Mainstream Media: Truth That Sells? – Julian Burnside

Australian barrister Julian Burnside outlines content-related constraints on the media industry. He emphasizes the role of profit as a manipulator of content, claiming sports, sex, and political misconduct as the three most lucrative story topics for media sources.


Newspapers, radio, television and now the internet are the means by which countless millions engage with information about the world in which we live.

For much of the time, the principal purpose of the media is to entertain.

However, there are critical moments in our lives when the truth really matters … when disaster strikes, when powers contend, when the decisions that shape our lives are in the balance.

Can the media be trusted at these moments? Are commercial imperatives overwhelming considerations of public interest that once defined the role of democracys fourth estate? – Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Julian Burnside QC, is a barrister, writer and President of Liberty Victoria. He has acted pro bono in many human rights cases and is passionate about the arts. He elaborates the law in relation to art censorship and how it is exercised, including the complexities of “intention,” “context,” “reasonableness,” public attitudes, protecting human rights and freedom of expression.

He is President of Liberty Victoria, Chair of fortyfive downstairs and author of Wordwatching – Fieldnotes from an amateur Philologist and Watching Brief – Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice.

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