Licensing Journalists

When it comes to well executing bad policy, look first to a Liberal Government.  Labor Governments seem best at badly executing bad policy.

And by Liberal, this has nothing to do with liberty or liberalism.

Fresh from ASIC …

From 1 July 2019, journalists will be exempt from paying certain registry search fees

And what, according to ASIC, is a journalist:

A journalist is a person who works in a professional capacity for media organisations, is a freelance who regularly sells stories to media organisations, or publishes stories on a commerical basis.

And what do you have to do:

You can apply for a journalist search concession by completing and emailing an Application for journalist search exemption.

So basically, a government agency is seeking to register and licence journalists.

Now it has been previously reported that ASIC’s registry search fees are the highest in the world.  So basically, what this “concession” is about is giving a financial leg up to a special class of people, that have been licences because the Government believes are “journalists”.

TAFKAS could say he is speechless but he is worried that he does not have the relevant government licence to do so.

Oh and does the “publishes stories on a commerical basis” mean that ABC does not employ journalists according to this ASIC definition?

Parliament press gallery licenses anyone?

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42 Responses to Licensing Journalists

  1. Karabar

    When will we need to register for a “social licence”?

  2. So basically, a government agency is seeking to register and licence journalists.

    I don’t think that’s the case at all. All ASIC is doing is removing a fee payment requirement for access to data, if you qualify as a journalist according to their definition.

  3. Percy Popinjay

    The Grauniad wouldn’t meet the “publishes stories on a commercial basis” test either, given the stupendous losses it’s been reporting for several decades.

    Even its recent “legendary commercial turnaround” is utterly illusory (Trigger Warning: Report is by another entity that doesn’t “publish stories on a commercial basis”).

  4. @bemused

    if you qualify as a journalist according to their definition.

    So the government is deciding who is a journalist and who is not. And based on that is giving special privileges to those it deems are journalists. And where then is TAFKAS incorrect?

  5. Tim Neilson

    I don’t think that’s the case at all. All ASIC is doing is removing a fee payment requirement for access to data, if you qualify as a journalist according to their definition.

    That’s so, and this development per se may not be sinister. But there’s an inevitable tendency for government regimes of any kind to undergo function creep.

    I can’t recall the exact provisions, but I remember very well it being revealed that some of the information gathering provisions in the tax laws had been copied from anti-terrorism laws.

    Once there’s a definition of a privileged government-certified “journalist” class, with outsiders being locked out of the perks, there’s a serious danger that eventually one of the perks that will be restricted is free speech.

  6. So the government is deciding who is a journalist and who is not. And based on that is giving special privileges to those it deems are journalists. And where then is TAFKAS incorrect?

    Not just the government, but most organisations and workplaces require some form of evidence that what you’re doing is part of a legitimate activity associated with your employment. Would you be happy if someone came to your house and claimed to be police without any evidence or reason for being there? All teachers, child care workers, school bus drivers, ambulance and myriad of service occupations require a working with children check before they can work with children. These people have special privileges as a result.

    I was a news and sports photographer for a Melbourne newspaper a decade ago and, as such, I had an ID which gave me access to places where the general public couldn’t go. That ID could be as simple as getting access to the field side of an AFL ground during game play. When I went to cover school athletics events, that ID game me access to the fields and the organisers would announce that the guy with the camera was from the newspaper.

    What’s the difference?

  7. Empire 5:5

    Now it has been previously reported that ASIC’s registry search fees are the highest in the world. So basically, what this “concession” is about is giving a financial leg up to a special class of people, that have been licences because the Government believes are “journalists”.

    The purpose of requiring corporations and their officers to declare data (and pay a cost+ fee for doing so) is to facilitate confidence in trade.

    The practice of appointing info resellers to sell data to the public is unconscionable and a clear threat to commercial transparency. The data should be made publicly available at zero cost.

    This isn’t the first ASIC rort. They used to operate a doc imaging facility in Gippsland which openly competed on the commercial market (cost recovery, mate) against companies they regulated.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  8. Empire 5:5

    Thermogeddonists have been protesting outside of the HWT Tower recently. The licensing of journalists is one of their demands, ostensibly to prevent j’ismists from lying ‘bout carbin.

    None were keen for my suggestion that protesters should be licenced to hold them to the same standard.

  9. Empire 5:5

    Not just the government, but most organisations and workplaces require some form of evidence that what you’re doing is part of a legitimate activity associated with your employment.

    No, specifically the government. There are two issues at play:
    1) anointing a special class of people for zero cost access to data denied everyone else unless they can pay
    2) the state defining what a ‘journalist’ is

    Who issued your press pass at the athletics carnival? Was it the event organiser with a duty of care, or some boffin in Canberra keeping a list?

