The Fourth Estate and the Kennett Government

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White, Leanne and Economou, Nicholas (1999) The Fourth Estate and the Kennett Government. In: The Kennett Revolution: Victorian Politics in the 1990s. Costar, Brian and Economou, Nicholas, eds. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, N.S.W..


Since the election of the Kennett government in 1992 a complex set of relations has developed between the government, the Premier and various media institutions. One of the fascinating aspects of this complex relationship has been the extent to which government-media relations have varied from the extremes of bitter antagonism and hostility to an almost uncomfortable closeness between Premier, broadcasters and media figures. Because a high value is placed on the need for participants in the governing process to be answerable and accountable for their actions in both theory and practice, the media play a critical role in liberal democratic systems. But the media's role is far from simple, either in theory or in practice. The classic 'Fourth Estate' model sees the press as a watchdog, critically scrutinising the legislative and policy program of the government of the day, reporting and analysing the daily operations of parliament and the political process. Countervailing that ideal is evidence of a growing affinity between governance, public relations, entertainment and 'message management'. Then there are the examples of old-fashioned power politics between government--the creator and disseminator of information--and media attempting to operate in ways consistent with the Fourth Estate model.

Item type Book Section
ISBN 0868405450
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > RFCD Classification > 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Hospitality Tourism and Marketing
Keywords Fourth Estate, the Kennett Government, government-media relations, politics and government, mass media, the 1990s, Victoria
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