CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA —
The last two journalists working for Australian media in China have left the country after police demanded interviews with them and temporarily blocked their departures.
The absence of Australian media from China for the first time in four decades comes during a low point in the two countries’ relations, and the events that led to the journalists’ departures were seen as evidence of an increasing risk to foreign journalists working in China.
Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s Bill Birtles and The Australian Financial Review’s Michael Smith landed in Sydney on Tuesday after flying from Shanghai on Monday night, both news outlets reported.
Both journalists had sheltered in Australian diplomatic compounds in recent days.
They left after Australia revealed last week that Australian citizen Cheng Lei, a business news anchor for CGTN, China’s English-language state media channel, had been detained.
Both journalists were told they were “persons of interest” in an investigation into Cheng, The Australian Financial Review reported. Seven uniformed police visited each journalist’s home in Beijing and Shanghai at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, the newspaper said.
Birtles said he knew Cheng, “but not especially well,” and Smith had met her once in his life.
“I believe the episode was more one of harassment of the remaining Australian journalists rather than a genuine effort to try and get anything useful for that case,” Birtles said from his Sydney pandemic quarantine hotel room.
Australian Embassy officials in Beijing told Birtles last week that he should leave China, ABC reported.
Birtles was due to depart Beijing on Thursday and was holding a farewell party on Wednesday when police came to his apartment and told him he was banned from leaving the country, ABC said. He was told he would be contacted on Thursday to organize a time to be questioned about a “national security case,” his employer said.
Birtles went to the Australian Embassy, where he spent four days while Australian and Chinese officials negotiated. Smith had similarly holed up at the Australian Consulate in Shanghai.
Birtles and Smith both agreed to give police a brief interview in return for being allowed to leave the country.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Cheng’s detention was part of the reason her government had advised the journalists to leave. She declined to detail all the reasons.
“It is disappointing that after many years, Australia will not have a media organisation present in China for some period of time,” Payne said.
She said Australia would not retaliate by revoking the visas of Chinese journalists working in Australia.
“Australia operates according to law and in our national interests and unless individuals are breaching laws in Australia, then that would not be an approach that we would take,” Payne said.
Australia’s travel warning of the risk of arbitrary detention in China “remains appropriate and unchanged,” she added.
ABC news director Gaven Morris said Birtles was brought back to Australia on the Australian government’s advice.
“This bureau is a vital part of the ABC’s international news-gathering effort and we aim to get back there as soon as possible,” Morris said.
“The story of China, its relationship with Australia and its role in our region and in the world is one of great importance for all Australians and we want to continue having our people on the ground to cover it,” he added.
The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Michael Stutchbury, and editor, Paul Bailey, described the situation as “disturbing.”
“This incident targeting two journalists, who were going about their normal reporting duties, is both regrettable and disturbing and is not in the interests of a co-operative relationship between Australia and China,” they said in a statement.
Relations between China and Australia were already strained by Australia outlawing covert interference in politics and banning communications giant Huawei from supplying critical infrastructure. They have worsened since the Australian government called for an independent inquiry into the origins of and international responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia’s journalist union, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said China was no longer safe for foreign reporters.
“These outrageous attacks on press freedom place any foreign correspondents reporting from China at risk,” union president Marcus Strom said.
Birtles told reporters at Sydney’s airport that his departure was a “whirlwind and … not a particularly good experience.”
“It’s very disappointing to have to leave under those circumstances and it’s a relief to be back in a country with genuine rule of law,” Birtles said.
Smith told his newspaper: “The late-night visit by police at my home was intimidating and unnecessary and highlights the pressure all foreign journalists are under in China right now.”
Smith said at the airport that he had felt “a little bit” threatened in China.
“It’s so good to be home, so happy, I can’t say any more at the moment, it’s such a relief to be home, so really happy,” Smith said.
“It was a complicated experience but it’s great to be here,” he added.
J-Talks Live kicks off season with Voices for Change: Media's Moment to Shine – Canada NewsWire
- Nana aba Duncan, host of CBC Radio One’s Podcast Playlist and Ontario’s weekend morning show Fresh Air;
- Karen K. Ho, a global finance and economics reporter for New York-based Quartz, a digital business news publication; and
- Angela Sterritt, a journalist with CBC Vancouver and member of the Gitxsan Nation.