  10. Pyrmonter

    Gobsmacked.

    This is the same ASIC that requires the principal gatekeepers in corporate misconduct, Regitered Liquidators, to pay, not only the handsome ‘going rate’ to undertake the thousands of company and document searches each is required to make each year, but also a levy to cover the cost of ASIC’s failed disciplinary and supervisory proceedings. Priorities? As ever … appearances matter rather more than substance.

  11. No, specifically the government. There are two issues at play:
    1) anointing a special class of people for zero cost access to data denied everyone else unless they can pay
    2) the state defining what a ‘journalist’ is

    Who issued your press pass at the athletics carnival? Was it the event organiser with a duty of care, or some boffin in Canberra keeping a list?

    No, it’s not zero:

    ASIC has created a Journalist Portal which is a dedicated search service for approved journalists who are exempt from paying certain registry search fees.

    The fee reduction is most likely there because journalists require access on a more regular basis than the average Joe. And it stops frivolous requests. This happens with other sources of information as well.

    My pass was issued by the newspaper and registered. It was a press pass. Nowadays I might well have to get police checks, working with children checks etc, or issued by a government entity, given the nature of things.

    I guess you also object to the state defining what is a doctor, dentist, paramedic, nurse, police officer, pilot, teacher, electrician, fireman etc.

  12. jock

    Journalists could be licenced by councils. We could have a microchip inserted and they could be neutered in case they bred.

  13. Tezza

    Treasury only lets ‘journalists’ into the budget lock up too. The sky hasn’t fallen in.

  14. Dr Fred Lenin

    What about licencing politicians ,public employees , socialist activites ,welfare recipients , refugees ,the list is endless , what a surce of potential revenue to blow on stupid things as they do .
    All the information could go into a master computer , we could call it Big Brother ,combined with public cameras Big Brother IS watching you .

  15. Behind Enemy Lines

    Empire 5:5
    #3035318, posted on June 5, 2019 at 5:13 pm
    Now it has been previously reported that ASIC’s registry search fees are the highest in the world. So basically, what this “concession” is about is giving a financial leg up to a special class of people, that have been licences because the Government believes are “journalists”.

    The purpose of requiring corporations and their officers to declare data (and pay a cost+ fee for doing so) is to facilitate confidence in trade.

    The practice of appointing info resellers to sell data to the public is unconscionable and a clear threat to commercial transparency. The data should be made publicly available at zero cost.

    Absolutely right. Allowing ASIC to hide public data so they can charge for access is a scandal and a national disgrace. In the digital age, the ‘cost recovery’ argument is just a huge steaming lie. Put the data online and be done with it.

    I also like TAFKAS’ point about not allowing the government to get into the journalist-registration business by stealth.

  16. Tel

    Pyrmonter #3035343, Gobsmacked.

    Asking “Cui bono?” often simplifies a confusing social puzzle.

    If ASIC is offering nice benefits to a select group of journalists, it might be because they expect those payments to be reciprocated by a little something. But what oh what would could a journalist provide in return? I can’t imagine.

    After all, since many of the ASIC court cases lead to high profile judgements, every journalist would be carefully and accurately writing up the outcome in a fair and neutral voice … wouldn’t they?

  17. Roger

    I don’t think that’s the case at all. All ASIC is doing is removing a fee payment requirement for access to data, if you qualify as a journalist according to their definition.

    A journalist can have his employer pay the charge or, if a freelancer, claim it as a tax deduction.

    But Joe Citizen doing his own research will have to pay the full fee.

    What exactly is the rationale here? (Besides the question of the legitimacy of the fees in the first instance.)

  18. 2dogs

    This should be very effective at informing the government as to when and which journalists are investigating which companies.

  19. Arky

    A libertarian doing what a libertarian should.
    Good post.

  20. feelthebern

    This should be very effective at informing the government as to when and which journalists are investigating which companies.

    That’s a bingo.
    If you don’t think there is monitoring & reporting of what journalists are looking into, you clearly didn’t see ASIC’s performance pre, during & post the banking royal commission.
    ASIC was in bed with the banks all the way.

  21. A journalist can have his employer pay the charge or, if a freelancer, claim it as a tax deduction.

    But Joe Citizen doing his own research will have to pay the full fee.

    What exactly is the rationale here? (Besides the question of the legitimacy of the fees in the first instance.)

    Obviously the journalist’s employer will pay the fee, unless independent, and claim it as a cost of business. Also, other registered businesses may well be able to claim it as a tax deduction as well. Individuals not so. Remember, there are many legitimate journalists that are independent and for them the fees may be prohibitive and affect their ability to do journalism. In that case, only the major media outlets could afford the full payment.

