The ethics of killing Putin? – Interview with Dr Shannon Brincat

INTERVIEW with Dr Shannon Brincat – Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of the Sunshine Coast

Article – The Conversation: The Putin problem: is there ever a case to kill tyrants?

Is it ever Okay to assassinate a head of state? Over the last month, as we witness the atrocities of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, you may have considered what might happen if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to be killed.

But as millions flee and hundreds die, is it ethical to kill a president?

To discuss this complex ethical conundrum, RTR’s Allan Boyd caught up with Shannon Brincat from University of the Sunshine Coast. He’s an expert in the study of tyrannicide….

As Russia’s aggressive assault into Ukraine continues – millions of ordinary people have fled their homes, hundreds have been killed and thousands injured…

Online headlines, comments and social media feeds all beg the question: who and how should Russian President Vladimir Putin be assassinated?

Indeed, even some US Senators have publicly stated that that someone in Russia needs to a ssassinate President Putin to end the war in Ukraine.

Yet despite Whitehouse denials, the US government do have skin in the tyrant-killing game.

Facebook is now warning its users not to share posts calling for the death of a head of state…

And there are reports that Putin – now being described by world leaders as a murderous war criminal – is “extremely paranoid” about being assassinated.

But is it okay to kill a president? Is there ever an ethical case to kill tyrants?

To discuss this and the concept of tyrannicide I’m joined by Shannon Brincat – Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of the Sunshine Coast…

Scott Morrison’s Mancurian Candidate – Interview with Dr Denis Muller

INTERVIEW with Denis Muller – Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne

Conversation Article: Scare-mongering on China is a threat to our democracy, and responsible media must guard against it – Denis Muller

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese of being a Mancurian Candidate in Parliament last month, it caused a ruckus across the media.

But just what is a Mancurian Candidate? And how does hyper-partisan, gutter politics undermine the notion of democracy?

RTRFM’s Allan Boyd caught up with Journalism guru Dr Denis Muller to find out more…

During the final sitting days of federal Parliament last month, we witnessed a feverish attack by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Labor party leader Anthony Albanese.

In what has been described by ASIO boss Mike Burgess as the “weaponisation of national security”, Mr Morrison – and defence minister Peter Dutton – unleashed an unprecedented tirade on Albanese – suggesting China had chosen the Labor leader as their preferred candidate – indeed that members of the opposition front bench are “Manchurian candidates”

To discuss the merits of a Manchurian Candidate and the role of the media in all this – and maybe a bit more – I’m joined by media and journalism guru, Dr Denis Muller – from The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism.

Denis argues in a recent Conversation article that Morrison and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation are attempting to do to Australia’s democracy what Murdoch and Donald Trump did to America’s between 2016 and 2021…

How to spot viral footage in the fog of war – Interview with Prof Daniel Angus

Interview with Daniel Angus – Professor of Digital Communication, Queensland University of Technology.

Conversation Article: Fake viral footage is spreading alongside the real horror in Ukraine. Here are 5 ways to spot it

Amid the disturbing images of Russia’s ongoing invasion into Ukraine, millions of people have consumed fake and even deliberately false information about the conflict on social media feeds and even on credible news outlets. How can we tell what is fake and what it real?

To discuss the concept of fake viral footage, especially in times of crisis, RTR’s Allan Boyd caught up with Professor Daniel Angus from Queensland University of Technology…

Russia’s invasion into Ukraine has exposed us to some shocking footage – but in the fog of war many of us may even have consumed misleading, manipulated or false information on our social media feeds…

And as a recent episode of ABC’s Media Watch has shown, some fake footage has appeared on the nightly news bulletins on Seven news, Ten’s The Project and even ABC’s 730 …

Indeed – due to of their persuasive, attention-grabbing nature – visuals can be a convincingly powerful tool for those seeking to misinform.

Disinformation and propaganda campaigns aim to distract, confuse, manipulate and spread division and doubt in the community.

So – How is this fake content created and spread, what’s being done to debunk it, and how can you ensure you don’t fall for it yourself?