“There are so many layers to the conversation with these three standout journalists—from their views on what must change in newsroom culture and how, to ensure it is lasting, to a discussion on the prism through which news is defined and assigned, and followed through,” says Anna Maria Tremonti, host of the J-Talks Live webcast series and the CBC podcast More. “Our panelists are bringing their professional and personal experience to the table as they discuss how this moment in time can and must be the catalyst for permanent change.”
Nana aba Duncan is currently studying the experiences of racialized and women leaders in Canadian media as a William Southam Journalism Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Massey College. Karen K. Ho, a former Delacorte Fellow at the Columbia Journalism Review, has contributed to publications including The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life and Time. Angela Sterritt has won numerous awards for her CBC column, Reconcile This, and is also currently a visiting professor at UBC’s School of Journalism.
This free virtual event is part of the CJF’s J-Talks program, which explores pressing journalistic issues.
The CJF thanks the generosity of J-Talks series sponsor BMO Financial Group and in-kind supporter Cision.
DATE: Thursday, September 24, 2020, 1 p.m. EDT
About The Canadian Journalism Foundation
Founded in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes, celebrates and facilitates excellence in journalism. The foundation runs a prestigious awards and fellowships program featuring an industry gala where news leaders, journalists and corporate Canada gather to celebrate outstanding journalistic achievement and the value of professional journalism. Through monthly J-Talks, a public speakers’ series, the CJF facilitates dialogue among journalists, business people, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society and the ongoing challenges for media in the digital era. The foundation also fosters opportunities for journalism education, training and research.
SOURCE Canadian Journalism Foundation
For further information: Natalie Turvey, President and Executive Director, The Canadian Journalism Foundation, [email protected]
Media Beat: September 21, 2020 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News
The government’s decision to prorogue Parliament and launch a new legislative agenda later this month offers more than just an opportunity to recalibrate economic priorities in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Less than 12 months after the 2019 national election, Canada’s digital policy agenda has gone off the rails and is badly in need of a reboot.
The Liberals identified consumer telecom pricing, privacy protection and a modernized internet legal framework as priorities, but have struggled to develop an effective approach. – Michael Geist, The Globe and Mail
Details for now remain sketchy but Now magazine’s cofounder announced Friday on Facebook that he is launching a new “hyper-local arts” magazine on Nov. 26. The gloss, four-colour monthly will have separate city editions in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Private capital is backing him in the venture. More to come.
Spotify shares fell 1.2% on Wednesday after Amazon announced that it’s adding podcasts to its music streaming service.
Users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan will be able to stream podcasts for free across all tiers of Amazon Music, the company said. Amazon Music offers users a range of paid and free, ad-supported options to access the service. Amazon Prime customers also get access to more than 2 million songs ad-free as part of their $119-per-year membership. – Annie Palmer, CNBC
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview on Fox Business Network that the ban would initially impact WeChat and TikTok will be allowed to function until 11/12. “The only real change as of Sunday night will be users won’t have access to improved updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Ross said. – Hits Daily Double
In February, the Trump administration argued before the Supreme Court that Microsoft’s decade-long legal case against Oracle be dismissed. This recommendation came on the same day as Trump’s fundraiser at Ellison’s Coachella Valley home. – Debanjali Bose, Business Insider
“Twitter said it will send a push notification to every member of Congress, officials running for office, U.S. governors, secretaries of state and some U.S. news outlets and political journalists. The alert will ask these people to turn on two-factor authentication and review their password.” – Kurt Wagner, Bloomberg
What Can We Learn About People From Their Social Media? – Psychology Today
The majority of Americans use at least one form of social media. If you’re reading this, you probably use social media yourself and have contacts ranging from people you know intimately, like your immediate family and close friends, to people you’ve met just a few times or haven’t had contact with in years.
So what we can we learn about people from their social media? Despite opportunities to control what we post and curate an idealized image, research suggests that for the most part, social media profiles reflect people’s actual personalities, not idealized versions of themselves.
A large body of research on social media use and personality has focused on the Big 5 personality traits, the most widely-accepted trait theory. When people are asked to rate how much different traits characterize them, those traits cluster into five groups:
Personality predicts what people do on social media.
