Roundup: Mark Zuckerberg, ACRAs finalists, Daryl Somers + more

acras ray hadley

• Defamation laws, MEAA, ABC pay cuts, Tucker Carlson, Kyle Sandilands, radio ratings, life after Billions, Bluey, NRL

Business of Media

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash pushes states to fix defamation laws after Voller verdict

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash is pushing the states to make urgent reforms to the nation’s defamation laws to reverse a High Court ruling that has exposed governments and publishers to legal action over the offensive ­social media comments of third parties, reports News Corp’s Richard Ferguson.

Senator Cash has written to the state and territory attorneys-general this week to urge them to take a nationally consistent ­approach to defamation reform, arguing the current laws are “not fit for purpose’’.

The High Court in September ruled publishers could be liable for defamatory posts posted by commentators on their social media pages – even ones they do not know are there – and opened the way for a complaint against major media organisations from former Northern Territory youth detainee Dylan Voller.

See More: High Court rules media outlets could be liable for Facebook comments
See More: CNN disables its Australian Facebook page in response to High Court ruling

Senator Cash warns that more needs to be done to balance free speech and “unfiltered” social media commentary in the digital age.

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Mark Zuckerberg hits back at Facebook whistleblower claims

Mark Zuckerberg has hit back at the testimony of the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, saying her claims the company puts profit over people’s safety are “just not true”, reports The Guardian’s Dan Milmo.

In a blogpost, the Facebook founder and chief executive addressed one of the most damaging statements in Haugen’s opening speech to US senators on Tuesday, that Facebook puts “astronomical profits before people”.

“At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritise profit over safety and wellbeing. That’s just not true,” he said.

He added: “The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content.”

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MEAA backs US union as strike looms over work conditions

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Allliance has backed US screen production union (IATSE) members after they voted to authorise strike action this week, reports TV Tonight.

A ‘yes’ vote of 89.7% of 53,411 International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees members has had the immediate effect of forcing the big Hollywood studios back to the bargaining table after they had ignored calls for change to the long hours culture and liveable and sustainable wages and benefits for crews.

A strike is not yet official but could now proceed, just as the sector seeks to recover from the pandemic shutdown.

[Read More]

News Brands

‘Egregiously unfair’: ABC staff threaten revolt over cuts to pay-boosting scheme

Journalists from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation are threatening strike action after management outlined plans to cut guaranteed pay for about 70 staff members following revelations of underpayment at the public broadcaster, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios, Nick Bonyhady and Lisa Visentin.

ABC management has proposed removing pay-boosting “buyouts” that some staff members receive, after giving eight weeks’ notice. The move comes after fresh revelations of underpayment at the ABC, with a review by accounting giant PwC finding staff members were paid incorrectly for their skill levels and others weren’t paid enough for loadings and allowances.

Buyouts are intended to be a mutually beneficial way for the broadcaster to pay staff doing long or unpredictable hours because they replace allowances, overtime and penalty rates with a higher base salary, usually about 25 per cent above normal levels, according to ABC sources.

However, the recent PWC review found some buyouts had left staff more than $10,000 worse off over a six-year period compared to their pay had they tallied up their hours.

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Fox News host Tucker Carlson rails against Australia’s ‘horrifying’ Covid restrictions

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has condemned Australia’s response to Covid as a “horrifying” attack on civil liberties which betrays the country’s reputation for “rugged individualism”, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

“To see your media, and most of your public officials, endorse policies that are just so destructive of basic civil liberties is so crazy, I mean with respect,” Carlson said on Wednesday. “It’s horrifying.”

The popular right-wing talkshow host, who broadcasts to an average 3 million people in the US on Tucker Carlson Tonight, made the remarks while launching journalist Sharri Markson’s book about the origins of Covid in an online event hosted by the Australian newspaper.

[Read More]


Radio star Kyle Sandilands bans NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet from his show

Radio star Kyle Sandilands has sensationally banned NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet from appearing on his show just a day after the new leader got the top job, reports News Corp’s Erin Lyons.

Sandilands made the bold call while he and co-host Jackie ‘O’ Henderson were speaking to a celebrity psychic on KIIS FM.

The trio were discussing concerns around the Premier’s conservative views, with psychic medium Georgina Walker calling him a “strong leader” before predicting it isn’t likely he will be popular.

During the segment Sandilands announced he didn’t like Mr Perrottet’s “vibe”.

“Oh this guy’s gotta go, he’s never allowed on the show guys, just so you know,” he told listeners.

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ACRAs: Ray Hadley a glaring omission from radio awards

Australia’s most celebrated radio host was a glaring omission in the 2021 Australian Commercial Radio Award (ACRA) nominations, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

2GB mornings host Ray Hadley says he didn’t enter the ACRAs this year and won’t in the future to give others a chance.