    As I noted, if it was completely free, it might give rise to numerous frivolous requests. Each request would have to be individually handled and that does give rise to a cost. Or should just anyone be able to anonymously access all information via the net? Maybe they should make all requests free and then ASIC could request a substantial increase in funding to handle all the new requests. Allowing access to such information without some due diligence could be fraught with danger, privacy issues and the like, so each request would have to be vetted by a public servant.

    No one is being debarred from seeking information. I think that would be a far worse situation.

  22. @bemused

    As I noted, if it was completely free, it might give rise to numerous frivolous requests.

    And who is to determine what is frivolous? The same people who will determine who is a journalist?

    If you are not aware, companies and directors PAY ASIC to put information into the register and ASIC charges to take it out. The profit ASIC makes on its registry business is phenomenal, or in another way, a tax by other means.

    Maybe they should make all requests free and then ASIC could request a substantial increase in funding to handle all the new requests.

    It is an automated process. there is no cost to handling.

    Allowing access to such information without some due diligence could be fraught with danger, privacy issues and the like.

    Nonsense. Utter nonsense. Does the current fee protect privacy?

    If there is a public purpose to reduce the costs for “journalists”, there is a public purpose to reduce the costs for everyone.

    It is not for ASIC or the government to regulate who or what is a journalist. Fair dinkum!!!

  23. And who is to determine what is frivolous? The same people who will determine who is a journalist?

    It is not for ASIC or the government to regulate who or what is a journalist. Fair dinkum!!!

    Who should determine who is a journalist? Who should determine who is an economist? Which one gets things right most of the time?

    If you are not aware, companies and directors PAY ASIC to put information into the register and ASIC charges to take it out.

    I am aware. I’m registered on the ASIC database. Have been for some time and can log in through ASIC Connect. BTW, I don’t pay anything for being on the database.

    It is an automated process. there is no cost to handling.

    When was the last time you put in a request?

    You don’t think that the media/journalist have login credentials that allow them direct access rather than placing a request through the online form?

    https://asic.gov.au/online-services/search-asics-registers/search-fees/

    You can access some information for free from our online registers.

    However, we are legally obliged under the Corporations Act to charge fees for some products. The list of products below shows the fee applied for each and an example of what each search product looks like.

    Fair dinkum indeed.

  24. Empire 5:5

    The fee reduction is most likely there because journalists require access on a more regular basis than the average Joe. And it stops frivolous requests. This happens with other sources of information as well.

    My pass was issued by the newspaper and registered. It was a press pass. Nowadays I might well have to get police checks, working with children checks etc, or issued by a government entity, given the nature of things.

    I guess you also object to the state defining what is a doctor, dentist, paramedic, nurse, police officer, pilot, teacher, electrician, fireman etc.

    When was the last time you ran a company investigation? What do you know about digital registries?
    The cost to build and operate a secure e-registry with controlled public access is about 1/10 of what it was 20 years back. I haven’t filed a corp return for a while, but IR it wasn’t cheap. The registered entities already fund the info management if done right. There is no excuse for impeding transparency.

    You are asserting registered journalists have special information rights that ought be denied the average joe. Predictably the love for occupational licencing and the general felatin’ of the state, followed.

    You completely lost me at “I guess”.

  25. Empire 5:5

    Nonsense. Utter nonsense. Does the current fee protect privacy?

    No it doesn’t. I can extract everything a j’ismist or a paralegal might want, provided I have a credit card.

    The only legitimate purpose fo the state being in this caper is to facilitate confidence in trade. That isn’t an invitation to vexatious taxation and pay to know.

    ASIC is broke.

  26. Davey Boy

    Most ‘journalists’ are know-nothing lying so-and-so’s who make crud up for a living*

    Change my mind.

    *polite version

  27. Rockdoctor

    Recently I was involved in a Legal dispute with a service provider, I did groundwork via ASIC. Was surprised by the cost for basic details like who owned the Company. I can search NZ registry online mostly free and only discovered that as the respondent had roots there.

  28. Pyrmonter

    @ TAFKAS

    If you are not aware, companies and directors PAY ASIC to put information into the register and ASIC charges to take it out. The profit ASIC makes on its registry business is phenomenal, or in another way, a tax by other means.

    That’s true, Lord TAFKAS, up to a point. Most of ASIC’s fee revenue (the bit that isn’t ‘reciprocated’) is passed straight through to Treasury; most of its funding then comes from appropriations. The amount isn’t easy to find in the budget papers or ASIC’s financials, but going from the cashflow statement, appears to be about $920m per year; ASIC’s total outlays, funded by reciprocated fees (‘industry levies’, late fees etc) and a modest appropriation from consolidated revenue is a bit over $300 million. ‘ASIC’ isn’t making a profit on these fees, the Commonwealth is.

