Tom Burton: 2Day, effective regulation isn’t a reality show

Media operators aren’t mature enough to figure out how to regulate themselves. And politicians are too scared to get in the middle. Our former ACMA man on why effective regulation is a long way off.

In the world of media regulation it was once fashionable among libertarian commentators to declare that no one ever died from the media.

After the tragic suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, that comment is no longer heard.

Her death followed the broadcast in early December 2012 by Sydney radio station 2Day FM of a prank call to the London hospital where Princess Kate was suffering from her first pregnancy. Thinking about media atrocities over many years, it’s hard to come up with a more egregious abuse of media power. And for what — a few temporary blips of ratings love on a FM media-buying plan.

The whole tawdry affair says a lot about how modern Australian media and regulation work.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.