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Drones and media law and ethics in Australia – our #ANZCA2015 paper

Originally posted on journlaw:


Postgraduate student Sam Worboys produced some excellent work for his research project looking at the state of news media use of drones in Australia and the regulatory, legal and ethical implications. I have worked with Sam to develop this into a conference presentation at the Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference in Queenstown, New Zealand, on July 8.

Image credit: Parrot AR Drone 2.0 – Wikimedia image Image credit: Parrot AR Drone 2.0 – Wikimedia image


‘Emerging dilemmas in the law and ethics of media use of ‘drones’ (unmanned aerial vehicles)’

Sam Worboys and Mark Pearson

Use of ‘drones’ [also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), ‘Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ (UASs) or ‘Remotely Piloted Aircraft’ (RPA) ] by the news media has prompted a host of ethical, legal and regulatory dilemmas internationally. While they have clear utility as newsgathering devices, their operation triggers ethical dilemmas of public safety and privacy, legal issues…

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Watergate revisited: Is it fundamentally unethical to guarantee a source confidentiality?

Originally posted on journlaw:

A shorter version was published 22-6-15 in The Conversation as:

How surveillance is wrecking journalist-source confidentiality


Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward famously used cloak and dagger methods to communicate with his secret source – “Deep Throat” – in the 1972 Watergate investigation which led to the Nixon administration’s downfall.

Woodward said he would move a pot plant on his balcony to signal to his confidential, high-level source that he wanted a meeting. If Deep Throat wanted a meeting, he would draw a clock face on page 20 of Woodward’s newspaper to indicate the time they should rendezvous in a disused underground car park.

These very 20th-century…

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Pope quote: environment

“We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now.”

Journalists, whistleblowers and the law – the end of the era of the confidential Watergate-style source? My #AusCERT2015 address

Originally posted on journlaw:


My speech to the AusCERT2015 conference on the Gold Coast, Queensland, on Friday June 5.


The practicalities of protecting confidential sources are a huge challenge for journalists in the modern era. New shield laws excusing journalists revealing the identity of a whistleblower in court seem pointless if litigants or government agencies have already been able to detect them using the surveillance regime that is ubiquitous in modern society. It prompts the serious questions: Could the Watergate investigation by the Washington Post three decades ago happen in the modern era? How long would Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s White House source ‘Deep Throat’ remain anonymous today? This presentation considers the toll of the era of geo-locational tracking, phone and social media e-records, CCTV in private and public spaces, email logs, surveillance technologies and…

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Rhino money makes trust hard: Mongabay article

By Mic Smith

What’s really happening in the rhino poaching crisis plaguing South Africa! A must read for anyone interested in conservation and rhinos. Shines lights on the corruption, the fear, the violence, the poverty and the desperation fueling this crisis:  Read about it in my latest article at Mongabay.

Towards a mindful approach to media law and ethics

Originally posted on journlaw:


Our bookMindful Journalism and News Ethics in the Digital Era: A Buddhist Approach (Shelton Gunaratne, Mark Pearson and Sugath Senarath eds; Routledge, NY, 2015)  explored the possibilities of applying mindfulness techniques to journalism practice.

How might we begin to apply Buddhist ethical systems to the analysis of media law and ethics?

I explore this question in an article just published online and to appear in a forthcoming print edition of the International Communication Gazette.

It is titled ‘Enlightening communication analysis in Asia-Pacific: Media studies, ethics and law using a Buddhist perspective’. Its abstract and link to the full article is available here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.08.59 pmThe article backgrounds important critiques of the Western approach to communication  studies, and considers how globalized communication and media studies has become, before exemplifying how a secular Buddhist perspective might offer 2,500 year-old analytical tools that can assist with media…

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Satao – the enigma

Originally posted on Mark Deeble:

obeisance with fb tag

Alive, Satao was almost unknown; dead, he became legend.

How did it happen?

A year ago, Satao fell to a poacher’s poisoned arrow in a remote corner of Tsavo East National Park. When news of his death became known early in June 2014, it circled the globe at a speed any publicity agent would have been proud of. The international press, from Le Monde to The New York Times carried news of his death. It generated millions of tweets and Facebook page reads. There were YouTube tributes, news reports, articles, blog posts… two online petitions signed by 180,000 called for presidential protection for the remaining Tsavo tuskers. A week later, a tribute released on YouTube by the Great Elephant Census – created from the last footage we filmed of Satao, was seen by 135,000. ( ) News of his death went viral in a way normally reserved only for…

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Canadian Software Company, RhinoFit, to Partner with the International Rhino Foundation

Featured Image -- 2225

Originally posted on The International Rhino Foundation Blog:

white-rhino-cutoutWeighing up to two tons, yet able to run fast enough to get a speeding ticket on a city street, rhinos symbolize what it takes to be “tough” and “strong.”  But, sometimes a thick skin isn’t enough. Sometimes even the toughest among us need help.

The International Rhino Foundation is dedicated to the conservation and protection of the world’s five remaining rhino species, while also supporting research projects that can help improve the species’ potential for long term survival.  “The IRF is a small but feisty organization that funds and operates field programs in Indonesia, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and India,” said Susie Ellis, Executive Director.  “We aim to protect the rhino species most in need of conservation, and to put our precious resources where they can do the most good.”

Canadian based software company, RhinoFit, recognizes the plight of the world’s rhino populations and has become the newest corporate…

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Ustad: The Tiger. What a Maneater means to India

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Originally posted on indiEnvironment:

Ustad means Boss.

In Ranthambore tiger reserve, a big male tiger has just been shifted. Formally called T-24 (Tiger 24), but known much better as Ustad, he is accused of killing four people.

The Forest Department says they gave Ustad many chances, and he has repeatedly killed people, and eaten them. Another section of activists says that Ustad has been wronged. For instance, this plea to bring Ustad back stresses he should be reunited with his family.

While I welcome the fact that people care enough for a tiger to write these things, not all of them are based on logic.

I quote:

“There were days when I walked in my territory carefree
My life was beautiful as we were the happy family of one plus three
Often living at the edge, we basked in the glory of life;
While my babies made most of their play, my meals had love from…

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Recent Spike in Large Seizures of Ivory, Rhino Horn, Pangolin Scales


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