Role of media in elections

This section discusses the changing role of traditional media on elections as social media has largely taken its place for candidates, supporters and voters.

The traditional media in the form of regional and community newspapers, and radio stations in many areas, have often played a key role in council elections. These outlets would profile local candidates, feature campaign advertising and umpire political debate between candidates and the community they serve.

Social media is popular as a cheap and easy way to broadcast campaign messaging. Increasingly, the public turns to social media as a ‘source of truth’ for news and information about politics.

Policing social media is problematic as the technology companies that run the platforms are based overseas and, until recent times, not subject to many Australian laws on content or publication of material. They have, so far, successfully argued that they are not publishers and therefore are not subject to defamation laws.