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In the Australian media, the line between what the ‘public interest’ and what the public is ‘interested in’ is blurry, particularly with respect to the discussion of anything sexual or traditionally private. The ethics surrounding the dissemination of this information become hairier when we introduce the concept of utilitarianism and attempt to balance the public’s right to know with the right of individuals to their privacy. Journalists occupy a position in society that gives them the power to affect people’s lives with the information they release, and their actions are the result of their reasoning. If their reasoning is flawed and their loyalty to a particular group is stronger than their commitment to ethics, the consequences of their actions may be harmful to others.


Derryn Hinch at work on 3AW. Picture: Rob Baird


A topic which many consider to be a black and white issue is that of protecting the privacy of sex offenders. Most cultures around the world have an uncompromising position when it comes to the protection of their children. So entrenched is this in our society that the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) is heavily integrated into Australia’s legal system. But our society is comprised of many different individuals and their rights are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Often, in the pursuit of greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people, the rights of these individuals are forgotten or actively disregarded. Some would argue that in committing such a heinous crime, offenders have removed yourself from the same category of human and you are no longer entitled to these same rights. A case could be made that ‘the people’ no longer includes groups such as sex offenders. Acting in the interests of the ‘greatest amount of people’ would no longer come with the niggling reminder that the utilitarian principle is flawed.

It is reasoning similar to this that journalists might use to justify their actions. In 2011, Derryn Hinch was convicted of four counts of contempt of court after he breached a suppression order by broadcasting the names of four sex offenders before the final verdict. On his website www.HumanHeadline.com.au, he acknowledged he was well aware of what his actions might cost him, but said, “So when I ask the question: ‘Who’s looking after the children?’ you’ll be able to say…’ We’re trying to. We’re trying to’ .” [Hinch 2011] Hinch acted in contempt of court and instigated a trial by media. In Full Court, Judge Nicholson was willing to let it slide because of the time between Hinch’s influence and the final decision [Pearson and Polden 2011:103]. Susan Merrell says in her opinion article on The Drum [www.abc.net.au/unleashed], ‘No-one believes trial by media is fair play – all other things being equal. But, of course, they never are - are they?’ [Merrell 2011]

The different approaches to and outcomes of the situation indicate a difference in their reasoning. It begs the question of how the media, our supposedly objective free press, came to the decision they did. The Potter Box Model of reasoning is useful tool to help us locate where most misunderstandings occur [Christians et al 2005:3]. In a cycle, you observe the definition of the situation, the values you each hold on the topic, the principles these values stem from and finally, your loyalties and where they lie. The media as our fourth estate has a loyalty to the people in keeping the government honest and so is bound to act in their best interests. Their moral duty is to their clients, subscribers and supporters, not necessarily to society [Christians 2005:22-23].

It is important to note that it is our battle between top-down and bottom-up reasoning that causes these problems. We all reason that we act in accordance with the same principles, but our personal values lead us astray and we tend to view events on a case-by-case basis. Steven Cohen notes that our moral discussions tend to begin at a general point, not beginning with an ‘immediate reference to the most general, foundational principles’ [Cohen 2004:65]. But if we are to adhere as tightly to these principles as possible, we may find that in the interest of protecting everyone’s rights, we find no room to move to protect even some of them.

ETA: I will also add that Derryn Hinch's more recent 'name and shame' differs to this case. In the more recent April 2012 case, Hinch named a sex offender some years after he was convicted, not in the middle of a trial as with the 2011 case. In the 2012 case, the sex offender's name was suppressed by the courts post-trial. Hinch says the victim, a young woman, wanted justice. At this stage, was it more ethical for Hinch to name this offender in the public and victim's interest, nearly 20 years later?

The case is further complicated by the victim coming forward and saying she didn't want herself identified through her father, despite earlier evidence that she felt he should be brought to justice publically.


