Roundup: Russia bans Facebook and Instagram, ACMA report + more

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• Plus Tegan George takes legal action, Amelia Adams, ABC awaits news boss, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sunrise, Tony Armstrong

Business of Media

Russia bans Facebook and Instagram under ‘extremism’ law

A Russian court has banned Facebook and Instagram in the country, labelling its parent company Meta as “extremist” amid the Kremlin’s sweeping crackdown on western social media giants, reports The Guardian’s Pjotr Sauer.

Access to Facebook and Instagram had already been restricted earlier this month after Meta confirmed it was relaxing its policies on hate speech towards Russian soldiers and Vladimir Putin in relation to the country’s war in Ukraine. Meta later said the laxer rules would only apply to people posting from inside Ukraine.

The court in Moscow said that Facebook and Instagram – both of which are widely used among Russians – were “carrying out extremist activities”. But it said that Meta’s WhatsApp messenger service would not be prohibited because it “was means of communication, not a source of information”.

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Ten political journalist Tegan George takes action in Australian Human Rights Commission alleging sex discrimination

Network Ten political reporter Tegan George is taking further action against her employer to the Australian Human Rights Commission, alleging sex discrimination at her workplace, reports News Corp’s Sophie Elsworth.

In a Federal Court hearing on Monday before Justice Judith Katzmann, George’s lawyer Siobhan Kelly said her client was in “hospital at the moment seeking medical treatment” and was open to mediation with the commercial network.

The action taken in the AHRC is a mandatory legal step that must be made for George to continue her action against her employer in the Federal Court.

Ten has denied bullying claims by George and last month described many of her allegations as “vague and embarrassing and liable to be struck out”.

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Digital code of conduct fails to stop all harms of misinformation, ACMA warns

The code of conduct adopted by digital platforms, including Facebook and Google, is “too narrow” to prevent all the harms of misinformation and disinformation, Australia’s media regulator has warned, reports The Guardian’s Paul Karp.

The requirement that harm from social media posts must be both “serious” and “imminent” before tech companies take action has allowed longer term “chronic harms” including vaccine misinformation and the erosion of democracy, according to the Australian Communication and Media Authority.

The Morrison government released ACMA’s June 2021 report on the misinformation and disinformation code on Monday, promising to help boost the regulator’s power to demand information from digital platforms and give it reserve powers to create new rules for the industry.

ACMA found that 82% of Australians report having seen Covid-19 misinformation over the past 18 months, warning that “falsehoods and conspiracies” online had undermined Australia’s public health response. Some 22% reported seeing “a lot” of misinformation online, with younger Australians most at risk.

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Aussie journo Amelia Adams hits back after ‘troll’ shames her over Ukraine gig

“Good morning to everyone except the Twitter trolls.”That was the message on Monday from Australian journalist Amelia Adams as she juggles war reporting from Ukraine with criticism from strangers on social media, reports

Adams, who is in Ukraine with Nine News to cover the Russian invasion, shared a devastating photograph from Lviv on Friday.

The photograph showed 109 prams in Lviv Square — one for every Ukrainian child killed in the war.

It was a powerful message, but one anonymous troll decided to take a personal dig at the foreign correspondent in the comments.

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News Brands

Rudderless or taking time? Key decisions mount as ABC awaits news boss

The ABC is expected to announce its new director of news within three weeks, more than six months after Gaven Morris first signalled to senior management his intention to leave the post, reports SMH’s Karl Quinn.

The role is vitally important, with war in Ukraine raging, a federal budget and election imminent, and the recently announced departure of senior on-and-off camera staff.

Among the first jobs the new news director will have to tackle is finding replacements for two high-profile positions. In February, Leigh Sales announced she was leaving 7.30 after 12 years in the host’s chair. In mid-March, Sally Neighbour revealed she was stepping down as executive producer of Four Corners after seven years in the role. Both are expected to depart mid-year.

The critical news director role has been up for grabs since October 7, when Morris announced he would not seek to extend his contract after six years in the job. But ABC sources, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, say senior management was aware of Morris’ decision some time before then.

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Saatchi & Saatchi appointed as creative agency for Médecins Sans Frontières

Saatchi & Saatchi Australia has been appointed lead creative agency of Médecins Sans Frontières Australia (MSFA), or Doctors Without Borders.

The agency will work alongside fellow Publicis Groupe agency, Digitas, which will handle the digital and customer experience requirements for MSF in Australia and New Zealand.

General manager of Saatchi & Saatchi, Toby Aldred said: “We feel extremely honoured to have been entrusted to help Médecins Sans Frontièreswith its important work.

“Throughout the process, we have been inspired every step of the way by the entire MSF team and the passion with which they talk about their organisation and the people they help. Together, we look forward to doing great things.”

Saatchi & Saatchi

Lachlan James, chief strategy officer of Digitas, said: “It feels that the incredible work that Médecins Sans Frontières do has never been so relevant and critical, whilst the environment they operate in is increasingly complex.

“Digitas is delighted to partner with MSF to help them break through that complexity, to drive the best possible impact and outcomes.”

Maryjane Aviles, director of engagement (CMO) at MSFA, said the organisation is eager to work with the newly appointed agencies.

“Now more than ever it is so critical that people can access the healthcare they deserve, from Ukraine to Afghanistan. We’re thrilled to be working with the Saatchi & Saatchi and Digitas teams to help take our work to the next level so we can achieve this vision of impartial healthcare,” she added.

Both agencies form part of the Publicis Groupe connected platform, the end to end model employed already by clients such as Westpac and The NRMA.

Both agencies form part of the Publicis Groupe connected platform. The end to end model that covers growth model covering media, creative, performance, PR, digital and business consultancy and is used by clients such as Westpac and NRMA.

Médecins Sans Frontières is an international medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency medical care to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, disasters, or who are excluded from healthcare.

They work independently from governments to offer assistance to people based on their needs, irrespective of their race, religion, gender, or political affiliation.


Sunrise co-hosts Natalie Barr and David Koch return after sick leave

The Sunrise morning show has returned to normal programming as co-hosts Natalie Barr and David “Kochie” Koch arrive back at work after both falling ill last week, reports News Corp’s Madeleine Achenza.

The pair made light of the unlucky timing of their respective illnesses that took them off screen, saying they had stayed in touch during their absence ave and competed over who was sicker.

Koch was sent into self-isolation last week after he tested positive for Covid-19, which he believes he may have caught while attending a Red Cross flood appeal on the evening of Saturday, March 12.

Barr took several rapid antigen tests that all returned negative but fell under the weather with a common head cold.

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Tony Armstrong, more at home in TV than in football

In just two short years Tony Armstrong has come from newcomer in television to hosting his own primetime series, A Dog’s World for ABC, reports TV Tonight.

But the former AFL footballer feels much more comfortable in front of the camera than on the football field.

“Football’s not my natural home, I don’t think. I wasn’t very good at it, unfortunately. That’s why I talk about it now instead of playing it. I really enjoyed football, but I think I’m better at this. I’ll continue to work hard and hopefully it all works out,” he tells TV Tonight.

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