The AOD Media Watch Reference group includes:
- Paul Aiken, Evaluation and Advocacy Team Leader, UnitingCare ReGen
- Dr Monica Barratt, Research Fellow at the Drug Policy Modelling Program, UNSW
- Dr Stephen Bright, Senior Lecturer of Addiction at Edith Cowan University & Adjunct Research Fellow at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University
- Associate Professor David Caldicott, Emergency Department Consultant, Calvary Hospital, ACT
- Greg Denham, Australian Representative for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
- Jenny Valentish, Freelance journalist
- Matt Noffs, CEO of The Ted Noffs Foundation, NSW
- Michael Miller & Tony Trimingham, Family Drug Support
- Professor Nicole Lee, Director of 360Edge & Adjunct Profressor at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University
- Dr James Martin, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Macquarie University
- David Taylor, Media Consultant
- Stephanie Tzanetis, Dancewize coordinator, Harm Reduction Victoria
- Gino Vumbaca, President of Harm Reduction Australia
- Dr Alex Wodak, President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation
- Dr Martin Williams, President of Psychedelic Research In Science & Medicine
Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Media Watch is based on the same premise as the ABC show Media Watch. It aims to highlight poor examples of journalism regarding AOD-related issues in the hope that we can assist journalists to report more objectively using science and evidence rather than perpetuating myths, opinions and moral panic. Research has found moral panics in the media can actually be detrimental. Moral panics in the media can actually be detrimental by counter-intuitively leading to increased drug use since it increases the perception that more people are using the drug than actually are. It has also been found to found that moral panics reduce the degree to which some people believe that the drug being reported on is harmful. It also reduces the credibility of AOD information in the media.
Further, poor reporting on Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) issues can perpetuate already entrenched stigma about people who use certain drugs. Such stigma not only limits people accessing healthcare services, but by internalising this stigma, people who use drugs are more likely to feel marginalised from society which can exacerbate their use of drugs and contribute to addiction.
We hope that members of the public, people working in the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) field and journalists alike will utilise the expertise of the AOD Media Watch reference group to assist in deconstructing poor media coverage of AOD-related events.
If you spot a story that you believe contains misinformation or perpetuates the stigma of people who use drugs, then please submit the story to AOD media watch.
We hope to establish an annual awards that will be conferred at an AGM of a state peak body for Alcohol and Other Drugs (AODs). One will recognise excellence in reporting of an AOD issue, while the other will highlight the worst example of AOD reporting for the year.
Guidelines for Authors of AOD Media Watch
The aim of AOD Media Watch is to encourage balanced and evidence-based media coverage of Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD)-related issues. For this to be effective, the authors of AOD Media Watch need to both engage the community in the reporting of AOD-related issues and also enhance the integrity of journalistic coverage of these issues. This requires the author to tread a fine line between being a little edgy, possibly using intelligent humour to engage the community, while not personally attacking journalists – it is important that authors are respectful to the journalist and focus on the content of their work. Similarly, AOD Media Watch is not aligned with any political party so articles should be bi-partisan, focusing on correcting misinformation, highlighting how the journalist could have presented the information in a way that would be less stigmatising, or how the piece could have effects that unintentionally increase harm to the community. In doing so, it is important that the reasons for suggested amendments to an inaccurate or unsatisfactory post should be supported by evidence. In this way, we are providing journalists with constructive feedback. Articles should be between 400 and 1000 words in length and written in a way that a lay person could understand. They should have a key thesis that is adhered to throughout the article. All submissions to AOD Media Watch will be reviewed by at least two of the reference group prior to publication of the site.
Our proud supporters
Disclaimer: These organisations support the AOD Media Watch project in principle, but do not necessarily endorse the options expressed by on the site.