Monday, November 2, 2009

A Keating stoush..

Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating has weighed into the controversy swirling around the claim his daughter Katherine allegedly abused a News Ltd photography at a Halloween party to promote a vodka brand last week at the State Theatre at which British singer Paloma Faith was a guest.

The Sunday Telegraph claimed Ms Keating had threatened the snapper after she was ambushed at the event. Those who know Katherine Keating says it's not within her nature. We tend to agree.

The Shuttle had it's own photographer there and as usual, he never takes a snap without asking the subject first. It's a hard and fast rule we stick by and always have. Our cricket mad Canon wielder let Katherine "go through to the keeper" as he puts it, knowing she isn't too fond of the media.

Paul Keating has called for new privacy laws which the Federal government is already considering. Something along the lines like those in France which has the strictest media laws in Europe.

The Sunday Telegraph has form here. They published the ridiculous photographs of a supposedly nude Pauline Hanson just before the Queensland state election this year . The snaps turned out to be from a Russian web dating site. A mutually agreeable settlement was reached out of court when Hanson threatened to sue.

In England the Royal correspondent on one of their newspapers was jailed a few years ago after it was revealed the paper had commissioned a private eye to tap the mobile phone's of Princes Harry & William.

The Murdoch UK newspaper The Sun dubbed Keating the "Lizard of Oz" when he was snapped putting a protective arm around HRH The Queen when she was on an official tour. Another proclaimed "Hands Off Our Queen !" (apparently forgetting she is actually the Queen of Australia as well).

Paloma Faith (above)

It's a continuing battle that has seen the Murdoch press in attack mode before and after the election of Labor's Kevin Rudd in late 2007. Each attempt seems to backfire badly including the hopelessly botched fake email scam recently that involved a senior public servant and an alleged favour to a car\dealer on Rudd's behalf. Federal police are now investigating the email but News Ltd tabloids were badly burned by the experience.

They are taking the line that as the party Katherine Keating was at, was a product promotion it should be a free for all. Perhaps. But the high morale ground being taken by Murdoch newspaper bosses rings hollow and the usual "freedom of expression" etc excuses are trotted out as new younger journalists produce pieces that often reflect personal opinion.

Fact checking is becoming largely redundant as newspapers feel the bite of the "new media".News Ltd publications are as guilty of most in their relentless promotion of parties where their journalists get favours or gifts. The animosity felt amongst photographers who also attend but don't receive the same gifts is common knowledge.

Basically there are no rules or conventions despite the infamous "cash for comments" scandal a few years ago where all publications pompously quoted their regulations about protecting their worker's integrity where they must declare gifts received when publishing an article. It was all forgotten within months.

It looks like Keating has struck the first blow in a war that may see the tabloids regret their intrusive behaviour.