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Your views: on ratepayer-funded advertising, media raids and supporting local shops

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on a review into mandatory council advertising in newspapers, AFP raids on journalists, and the real price of cheaper online shopping.

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Commenting on the story: Your rates are paying News Corp $400K a year – by law

Councils are right to consider whether ratepayers are getting value for money when the Local Government Act mandates the publication of certain notices in local newspapers.

And, don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken issue with News Corp at times over the years too.

But the state government would do well not to be too hasty in its handling of the matter, as part of a broader review of the act.

The Messenger press may be part of a broader corporate monolith, but council advertising also represents a significant revenue stream for country newspapers – the former Fairfax mastheads, the Taylor Group’s papers and the independents.

In many cases, these mastheads have already endured knuckle-clenching staff cuts in recent years due to the same flow of information, eyeballs and, ultimately, advertising dollars to Facebook and Google mentioned in Tom Richardson’s story.

In effect, mandated local government advertising serves as an indirect subsidy of local media outlets; outlets which serve an important purpose as checks on the same level of government, and as promoters of public discourse in an era of increasing fragmentation on social media.

There is a separate discussion to be had there around whether governments have any business picking winners in the media sector, and whether those outlets would continue operating without such subsidies.

We in regional SA with feet in both camps – we who pay our rates and read our papers – hope Minister Knoll will be able to find an appropriate middle ground. Peri Strathearn

For the past 18 months I have regularly called the Messenger to advise non delivery.

I was lucky to actually get one in my driveway about one week in ten.

Here the weakest link is the delivery contractor. I have watched them drive along my street throwing from the front passenger seat and it was a fluke if the sleeved paper actually cleared the kerb, let alone land in the driveway.

If we were lucky, every tenth house had a copy land on the verge.  Many times they didn’t clear the kerb.

I would have sacked the contractor. It is just as bad as catalogue delivery not getting to allocated addresses and large quantities of catalogues being dumped in school yards or in council rubbish bins.

Just another example of contractual failures by people tasked and contracted to deliver. – Brian Richardson

Commenting on the story: Dutton defends penalties for media over leaks

I am all for freedom of the press. Absolutely. However, the media must obey the law. 

I was amazed to hear a range of people critical of the raids by the AFP on the ABC and News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst.

I would expect everyone to hold their criticism until we find out if there are in fact any charges and the details pertaining to them. 

If secret government documents have been leaked to the media by any public servant, then they need to be held accountable.  They enter into such agreements when they take on such jobs.  

The underlying problem behind the current issue is non-disclosure of the source of information. 

If we were to make it mandatory to disclose our sources, this problem would not occur. 

In the world of science, where I come from, we have to disclose our sources when citing work outside our own.  This system has worked for as long as I can remember. 

Making it mandatory to cite sources in media articles would remove the temptation to use material that is illegally obtained or is sensitive to some other party.

When journalists in articles cite anonymous sources, we fall back on the need to trust their work ethics. 

That’s OK for most of the time, but even journalists are human and we have individuals who will cross the line to get a good story and hide behind anonymous sources.

We have laws in our country and it’s not up to journalists, aggrieved public servants or even judges to decide when it’s OK to break those laws.

The Prime Minister has indicated he is willing to consider changes to the law if it is widely held that some of them do not serve us properly. This is the right course to follow.

In the meantime, I would urge everyone to take a deep breathe and let the AFP do their jobs.  It may even turn out that no charges are laid. – Peter Mirtschin

Commenting on the story: Online key as SA shoe stores trip over

Today I spent time with a teenage girl who went into several shoe shops and came out with nothing.

When I asked whether she had not found anything she wanted, she said that she looks in shops so she can try them on and then buys at cheaper prices online.

When I said the shoe shops will close if she does that and then what, she said she’d ‘find another one’.

I guess she must be reasonably bright as she is a Rotary exchange student. And yet she was totally disconnected to the impossibility of her approach. 

That said, I know plenty of well-off adults who look at books in shops, and then save a couple of dollars by buying online. 

It is presumably addictive behaviour which they can’t stop.  Cathy Chua

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