'Pigs in lipstick' and other stories set for diversity inquiry session

Mar 10, 2021 at 05:01 pm by Staff

A union chief, past and present editors and a press photographer concerned about attitudes to women, are among those giving evidence when Australia's Senate inquiry into media diversity reopens tomorrow.

The inquiry - chaired by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young - received 595 submissions, but has been able to call only a small number of witnesses. Its reporting date has been extended from this month to August 4.

Called last November, the inquiry's terms cover the "state of media diversity, independence and reliability in Australia".

First up at 10.30am tomorrow is ACCC chair Rod Sims (pictured), followed by representatives of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and United Firefighters Union's Victorian branch.

Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor and managing director Dan Stinton open the afternoon sessions.

In her submission to the inquiry, former press photographer Anna Rogers (up at 3.10pm) said she has been told not to bring back pictures of "pigs in lipstick", and was concerned publisher attitudes - excluding pictures of those "overweight and over-50" - eroded the rights of women to expect fair and honest coverage.

After being told to "concentrate on photographing attractive women to increase female readership", she started to believe that portrayal of women in the group's newspapers was determined by their appearance rather than substance. Pictures of attractive women would "get a better run".

The 'pigs in lipstick' instruction from a Sunday newspaper editor in 2000 was "extremely derogatory to women, but it seemed to be reflected in the coverage of women" in that newspaper, she said.

You can watch the hearings here


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