Roundup: Doctor Doctor finale, Apple Daily, Spotify podcasts + more

Doctor Doctor

• Plus Ben Roberts-Smith trial, New Daily Press Council complaint, Annabel Crabb, ABC iview, Erin Molan, Big Brother finale

Business of Media

No ‘mafia-style’ threats: VC hero Ben Roberts-Smith

Ben Roberts-Smith has denied sending letters containing “mafia-style” threats to former soldiers, including one that said “you have one chance to save yourself”, in a tense day of cross-examination during his defamation case against Nine in which he was also accused of attempting to derail a war crimes inquiry, reports News Corp’s Kieran Gair.

On his ninth day in the witness box, Roberts-Smith also denied pouring petrol on his laptop and setting it alight in June 2018 after he was told by former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty that his conduct in Afghanistan was the subject of an “open” investigation into alleged war crimes.

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‘What happened will scare others’: Roberts-Smith denies intimidation

Ben Roberts-Smith texted his now ex-wife in December 2017 saying that “what happened to person 6 will scare the others”, a court heard on Wednesday, reports AFR’s Max Mason.

It was alleged that his message was related to efforts by Roberts-Smith to intimidate person 6, a former soldier, and warn others against speaking ill of him.

The court heard that on October 3, 2017, an anonymous email was sent to Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin with claims that person 6 possessed illegal weapons. On October 13, 2017, an anonymous email was sent to then senator Nick Xenophon, attaching the email to Commissioner Colvin.

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Bragg makes New Daily Press Council complaint

Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg has complained to the Press Council the online news site The New Daily is in breach of the media watchdog’s guidelines that require editorial independence from conflicts of interest, reports AFR’s Michael Roddan.

In a letter sent to Press Council chairman Neville Stevens, Senator Bragg said The New Daily and its owners had “actively campaigned” against the government’s Your Future, Your Super reforms, which passed parliament late last week.

“This has been part of a broader campaign to discredit the reforms, which has often entailed disseminating misleading and disingenuous information to the public,” Senator Bragg said.

The New Daily is owned by the industry superannuation sector’s collectively held company, Industry Super Holdings, and has received almost $30 million in equity injections from the super fund-owned holding company in recent years, including a $4 million injection in December.

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Christian Porter ‘a strange dude’: ABC star Annabel Crabb

High-profile ABC presenter Annabel Crabb described Christian Porter as a “strange dude” and allowed Four Corners to film a crucial interview in her home for a controversial episode about the former attorney-general’s alleged rape of a woman, newly released text messages reveal, reports News Corp’s James Madden and Sophie Elsworth.

In a series of WhatsApp messages exchanged last July between Crabb and Jo Dyer – a friend of the woman who claimed she was raped by Porter after a night out during a high school debating tournament in 1988 – Crabb praised Dyer for her efforts to “get some justice” for the alleged victim, who took her life in June 2020.

Despite describing her role in the Four Corners investigation as minimal, the exchanges appear to show Crabb raising the issue directly with Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, supporting Dyer after her interview and disparaging Porter. “What a strange dude (Porter) is. And how amazingly arrogant to think you can mistreat people and get away with it for ever,” Crabb wrote to Dyer in early July last year.

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News Brands

Hong Kong police arrest editorial writer at Apple Daily newspaper

The editorial writer for Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper has been arrested, the latest move in a media crackdown under the national security law that saw hundreds of police raid its newsroom and arrest senior figures last week, reports Guardian Australia’s Helen Davidson.

Police confirmed the arrest of a 55-year-old man in Tseung Kwan O on Wednesday morning, “on suspicion of conspiring to collude with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security”.

He was later identified by the pro-democracy Apple Daily as its lead opinion writer, who publishes under the name Li Ping.

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Apple Daily to stop publishing by Saturday

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily will stop operating no later than Saturday, its publisher, Next Digital, said on Wednesday after national security police arrested another employee of the besieged newspaper, reports Reuters.

The end of the popular 26-year-old tabloid, which mixes pro-democracy discourse with racy celebrity gossip and investigations of those in power, has escalated alarm over media freedom and other rights in the Chinese-ruled city.

In a statement on its website, Next Digital said the decision to close the newspaper, which employs about 600 journalists, was taken “due to the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong”. It said its website would no longer be accessible from just before midnight on Saturday.

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Viewers will be unable to stream ABC shows without a login from July

Logging in to watch television has cracked the final holdout. In July the ABC will make personal accounts mandatory for anyone who wants to use iview, the national broadcaster’s streaming platform, reports SMH’s Craig Mathieson.

For now, there is no set date for this hard border, as the ABC is trying to coax its viewing audience into signing up instead of cracking down on them, but at some point next month it will happen.

“We’re working towards mandatory in July, but it doesn’t mean July 1,” says Leisa Bacon, the ABC’s director of audiences. “We deliberately left it open because we want to take our audiences with us and take on board their feedback and iterate the experience. We’re working towards a later in July date, but at some point it will definitely happen.”

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Spotify now the podcast app to beat

For years, when someone asked for a podcasting app recommendation, I would answer Pocket Casts without hesitation, reports SMH’s Peter Wells.

Pocket Casts is an excellent app on both Android and iOS, works on the web, and has the perfect mix of features for both new users getting started and seasoned podcast professionals who want more control over their listening.

But over the last year Apple and Spotify have increased their focus on podcasts. Apple — the current leader in terms of listener numbers — redesigned its app to make the interface a little easier to navigate, puts new recommendations front and centre, and has introduced subscriptions to give dedicated fans an easy way to pay for premium content.

Spotify’s app is similarly slick, and some time last year the service finally added the ABC catalogue, bringing hit shows Coronacast, Conversations and China, If You’re Listening to the platform. It’s also working on a subscriptions platform.

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Erin Molan ‘embarrassed’ after vandals defaced her photo on the side of a bus

Erin Molan has been left “quite embarrassed” after someone defaced her image on the side of a bus in Sydney, reports News Corp’s Andrew Bucklow.

Molan, who co-hosts The Morning Crew on 2Day FM with Dave Hughes and Ed Kavalee, revealed on air this morning that a listener had sent them a photo of the vandalised bus.

“I thought someone had just drawn on the photo someone had taken of the bus … coloured in six of my teeth and given me a monobrow,” Molan said. (But it) turns out it’s on the actual bus!”

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Sydney restrictions to impact on Big Brother final

New restrictions have been announced for Greater Sydney which will impact on upcoming productions, reports TV Tonight.

The NSW govt has instructed a 50% capacity for venues and masks to be worn. Masks must be worn indoors at workplaces.

While Broadcasting does have exemptions to continue, the rules will impact on crowds attending events.

A Live Big Brother final is due at the Hordern Pavillion next Tuesday night. Thousands of fans have registered their interest for finale tickets. There are also various border rules in place set by Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, WA, Tas, and NT, which could make life tricky behind the scenes for some Big Brother cast (but it doesn’t rule them out attending, per see).

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Doctor Doctor cast: “We were lucky”

Doctor Doctor fans last night farewelled the Nine drama after 5 seasons, reports TV Tonight.

Ahead of the ending cast including Rodger Corser, Tina Bursill, Nicole da Silva, Ryan Johnson, Hayley McElhinney, and Chloe Bayliss reflected on the show’s 5 seasons.

Rodger Corser said, “Unlike a lot of other shows, we got to write to the ending, and we all knew what was coming. A lot of shows get taken off air and never get that sense of closure. We were lucky enough… it’s like the third act of rom-com.”

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