  29. billie

    licence and track journalists, what’s the problem? all other professionals are subject to oversight and standards

    do it and let the pendulum swing the other way a bit from where it is now, maybe some truth and honesty will swing back as well

    justifiying actions, because you feel strongly about something has to have consequences and it currently does not – you are not a “whistleblower” you are an attention seeker (!)

    journalists are just like everyone else and subject to the same consequences of poor decision making, but seem to think they should be expempt

    they want equality and justice for all, but a little bit more for themselves

    wtf do they get taught as they grow up?

  30. Win

    Well said Davey Boy. I envisage most journalists as having cloven hooves horns and a tail .

  31. Mother Lode

    At first I thought it might be a sensible idea.

    Until I realised you don’t mean like the way we license dogs.

    Which is a shame really. Because the resemblance is inescapable.

    1) They are pack animals that always ferociously attack anyone outside the pack.
    2) They shit everywhere and are pleased with it. They leave it there and other dogs sniff it with respect. Even if they have never met they are united in a shit-sniffing community.
    3) When they find something valuable that others will want (a bone, the truth) they bury it.
    4) Their incessant yapping drowns out even the sound of your own thoughts in your own head.
    5) They can’t spell.

    There are more similarities of course, but you get the idea.

  32. Goanna

    What’s the problem with being a licensed journalist when most of them wear a large nose ring anyway.

  33. Which is a shame really. Because the resemblance is inescapable.

    1) They are pack animals that always ferociously attack anyone outside the pack.
    2) They shit everywhere and are pleased with it. They leave it there and other dogs sniff it with respect. Even if they have never met they are united in a shit-sniffing community.
    3) When they find something valuable that others will want (a bone, the truth) they bury it.
    4) Their incessant yapping drowns out even the sound of your own thoughts in your own head.
    5) They can’t spell.

    Fully agree with that (for about 99.9% of them).

    There is one thing that I’d like to point out. All too often on this blog, when someone provides a contrarian or slightly different perspective on an issue, the resulting responses often resemble exactly what goes on in Leftist blogs, Twitter etc (from what I’ve seen in such extracts).

    All you’d have to do is change a word or two in some posts and you’s swear that you’d come to a rabid Leftist blog where any disagreement is met with vitriol and deranged rants. Mention government and people go off as if someone mentioned Trump in said Leftist blogs.

  34. Crossie

    A citizen journalist/bloggers publish work on a regular basis and with the help of Google ads make a profit. In that case they satisfy the main requirement.

    The other thing, if the company ownership information is not freely available from ASIC then how is anyone able to make an informed decision to invest or whom to hold accountable?

  35. Tim Neilson

    licence and track journalists, what’s the problem? all other professionals are subject to oversight and standards

    do it and let the pendulum swing the other way a bit from where it is now, maybe some truth and honesty will swing back as well

    Will it?

    I’m sceptical whether that would occur even now, and I’d bet it wouldn’t when Labor/Greens get in power and take control of the licensing system.

  36. Up The Workers!

    I don’t know what the A.L.P.B.C. has to complain about – they would never have any of their journalists suffer the indignity of being compulsorily “delicensed” – they haven’t employed a proper “journalist” in decades.

    You don’t need a licence to be a brown-nosed monocular grovelling propagandist toady to Leftard carpet-baggers, con-artists, truth-mishandlers and apocalyptic catastropharians.

  37. stackja

    Is there journalistic fluidity?

  38. Dr Fred Lenin

    Question,where are you going to find a real journlist to register? You would not need to be relying on the licence fees to support you ,malnutriion would be the result . There have been -few real journalists once they started the communist schools of propaganda and ended the apprebticeship system then filled the trade with sheilas and poofters ,gissip and bitchiness? Yes , real journalism ? Nah dont do that,its retro and so is truth .

  39. Terry

    “where are you going to find a real journlist to register?”

    I think they might be using their very own definition of “journalist”.

    Journalist: anyone owning a business card displaying these random letters in the following sequence: “Journalist”

    It will be a title of anointment entitling those with it to a tax discount for special information (no doubt, in exchange for special favours and consideration).

    Absolutely nothing to do with the (now deceased) art of “Journalism”.

    Yet another rort in an impressively long line of rorts in the “lucky” land of Kleptocracy.

  40. Leo G

    “Professional capacity”?

    I expect there’s an inscribed code of ethics at the bottom of the barrel.

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