THE OBSERVATIONS OF OTHERS ON THE MEDIA
SETTING THE SCENE
'In a modern democracy, the media has a complex function. It is a kind of nervous system for the society, constantly bombarding the citizenry with information, sending messages from one part of the body politic to another, sometimes spreading panic and confusion, and from time to time, spurring the community to great achievement. SBS has brought world cultures into the living rooms of the broad Australian community and promoted tolerance through understanding. Our goal is well summed up by Robert Hughes in his recent book Culture of Complaint (referring to the benefits of multi-culturalism) as "learning to see through borders". And, says Hughes "in the world that is coming, if you can't navigate difference, you've had it". I believe Robert Hughes is right. Australia's well-being will depend on our ability to navigate differences, and SBS and Australia's media has a responsibility to help us along that path."Malcolm Long, Managing Director SBS on 'The Role of the Media' reported in Without Prejudice, the proceedings of the National Conference on Racism and Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Australia, 11 - 12 June 1994.
'When television first arrived, it was welcomed into the house and, as a guest, it was put in the formal lounge. Here it could be shown to other guests and treated by the family with the respect it deserved. But this situation didn't last' John Hartley & Tom Oregon in The Moving Image Film and Television in Western Australia 1896-1985, Perth 1987.
'For more than a generation, pictures of countless skirmishes have been streaming across the TV screen: civil rights marches, feminist confrontations, gay pride demonstrations, Native American occupations, academic boycotts, civil disturbances, an unaccountable number of attendant lawsuits, appeals and settlements. The media have faithfully recorded all the battles but haven't yet recognized the war or figured out what to call it. Yet these conflicts are not unrelated; they are all part of an historic whole, a conflict whose outcome will determine the kind of country and culture America is - who has the power, who shares it and who doesn't. The rhetoric of the Sixties has become the reality of the Nineties. The revolution is here, it's just less ideological and more fragmented than predicted. And the battlefield is the most American element of all: TV, where opposing forces converge in an angry, raucous, electronic din.' John Katz, 'White Men Can't Rule: A Melting Pot Revolt', Rolling Stone, October 1992.