“His identify was protected, yet these intimate details about me are not protected at all. How can, on the one hand, they protect this man’s identity, and on the other hand, deny the victim’s right and the rights of society to know he is a convicted paedophile?”



‘‘She said ‘I’m happy to be named," Hinch told Fairfax. "Her exact words were: ‘I want to be a role model for other victims'.’’
‘‘The exact words are in my mind. I said ‘You’re very brave’. She said ‘No, I want to be a role model’.’’
He said he also spoke to the woman when he was off-air last night and she requested her name be taken down from the website amid fears she could be in contempt of court.

[news.com.au, 2012]


This has further complicated matters. Hinch is now responsible for not only naming a convicted sex offender in contempt of court, but potentially also releasing this woman’s information against her will.

It’s the public versus the individual. Should Hinch be able to make these calls, just because he’s pledged to continue to name and shame sex offenders?

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/derryn-hinch-names-convicted-paedophile/story-e6frfkvr-1226317124520#ixzz1rzBBApNB


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Current Location: Randwick
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Cinematic Orchestra: To Build a Home
 
 
28 February 2012 @ 08:13 am
Everyone loves having a little more cash in their wallet. As a uni student you’re in the position where you have a lot of time and not a lot of money to spend in that time. There’s a few tricks to the trade you’ll discover as you settle in, but it’s always nice to be prepared before you start to save a little cash on the side. Your unions, societies and even toilet doors will hold the answers to your questions.



Food

Eating on campus is much more expensive than buying your little lunch in primary school. Anything you could ever want will be calling to you across the courtyard as you stumble bleary-eyed out of your morning tutorial, in search of a coffee and a big, steaming plate of nachos. Although many universities have a union or discount scheme for their students, you’ll still find yourself offloading between $20 and $50 a week on lunch, and that’s before you begin to nervously stuff your face during exam period. Try these little tips:

* Societies, like Veggie Soc. Often you’ll be able to buy a massive plate of extremely filling curry and desert from a mere $5. Most societies will let you bring along a container for later, so you could also take some home and freeze it for a later dinner during tight times. Sydney Uni’s Veggie Soc sources their curries from Govinda’s and you can check out their scheme
. Some suburbs may also have food vans where you pay what you can afford, like the hare krishna hot food van in Redfern, NSW.

* Food Co-Ops are great places for picking up fresh fruit and veggies for a great price. You’ll also be able to buy your staples in bulk and at a heavily reduced price – even more so if you’ve got the time to volunteer. Food changes week to week so you don’t get stuck eating potatoes and carrots every week. Check out the opportunities at the UNSW Food Co-Op page. Try Googling your University’s Food Co-Op. I usually get enough fresh produce to last a week, and you can pay for a plan that suits you, whether it be a weekly or fortnightly pick up.

* Society lunches are usually free and give you an opportunity to check in with your friends on a regular basis. Sometimes they’ll be themed, like the High tea Society, and accompanied by games, like the weekly LingSoc Scrabble tournament with sandwiches. Talk to the people at O-Week and at meetings about how you meet, suss out what societies are worth paying $5 to join for a semester of free food. As you get a little busier they won’t begrudge you if you drop by quickly and then head off to study.

Textbooks

Often one of the big blows in the first few weeks of uni is finding out much all your textbooks are going to cost. Sure, there’s one or two copies provided in the library, but you can almost never get to them in time. They’re almost always in short loan as well, and people love to squirrel them away into a corner just before exams. Your best bet is to try one of these options.

* You should definitely join the Co-Op Bookshop. Membership is $20 and it’s for life. It gives you a 10 – 15% discount on all of the products in the store, means you can skip those pesky lines out the door and is generally a nifty little discount opportunity. You’ll make your money back at least 6 or 7 times in your degree.

* Check out your SRC’s second-hand bookshop. You’ll be able to pick up your textbooks at a slice of the price, and with only a little bit of highlighting.

