Roundup: David Anderson reappointment, GOP debate, Gil McLachlan

ABC david anderson and ita buttrose

Counter-terror laws, Evan Gershkovich, Screen Australia funding, Candidates to lead CNN

Business of Media

Labor’s counter-terror laws may stifle ‘political dissent’, Law Council warns

Australia’s peak body for lawyers has joined civil liberty groups, journalists and advocacy groups to sound the alarm on proposed laws to criminalise the accessing of violent extremist material, saying the new powers are unnecessary and may inadvertently interfere with “legitimate matters of political dissent or struggle”, reports The Guardian’s Christopher Knaus.

The federal government is seeking to expand counter-terror powers by introducing new offences for possessing or controlling violent extremist material using a carriage service.

The purpose is to address what the government says is a gap in current law, which it says only criminalises the accessing of such material if it is done in connection with a planned terrorist act.

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Russians request extension of detention of jailed WSJ reporter

Russian authorities have requested an extension of the pretrial detention of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter deemed by the U.S. to be wrongfully held in Russia, report The Wall Street Journal’s Kate Vtorygina and Ann M. Simmons.

Gershkovich, a 31-year-old U.S. citizen, was detained by agents from the Federal Security Service, or FSB, while on a reporting trip in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on March 29. He is being held on an allegation of espionage that he, the Journal and the U.S. government vehemently deny.

His pretrial detention was initially set to expire on May 29, but was prolonged to Aug. 30 following an earlier request from the FSB.

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Industry businesses receive Screen Australia funding

Screen Australia has announced over $4.6 million in funding for 18 Enterprise People opportunities and 15 Enterprise Business proposals, reports TV Tonight.

Each Enterprise recipient has been paired with a personalised creative and strategic business mentor to provide dedicated highly-specialised advice.

All recipients will receive exclusive access to a comprehensive 12-month education program facilitated by industry stakeholders, including 113 Partners, Screen Producers Australia, Australian Directors Guild, Australian Writers’ Guild and Australians in Film.

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News Brands

ABC secrecy on boss’s contract extension raises disclosure concerns

The federal opposition has slammed the secrecy surrounding the ABC’s decision to reappoint managing director David Anderson to a new five-year term, saying the delay in announcing the news raised questions for the government about transparency, report Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan and James Massola.

Opposition communications spokesman David Coleman questioned the handling of Anderson’s reappointment after this masthead revealed on Wednesday that the government approved the proposal to renew the managing director’s contract in April but had not made it public.

“Why has this crucial appointment been kept secret for more than four months?” Coleman said on Thursday. “[Communications Minister] Michelle Rowland has serious questions to answer here.”

He said a similar lack of disclosure at a public company would be in “clear breach” of legal obligations.

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Mark Thompson, former New York Times CEO, among candidates to lead CNN

Mark Thompson, a former top executive at The New York Times and the BBC, is one of several people in talks to lead CNN, according to three people with knowledge of the recruitment process, report The New York Times’ Benjamin Mullin and John Koblin.

It is unclear how far along the talks are with Thompson and the other candidates. But the discussions suggest that David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, the network’s parent, is looking for someone outside of the group of executives that has been leading the company since he fired Chris Licht as chairman in June.

Thompson declined to comment. A representative for Warner Bros. Discovery also declined to comment. Semafor earlier reported CNN’s interest in MThompson.

Since Licht’s departure, CNN has been run by four people, three of whom — Amy Entelis, Virginia Moseley and Eric Sherling — are CNN veterans. The fourth, the CNN chief operating officer David Leavy, has been a longtime lieutenant to Zaslav, and was appointed shortly before Licht’s dismissal.

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GOP debate draws 12.8 million US viewers

The first Republican debate on Wednesday night drew an audience of 12.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen, indicating robust interest despite the absence of former President Donald J. Trump, the front-runner in the race, reports The New York Times’ John Koblin.

The viewership figure, which includes totals from both Fox News (11.1 million viewers) and the Fox Business Network (1.7 million), was significantly higher than anything else on television on Wednesday night, and outperformed the broadcast network totals combined. It was also the most-watched cable telecast of the year outside of sports, surpassing an episode of Paramount’s Yellowstone, which had 8.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

The audience total, however, is a far cry from the record 24 million viewers who tuned in to Fox News for the opening Republican debate in the 2016 election cycle, which featured  Trump on a debate stage for the first time. Nor did it reach the 18.1 million who watched one of the early Democratic debates in June 2019.

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Sports Media

Gil McLachlan wins some. You lose more

It took a bad umpiring decision for Gil McLachlan to face cameras and remind everyone this week he was still the AFL’s CEO. It can be hard to keep track. His tearjerker retirement announcement was two Aprils ago, reports Nine Publishing’s Mark Di Stefano.

Still, McLachlan rolled into a suburban dog park on Sunday morning to apologise for the missed goal that effectively ended the Adelaide Crows’ chances of making the finals.

In April this year, McLachlan appeared before the parliamentary inquiry into online gambling, via video link alongside his NRL counterpart Andrew Abdo.

McLachlan put in a shift. We take our community responsibility “very seriously”. There are too many ads, we’re listening. We have a multimillion- dollar sponsorship deal with foreign-owned Sportsbet for … wait for it … “the integrity of the game”. Mwah, chef’s kiss.

That performance was five months ago. At the AFL, precisely nothing has changed.

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