How the press has helped the Royal Commission (and why it needs to be free)

Vanessa Stoykov,  creator,  No More Practice

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Fund Executives Association (FEAL) conference, where the keynote speaker was foreign correspondent and passionate advocate for free press, Peter Greste.

I was excited to be there for a few reasons. Firstly, way back when in 1998, I helped form FEAL - the brainchild of Greg Bright. I helped form the very first board, including first Chair Michael Dwyer, and I convinced the funds management firm, Equitilink, where I worked before starting evolution media group, to sponsor the first meeting of minds.

Needless to say the organisation has grown well beyond its humble beginnings, and now is dedicated to giving senior executives in superannuation - Australia’s biggest growth industry - thought leadership, education and insight.

I was also curious to hear Peter speak. As someone who trained as a journalist, and at one point wanted to be a foreign correspondent, I thought he would have some interesting insight into what a life reporting across the world was like. What I did not expect was his thought provoking and fascinating discussion into how important true and continuing freedom of the press is.

His very survival when detained in Egypt on terrorism charges was based on a case where freedom of the press was attacked. The attack was limiting the ability of the press to tell the world a story, regardless of political and economic powers at play.

In our world today, this is not something I had thought too deeply about. Yet, when he talked about the ‘fake news’ phenomenon that Trump has thrown into the mix to discredit journalism, and the ability of journalists to actually tell the truth in a world where economic considerations are wiping out traditional media, it really got me thinking.

I have seen the value of a free press first hand in our Royal Commission. As uncomfortable as it has made us to see the scandals and truths revealed in the findings to date, it has also been great to have open dialogue and analysis from the press about the proceedings. For without it, how would the public even know what is happening and how to shape their opinion?

While everyone can become a blogger nowadays, and people can criticise and troll anonymously online, I still believe that high quality journalism has a critical role to play in shaping our industry, our country and the world around us. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword and we must all encourage a free press, even when we don’t like what they are writing.

Revenue models around content need to change significantly for this to be funded, and it will be fascinating to see what the Royal Commission makes of the industry funds creating their own news service. Funded or branded content definitely has a place to help communicate, but independent journalism must be safeguarded at all costs.

I know this piece is a departure from my usual education writing, but I honestly believe we have to view this as one of the most important issues affecting us. Thanks to FEAL for having me there and highlighting its importance.

Until next time,


The opinions expressed in this content are those of the author shown, and do not necessarily represent those of No More Practice Education Pty Ltd or its related entities. All content is intended for a professional financial adviser audience only and does not constitute financial advice. To view our full terms and conditions, click here.

Liked this article? Let us know

Want more of the latest in opinions, expert insights and training?

Subscribe to our free eNewsletter now

/ Related content

Why the US bankrupts are a warning sign

Bankruptcies for people over 65 in America have increased by 3 times si....

3 tips for 50 hours of FASEA CPD

With the new standards being released from FASEA that require advisers t....

How our industry betrayed the public and three ways to fix it

While we are all gasping at the findings of the Royal Commission, and ou....

G Taylor

14/08/18

Hi Vanessa, I love your content and am a regular reader. Whilst I agree with your opinion on freedom of journalism, it is the balance between bad news and good news that I find frustrating. Unfortunately the mass market communication platforms are only made accessible to journalists who 'toe the line' on reporting bad news and I find that a blight on our society. Balanced journalism is not supported at the mass market level and much to our ongoing detriment I really can't see that ever changing.

Leave a comment /

Related content /

21 August, 2018

Vanessa Stoykov,creator,No More Practice

Why the US bankrupts are a warning sign

Bankruptcies for people over 65 in America have increased by 3 times since the early '90s. You don’t have to be a genius to see the flow on effe....

Read now

31 July, 2018

Vanessa Stoykov,creator,No More Practice

3 tips for 50 hours of FASEA CPD

With the new standards being released from FASEA that require advisers to undertake 50 hours of CPD per year to stay qualified, it’s time for adv....

Read now

24 July, 2018

Vanessa Stoykov,creator,No More Practice

How our industry betrayed the public and three ways to fix it

While we are all gasping at the findings of the Royal Commission, and our industry enters a shocked and silent limbo, I know more business leaders ....

Read now