* The backs of toilet doors are an invaluable resource. Keen to offload the $100 textbook they only used once, many students will sell them to you for a fraction of the price. Making a little money back is better than having it get dusty and out of date on a shelf, and it’s less money out of your pocket.

Transport

Best advice I can give you is that public transport is your sleep and study friend, not your enemy. While it make seem easier to drive in to uni, especially for those pesky one hour tutorials early in the morning, catching the train or bus give you an opportunity to maximise your time.

* Buy a MyMulti public transport ticket. The most you’ll pay for a whole week of travel on any bus, train or ferry is $30. Each day you’re likely to accumulate at least $8 - $10 worth of travelling, depending on where you’re going. Grabbing bus passes like Travel10s for less frequent travel is also efficient as you get a few rides free.

* Use your time as study time. You don’t have to concentrate on the road, all you have to do is making sure your massive reader isn’t poking your neighbour in the ribs. Busfare is going to be cheaper than driving in, and you have time to catch up on your tutorial prep for the day. Win-win.

Participating in Experiments

Probably one of the most interesting ways of making money at university, students from all kinds of faculties will post fliers to the backs of toilet doors with phrases like “Want to see what your brain looks like?!” and “will be renumerated for your time.” These are the ones you’re looking for. You’ll get asked a few questions, maybe fill in some paperwork about your eating and exercise habits, and then boom – remuneration. At the very least you may get some course credit for participating and the money you’ll be saving on your course costs when you pass and don’t have to repeat the subject.

Take care of your coins and you’ll emerge at the end of the exam tunnel with a few dollars and cents to spend on your end of semester fun and games.

Stephanie has to refrain from taking her bank card to university in order to stop her purchasing Campos coffee. Damn sexy coffee.
 
 
Current Location: Grassy knoll
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: Blenders
 
 
28 February 2012 @ 07:55 am
Although I myself am not a college student, I am well aware of the transformation referred to as the “Fresher Five”. Even without the tasty catering it’s easy enough to put on weight in your years at university. High levels of stress combined with irregular sleep patterns, bad nutrition and erratic working hours are all factors. You’re probably too focused on how many hours you have left until your assignment is due to even think about going for a run or doing a bit of yoga, but it’s well documented that exercise increases focus and decreases stress – and you don’t even have to pay that much for it.



Get kitted up!

It’s not really essential, but it definitely does help with the ‘incidental exercise’. I know, it’s a bit of a granny thing to mention, but it definitely helps when you’re not directly prioritising anything strenuous.

It’s a good idea to get a backpack. It doesn’t have to be something ridiculously expensive or even ugly. ASOS has some cute little backpacks that don’t make you at all look like a turtle. Backpacks are good for your back and shoulders, especially if you carry a lot of stuff, and make it much easier to briskly walk or jog to your destination.

I’d suggest some good shoes, like Nike Frees or Sketchers, mainly because they’ve got good support and still look cool. Your flats aren’t going to cut it if you spontaneously decide to run to the station.

Transport!

Living close to uni has its advantages. For one, you can walk or run to class, or better still, ride a bike. It costs you absolutely nothing, is faster than walking or running, and universities are green-friendly places where your bike isn’t likely to be dismantled by random thieves. If you catch the train and want to take your bike with you to ride from the station, just bare in mind it incurs costs of its own during peak times. It’s a little rough, because it effectively means you pay the rate of an adult just for you and your bike, but you are being healthy and efficient. You decide the cost.

Use your environment!

Most universities are situated near public transport. Sometimes getting off a stop earlier or walking instead of taking the bus is going to be a convenient way of waking up a little and getting a little fresh air.