Researchers studying social media and personality often ask users about their behaviors or log users’ behavior and determine what correlates with different personality traits. In a meta-analysis, combining the results of more than 30 different studies like this, Lui and Campbell found several patterns. Extraverts tended to spend more time interacting with others on social media. People high in agreeableness tended not to be any more or less social than their less agreeable counterparts, but they did post more photos. Conscientious people tended to spend less time using social media to learn about others and to play games. High openness predicted the opposite pattern of high conscientiousness – More time seeking information about others and more time gaming. Like extraversion, neuroticism was also related to posting more updates and content on social media.
In addition, research shows that personality relates to the specific types of content people post, as I detailed in an earlier article. Despite the general tendency for social media profiles to accurately reflect personality, there is evidence that these profiles are less accurate for people high in neuroticism, who are more likely to present idealized or less authentic images of themselves.
Personality predicts the words people use on social media.
In a fascinating area of study, researchers have used specialized software programs to analyze the language people use in their social media posts. In one such study, researchers used a computer algorithm to determine which words were uniquely related to different personality traits. Words that predicted high levels of extraversion included “love,” “night” and “party” – words that reflect social activity or relationships. Those with low levels of extraversion, on the other hand, were more likely to use the words “computer,” “I’ve,” and “I don’t,” reflecting both a greater focus on the self and a preference for activities involving things rather than people. Highly conscientious people were more likely to use the words “family,” “week,” and “weekend.” These word choices are indicative of their tendency to plan and focus on family responsibilities. People with low conscientiousness were more likely to use swear words, indicating a lack of caution in what they post. Not surprisingly, agreeable individuals used more positive words, and people low in agreeableness used more negative words, especially hostile swear words. Neuroticism was also associated with using negative words, but more sad, rather than angry.
Other researchers who mine social media data have used frameworks that classify words into categories, rather than looking at word frequency. For example, researchers might organize words into groups like “negative emotions” or “social relations.” Not surprisingly, these studies show that extraverts use more words relating to family and social processes. Interestingly, people high in agreeableness tend to talk about food more, but talk less about achievement and money. People high in conscientiousness and openness were both more likely to talk about work. This likely reflects conscientious individuals’ greater diligence about work and open individuals’ greater likelihood of pursuing work they are interested in or passionate about.
The content on social media predicts personality.
Researchers sometimes look at the specific content people post on social media. This can include basic profile features, like number of “likes,” number of friends, or number of status updates. Bachrach and colleagues found they could predict social media users’ levels of extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness from this information.
Other researchers have found that what people “like” on Facebook is related to their personality. So their preferences for different music or TV shows, products or websites, or even specific types of content posted by friends all relate to personality. In one particularly impressive demonstration of this, Youyou, Kosinski, and Stillwell used people’s “likes” to predict their scores on personality measures. Then they compared this to personality ratings provided by that person’s friends, family, and work colleagues. The researchers found that “likes” predicted people’s personality better than the reports of people who actually knew them.
So what can we learn about someone’s personality from their social media activity?
The computer algorithm approaches are powerful, and suggest that social media companies could know more about you than you think (but that’s a topic for another day…). But ordinary people can also use the insights from this research to understand their social media friends better. Taken to together, these findings suggest that there are a number of factors that could hint at someone’s personality:
- Extraversion: Extraverts are easily identifiable on social media. This is not that surprising, as in offline settings, extraversion tends to be the easiest trait to guess when first meeting someone. Extraverts tend to have more friends, interact with others more, “like” content more frequently, and use more words that reflect social activities.
- Conscientiousness: Conscientious people are more cautious by nature, and by most metrics, they engage with social media less than their less conscientious counterparts. And when do they engage on social media, they are more likely to talk about work and family.
- Agreeableness: Agreeable people tend to post more photos. They also tend to opt for more cheerful language, whereas those especially low on agreeableness gravitate toward particularly negative and hostile terms.
- Openness: For people high in openness, their social media use is likely to reflect their interests. They spend more time using social media as a way to seek information, to talk about their work, or to play games.
- Neuroticism: Neurotic individuals tend to be more active on social media, much like extraverts. But unlike extraverts, they tend to express more negative emotions in their language, which makes sense given the propensity to experience more negative emotions. And they are especially likely to try to present a more idealized version of themselves.
While you can’t totally judge a book by its cover, or even its social media profile, our social media profiles may reveal more about us than we think.
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