and social media: Should all platforms be absolutist on content they allow or publish?

(From top left): Instagram icon, Twitter, Facebook, PInterest
Display created via Canva

 

 

Controversial right – wing radio presenter and conspiracy theorist of Infowars, Alex Jones has reportedly been banned from Faceboook and YouTube. Apparently some of his podcasts have also been pulled by Apple and Spotify.

Jones is infamous for calling 2012’s Sandy Hook school massacre a hoax and claiming that the September 11 attacks were staged.

Facebook has defended it’s decision, accusing Jones of ‘glorifying violence’, and using ‘dehumanising language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants’.

Somewhat surprisingly, Twitter hasn’t followed YouTube’s and Facebook’s footsteps. Jones’ official Twitter account is still active.

Social media, traditional media and free speech

Did Facebook and Google/ YouTube violate freedom of speech as protected in the US Constitution? No. The First Amendment of the US Constitution:

…protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference.  (emphasis mine).

The First Amendment of the US Constitution specifically prohibits any government restricting any US citizen’s right to freedom of expression and also prohibits the US government from creating a theocracy and allow citizens freed9m to make up their own minds about belief. It also protects freedom of association. This doesn’t mean that companies like Google/ YouTube and Facebook can’t set standards on what can and can’t be uploaded or published on those platforms. I believe that media and social media platforms have the right to protect their brand by not allowing what they consider extremism, advocating for jihad, etc.

I’m going to talk about this by referring back to the Sky News Australia controversy last Sunday, when far – Right extremist, Blair Cottrell was given free reign on The Adam Giles’ Show. Sky News Australia’s decision to allow Cottrell to express extremist views largely unchallenged caused some brands such as Specsavers and Huggies to pull their sponsorship in revolt, despite condemnation from presenters such as Andrew Bolt, Laura Jayes and David Speers and the regret expressed by the – then Sky News Australia News Director, Greg Byrnes.

This is why, while I do get the arguments for a lack of restrictions in free speech in the legal sense, I also support the right for companies, especially in the media and social media, to maintain certain standards and limits on what can be said on their programs and platforms. What they allow, I believe, can affect their branding, either positively or negatively.

However, I do think companies like Facebook and YouTube should be consistent. Facebook in particular has come under fire in the past for allegedly silencing conservative posts, while not deleting antisemitic or other hate comments, posts or pages. They have also come under fire for allowing violent or sexual content that should be prohibited in their Community Standards, while deleting images of women breastfeeding their babies. Consistency needs to be key.

Should a platform simply ban speech because of clashing political views? Well, I argue again, that legally, there’s nothing stopping them, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Last year during the same – sex marriage debate in Australia, Facebook was attacked for pulling down posts and disabling the account of one of the founders of FamilyVoice Australia. This, in my view, was a stupid move by Facebook. They reversed the decision after presenters from Sky News Australia confronted them about it. To my knowledge, after that, all the original content was put back and all associated accounts were active.

Bloggers and moderators of news sites such as news.com.au, Herald Sun, and Mamamia should maintain the freedom to accept or reject any comments that they see fit. Arguably, this may be seen as limiting debate, but, honestly, it should be the moderators’ or creators’ prerogative. They do have a product and reputation to maintain.

To me, it boils down to this: while people shouldn’t be prosecuted for what they say (apart from libel or death threats), they should still be held accountable, at least in the public square. Not every opinion needs to be tolerated or given a platform, especially if an extremist view goes unchallenged.

What do you think of Google/ YouTube and Facebook’s decision to suspend Alex Jones from their platforms? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Disclaimer:

In my blog post about Sky News Australia, I said that Newscorp owned Win and Ten. I was wrong. Ten was bought by US’s CBS late last year. If I remember correctly, when Ten started getting into financial trouble, there was talk about Murdoch/ Newscorp buying and trying to rescue it, but CBS bet them to it. Win is owned by Bruce Gordon. Their parent company is Oberon Broadcasters Pty Ltd.

Update: 

Here is a contrary view of what I said about the Alex Jones controversy. Sticking to his principles, Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski slammed Facebook’s, Google and the other platforms for de – platforming Jones.

I think Kulinski has a point, however, I can’t help but think that social media and media should be able to preserve their commercial reputation and limit the people who breach their standards, given that they are consistent. I’m not sure. I’d really like to know what you all think about this.