You’re going to be stuck in buildings all day staring at paper. Take advantage of the world around you. It sounds really corny, but there are some beautiful parks, and they don’t call it the gym of life for nothing. For absolutely nothing you can go for a run in between lectures. If you’re not a sweaty betty, then don’t push it that hard. Even if you just walk, you can whack in your iPod with the lecture you missed and make the most of your time instead of stressing away in a cubicle.

if you love the gym and just can’t seem to find time to get up the road, or it’s too late by the time you get home, many universities have gym facilities that are relatively low-cost. Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness is an example of a diverse range of organised classes, swimming centres, weights gyms and regular gyms for all scales of fitness. If you’re a college student, this may be included in your fees, if you’re a regular student this may be a perk of your Union or Student card. It’s always worth finding out and comparing these fees with the standard gym fees.

last but not least, find a university sport you’re passionate about. If you’re a bit of a nerd and sport really isn’t your thing, then at least you have Quidditch. There’s all kinds of awesome sports, like Ultimate Frisbee, and they’re even played in the Eastern and Australian University Games – as if a mid-semester holiday subsidised by the university wasn’t a good enough incentive to put down the reader and pick up the disc.

Finally,

It’s not about pushing it to the absolute limit and having one more thing to stress about while studying. Your health and fitness is something that can be managed really easily at uni, and it’ll make everything else come together much easier as well. Next time, instead of grabbing a coffee during exam period, go for a walk and run up a couple of flights of stairs for that crucial book. You’ll find yourself feeling much better for it.


Stephanie likes to think she’s got her timetable down pat at this stage, but she always ends up sprinting to class in the end. Oh well. Incidental exercise.
 
 
Current Location: The couch, the kitchen
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Renny Field - The Birds
 
 
28 February 2012 @ 07:44 am
Welcome to O-Week, your introduction to the next few years of your life. As you stroll down the lanes of stalls packed to the brim full of tee shirts, free lollies and your enthusiastic cohort, you’ll catch a glimpse of the awesome potential that student life holds for your time at uni and your life after school.

Meet like-minded individuals

The truth is, most people enter uni separate from their high school friends and find they have a lot of time to spend by themselves. What better opportunity to meet people than in an environment where people eagerly invite you to join in even their geekiest interests? You’ll find yourself dropping by the Chocolate Lovers Society, having a chat with the guys at the Ultimate Frisbee tent and having a peek in at the DarcySoc tent where already they’re planning an introductory high tea. Even if at first you feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of societies, the cost to join is minimal and is usually a good swap for all the future beer drinking and lunching you’re going to be doing with some cool people during the year. Feel free to join whatever takes your fancy, have a chat with your future-friends and make some time in your schedule to pop by your on-campus or closest watering hole to sit down and have a casual laugh with people.

Build your professional network

While it may be a little early in the scheme of things to think of networking as a serious business, O Week is a great time to meet some of the seriously passionate people on campus. Clubs like the Media and Communications Society will never lead you astray as you venture into your interning years, and the Debate Society will help you explore your skills as an orator – you never know who you’ll meet and what help they’ll be to you in the future. Check out some of the alumni of your university – there’s a good chance they were once the presidents and treasurers of a society. So go on, sidle up to that KRudd look alike. You never know where it’ll take you.

A chance to explore

O-Week is a great time to become acquainted with your university. You’ll never see as many people congregating in the same places as you do during O-Week and exam time. There’s a smaller chance of getting lost in a secret toilet and hammering away for an entire hour during tute and lecture time. There’ll be loads of chipper students more than willing to direct you towards ATMs, the best coffee cart or that obscure N653 room in that building you don’t see on the map. Take this opportunity to wander round, ask lots of questions and find out where you’re going so you turn up on time to your first lecture feeling totally cool.

And finally,

Make sure you attend at least one after-hours event. Even if you’re a total wallflower and don’t spot anyone you’ve met through out the day, grab a society-subsidised beer and simply observe the student life around you. It’s not all hanging out at bars drinking and playing pool, sitting on the lawns knitting and practicing chinese, but this stuff does go on. It just takes a little courage to step forward and find the cool stuff that goes on at uni between your classes. O-Week is when everyone peacocks about and ruffles their feathers in your face. Welcome to university, you’ll love it.