Hadley is the most awarded radio host in ACRA history with a total of 34 gongs, including a Hall of Fame nod in 2017.

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Melbourne radio hosts vying for Australian Commercial Radio Awards

Melbourne radio legend Ross Stevenson and his new sidekick Russel Howcroft will vie for the title of Best On-Air Metro AM Team in the prestigious Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs), reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Stevenson has been the dominant force in the Melbourne breakfast radio market for the past 30 years and was joined by Howcroft in August 2020 following the departure of John Burns.

The pair will compete with FIVEaa Breakfast hosts David Penberthy and Will Goodings, 2GB’s Continuous Call Team, and Laurel Edwards, Gary Clare and Mark Hine from 4KQ, Brisbane for the title.

In the battle for Best On-Air Metro FM Team, GOLD FM’s Christian O’Connell and Jack Post are taking on the HIT Network’s Carrie Bickmore and Tommy Little, Nova’s Kate Ritchie, Tim Blackwell and Joel Creasey, WSFM’s Brendan Jones and Amanda Keller, and Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson from KIIS FM in Sydney.

See More: Radio Awards finalists revealed: 200 broadcasters from AM & FM radio

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Sydney radio ratings: Ben Fordham tipped to beat ABC, Kyle and Jackie O

Ben Fordham is tipped to top the Sydney breakfast radio ratings on Thursday, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

With the sixth GFK ratings results released, the 2GB host is expected to again lead the market with Sydney-siders continuing to stick with talk stations during lockdown.

Fordham last survey came in with an impressive 16.8 per cent audience share, ahead of the ABC at 14 per cent.

Kyle and Jackie O, who were leaders in the fourth survey, came in with a 12.1 per cent share.

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Life after Billions: Damien Lewis to film BritBox series with Guy Pearce

For Billions fans watching the final episode of Season 5, it started to dawn on them that Axe might be stepping back from the series. A trailer for Season 6 without him all but confirmed it.

Now that it’s official, The Hollywood Reporter has news that Lewis has closed a deal and begun filming his follow-up role:

The actor will star alongside Guy Pearce in the BritBox/Spectrum Originals limited series A Spy Among Friends. The six-episode drama, which had been in the works for more than a year before deals for the project closed, started production this week in London and will also film in Romania.

Created by Alexander Cary, Spy is based on the New York Times best-selling book by Ben Macintyre. The series, produced by Sony Pictures TV and BritBox parent ITV Studios and Veritas Entertainment Group, revolves around the defection of a British intelligence officer and KGB double agent (Pearce, replacing Dominic West, who was originally in talks for the part) and his relationship with an MI6 friend and colleague (Lewis). The part will reunite Lewis with Cary, who previously collaborated on Showtime’s Homeland.

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Bluey creator honoured by Griffith University

It’s Australia’s favourite TV show and now Bluey’s creator Joe Brumm has been honoured for it by his alma mater, reports News Corp’s Phil Brown.

At the 2021 Griffith University Outstanding Alumni Awards Wednesday night at The Calile Hotel in Fortitude Valley Brumm was announced Outstanding Alumnus for 2021.

Griffith University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans, said Brumm, who is a Bachelor of Animation graduate, is “making a huge difference to the lives of children and families alike with the phenomenal success of his TV show Bluey”.

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Daryl: “I couldn’t have had a better mentor”

It’s easy to think of Hey Hey It’s Saturday as the madcap variety show with a buoyant host, feathered sidekick, international celebrities and amateur talent acts, reports TV Tonight.

Who could forget an out-of-control ducksuit, a heckling head-on-stick or a barrelful of frozen chickens?

For a generation of Australians, it was a Saturday night ritual, catching the show while dressing up for a big night out at Chasers or the local Blue Light Disco.

This Sunday on the retrospective Hey Hey It’s 50 Years, Daryl Somers will recall the show’s origins.

“I do pay my dues to Ernie Carroll. I couldn’t have had a better mentor for all the tea in China. He was wonderful and nurtured my career. I also give credit to Jim McKay Sr., who was the program manager at Channel Nine for many years. He was the man that started Hey Hey,” he tells TV Tonight.

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Sports Media

NRL scales back digital arm following broadcaster pressure

The National Rugby League has bowed to pressure from its media partners and decided to scale down its digital content arm in a move that is expected to result in several redundancies at the organisation, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.

The shift, led by the NRL’s recently appointed chief customer and digital officer Alexi Baker, is part of an ongoing effort to streamline operations at the NRL to save costs and better serve fans. But it will also be considered a win for the company’s two media partners – Nine Entertainment Co and News Corp Foxtel – which have long expressed frustration about the division and argue the NRL’s own website competes with their digital properties.

Staff at the NRL were informed about the change on Wednesday afternoon and about 10 redundancies are expected to take place over the next few weeks. Staff who appeared at the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they were not given the opportunity to ask questions.

[Read More]

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