Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Media Reporting and Queensland Laws

Rhonda A. Breit and Richard L. Fitzgerald have published Changes in Media Reporting after RTI Laws in Queensland, presented at the CPRafrica 2012/CPRsouth 7 Conference, Port Louis, Mauritius, September 5-7, 2012. Here is the abstract.

This paper outlines findings of research into how journalists’ use and report issues related to freedom of information (FOI) and right to information (RTI) in Queensland, following the introduction of access to information reforms in 2009. 

A triangulated analysis was used incorporating quantitative and qualitative methods. At a quantitative level, the text analytics software Leximancer was used to identify key concepts, issues and trends in 786 relevant articles from national, metropolitan and regional newspapers. At a qualitative level, discourse analysis was used to identify key themes and patterns from the newspaper articles. Finally, semi-structured interviews with journalists who use and report on RTI/FOI were conducted in order to identify journalists’ attitudes towards RTI and to provide context for the analysis of newspaper reports.

Both qualitative and quantitative shifts in the media reporting of RTI and FOI were revealed across three time periods representing the periods before, during and after the reform implementation. The findings offer insights into the role of newspapers in promoting and/or framing the public sector information environment in Australia. This benchmark study will enable researchers within and beyond Asian contexts to monitor the role journalists’ play as information converters under push model RTI and their capacity to work collaboratively with government agencies in maximizing the usefulness of public sector information.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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