Stephanie is a third-year Media and Communications student. O-Week is still cool, man.
 
 
Current Location: Northern Beaches
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: Boy and Bear: Lordy May
 
 
Bluesfest 2011 was an introduction to a whole new world of music. The blues and roots festival was alive with its own organic music of laughter and residual booming background bass, a genre of music festival unto itself. I was warned that attending Bluesfest would be a week-long hell of a ride. It was a musical sandwich of road trip, tripping around stages in gumboots to watch musician after musician playing with smiles on their faces, songs in their hearts, and after all of that, more tiring road trip home in holiday traffic. I’m going to be realistic and acknowledge that undoubtedly some of the people blissfully holding their elbows as they chilled out against a pole were probably operating under the influence of something along the line of the “Hippy Hiney Whore Herbs” (as we affectionately named the floral Hippy Happy High Herbs tent), but we were running high on chai, traipsing around in multi-coloured gumboots and chattering about the latest, greatest act that we’d seen that day. With headlining acts that included Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Ben Harper and Relentless 7, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Cat Empire and the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Byron Bay Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, this Bluesfest was described through the appreciative murmurs of the experienced blues festival goers as one of the best line ups and festivals that they’d ever attended.

Friday

My first day at Bluesfest was a transformative experience. I’d bought my gumboots before the road trip to avoid exorbitant prices on wellies, had a packed lunch with lots of veggies, some flowy clothing on and had checked my camper chair with the coat tent (who ended up calling my group of people the “Village People” for how much stuff we carted through their friendly aisles). I was ready to festival that shit up. I betrayed myself when, crawling between the ropes and tent poles, I excitedly “checked-in” on facebook with those around me. That is when I learned that the internet access at the farm wasn’t ideal, and it became a fantastic part of my experience for the next three days. We ran from Eric Bibb to Xavier Rudd who did some awesome things with a rigged-up harmonica, to wandering around for hours sampling organic, oily, flavoursome and expensive festival food. Suddenly we found ourselves at Fistful of Mercy. Maybe I was a little blown away by their excellent line-up, but their eponymous song ‘Fistful of Mercy’ was the song that has kept with me ever since. It’s a wonderful feeling when you walk into one of the Bluesfest tents and find yourself staying for the music and the way it makes you feel, rather than the fact you’ve payed for a two hour concert and you’re going to get your money’s worth, dammit. Ben Harper does some incredible things with the neck of a guitar, and has one of the most tortured yet peaceful expressions I’ve ever seen while playing. Although I missed him the night before with Relentless 7, I was lucky to catch him and now he’s nestled on my iPod.

There was a quick stop off at the Blind Boys of Alabama who were truly remarkable, and then recharged our batteries at the very popular coffee shop just outside the Crossroads tent. We sauntered in, hands clasped tightly around each others forearms in a monkey grip and wound up right behind a pole in a space that no one else wanted, front and slightly off to the right for the legend BB King. I’d never heard BB’s music, as far as I was aware, and I still probably couldn’t pinpoint any of his songs. He ruled that show. I have an intense knowing that unfortunately, that was the first and last time I’ll ever see BB King in the flesh. He was a seriously old guy, but he had the best personality on stage and got the biggest applause of anyone I saw that weekend. Sure, he made funny old-man facial expressions and my feet hurt quite a bit after standing around for nearly two hours, but it was worth it. BB was the first act of Bluesfest that I was glued to, craning my neck to get a shot of the brilliant purple shirt and amazing control he had over his lovely lady guitar.

Although I’d never heard of them before (this disclaimer is inherently popular in this review, my introduction to the world of blues and roots), Rodrigo y Gabriela had made a huge impression on me as my first night drew to a close. Wandering around between the tents, close to midnight on the first night, we entered the far corner of the tent in sight of the big screen and I was mesmerised by the form of a woman hanging over her guitar, wrists and fingers and knuckles stroking the life and rhythm out of her guitar in a way I’d never seen before. I don’t know where the solo belonged, if to any song at all, but it was five minutes of an act at the end of the second night that I won’t forget for a very long time.

We walked past Grace Jones on our way out and the impression I got as I walked off towards the gate was that of an enormous blow fish. A fat blow fish that had gone to seed and that was bellowing like Pumba with a great taffeta veil streaming out behind her. I heard that she was about forty-five minutes late to her hour-and-a-half gig, and that kind of diva attitude, especially at Bluesfest, is just unwarranted and uncool. No one cares for pretention on Byron, it’s all about the honest-to-god music and easy going experience, not the typical crap you get from overstated bands back in the capital city.

My introduction to the world of blues and roots was only just beginning, but it had been one hell of a day with exposure to some of the best music the genre had to offer, and some of the best hippy shopping and eating I’m likely to experience this year.

Saturday

One of the best things about Bluesfest is that it knows that before midday it’s likely that you’re surfing at the beach, running on the beach, sleeping on the beach, going to the markets on the beach and soaking your sore feet in a bath (or deep puddle, or ocean somewhere) in preparation for another day of gumboots and circus tents. Itchy wristbands still tight we werte herded once more through the gates carrying our trusty camping chairs and backpacks full of goodies. The smaller stages offered a lot earlier in the day, with The Hands and Bob Abot and the Fabulous Green Machine prompting people into haphazardly constructed waltzes and jives and kicking jigs. The lead sings of Bob Abot had the broadest shoulders and biggest booming voice; it was what drew me into the tent in the first place. The Hands had interesting ways of playing their instruments: there was a lot of flailing and keyboard bashing, standing on piano stools and flipping organ switches to mess their arrangements up. Ironically of course, their clothing and hairstyles seeming to scream. Aside from that though, they were one of the albums I purchased later from the tent.

I’d gone into Bluesfest not knowing most of the artists, bookmarking only Imogen Heap on my ‘artists-to-see’ list. I played it by ear as far as grabbing a spot for previous shows, but I was front and centre with a piece of chilli-garlic corn on the cob to see her performance. I’d seen her a year before in Sydney, and my sister had seen her the night before as she travelled up the east coast to Byron. Based on having experienced her set-list before I was a little disappointed that the stories were the same, and that I remembered the songs as being similar to the previous performance. Aside from this though, she was magical. She involves her audience, dances like a real person and has a musical voice that flutters ironically and delightfully over every little groan and laugh at audience heckles for attention.
Having seen Wolfmother at this year’s Big Day Out I knew how the lead singer Sideshow Bob would be playing with his band, so I was fine to skip him in favour of some more express Yum Cha. We rounded up the camper chairs and parked in the comfy section behind the big screen to enjoy the Indigo Girls. ‘Closer to Fine’ was a big hit with everyone except my boyfriend who curled up on the ground in the foetal position. While nothing really stood out in a big way, it was a really nice way to spend an hour, settled into our chairs and munching on om noms.

This was disturbed by the exhilarating arrival of John Legend onto the stage. Spreading his arms wide and stamping his feet, he began to belt out Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ into the blackened crowd, lit only by a single spotlight. Joined in the chorus by his three lovely ladies (who proceeded to rhythmically click and ooh through the rest of his performance), Legend proved himself to be the sex symbol that his assuming poster had set him up to be in the Bluesfest merch tent. One girl basically had sex with him on stage when he invited her up to give her a flower as part of a song, but he, laughing, deftly avoided her and escorted her booty off stage. He serendaded us until the end of Saturday with the chocolatey-smooth charisma of Usher and the talent of a modern-day Marvin Gaye.



Pictures from the MTV website

Part 2 including Day 3, 4 and 5 coming soon.
 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Blues 'n' Roots