I’m joined by Daniel Angus – Professor of Digital Communication at the Queensland University of Technology – to find out more…



Russian cyber war – Interview with Prof Paul Haskell-Dowland

Interview with Paul Haskell-Dowland – Professor of Cyber Security Practice, Edith Cowan University

Conversation Article: As Russia wages cyber war against Ukraine, here’s how Australia (and the rest of the world) could suffer collateral damage

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has urged Australians to be on high alert following the Russian military invasion into Ukraine.

As Ukrainian cities came under sustained attack from Russian forces, the country also suffered an ongoing campaign of cyber attacks.

Before the conventional land, sea and air strikes – around 70 government websites were temporarily down – the biggest cyber assault on Ukraine in years.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre says there is heightened cyber risk globally, and the threat of cyber attacks on Australian networks has increased.

While there is no specific intelligence relating to a cyber attack on Australia, this may change quickly.

At the same time, a campaign is underway among the hacktivist collective Anonymous, calling on its global army of cyber warriors to target Russia.

So, to discuss what is a cyber attack and why we should be concerned, I’m joined by cyber security expert Paul Haskell-Dowland – who is the Professor of Cyber Security Practice at Edith Cowan University.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison loose with the truth – Interview with Denis Muller

Interview with Denis Muller – Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne

Conversation Article: Is Morrison gaining a reputation for untrustworthiness? The answer could have serious implications for the election

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been in the media lately over his reputation of being loose with the truth. And with a federal election looming how will his reputation play out in the media? RTR’s Allan Boyd caught up with journalism guru Denis Muller to discuss…

The reputation of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been under fire recently after accusations of lying by French President Emmanuel Macron over a failed submarine contract.

This was immediately backed up by ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull, who told journalists that Mr Morrison had lied to him often – saying: “Scott has always had a reputation for telling lies.”

Even Morrison’s media supporter Andrew Bolt recently called Morrison a fake and a fool.

Indeed, topics on which Morrison has made false or incorrect statements are rife across current media…

So is Morrison gaining a reputation for untrustworthiness? And does this bring into question the incumbent PM’s integrity as the government rolls into the theatre of an upcoming federal election…

To discuss this, I’m joined by Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne – and all-round media guru Dr Denis Muller.


Further reading: A dossier of lies and falsehoods – How Scott Morrison manipulates the truth – Crikey

More prison time for less crime – Interview with Dr Stephen King

Australia is locking up a record number of people. Our detention rate has grown steadily since the 1980s and is now around its highest level in a century.

According to research by the Australian Productivity Commission there are over 40 000 Australians in prison. And many more flow through the prison system each year.

And it is expensive.

Imprisonment costs around $330 per prisoner per day and – on average – costs taxpayers about $120,000 per prisoner per year.

That’s about $5.2 billion in total.

However, as imprisonment rates have increased by about 25% in the past decade – the rate of offending has dropped 18%.

Put simply, crime is down, but more and more people are being locked up.

So how can it be that we have less crime but more people in prison?

It’s the conundrum at the heart of a recently released Productivity Commission research paper entitled Australia’s Prison Dilemma.

Joining me now is Stephen King – Adjunct professor at Monash University – and Commissioner with the Australian Productivity Commission…

Why is it that so many people are being locked up, yet crime rates appear to be dropping?

Gladys Berejiklian cancels daily COVID press conference – Interview with Denis Muller

Last week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced an end to the state’s daily COVID press conferences – as it documented record new infections and deaths. Instead, she said, the government would provide prepared videos.

Despite surging numbers and her locked-down constituents suffering mental anguish – the Premier said she would abandon the daily opportunities for politicians and health authorities to be questioned by journalists in person – stating “I will turn up when I need to”…

The move has been described as a serious abrogation of responsibility, a dereliction of duty  – especially as these regular face-to-face events may be the only opportunity to hold the government to account during the current crisis, when lock-down decisions are made by a small group of ministers in secret.

On the other hand, some suggest that the end of daily COVID pressers may be bad news for journalists it, it might be good for journalism.

To discuss this, I’m joined by journalism expert Denis Muller – Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne…

How do you see this move by the NSW Premier to stop the daily press conference? Is this hindering the role of the Fourth Estate? What even is the fourth estate?

High Court rules media outlets liable for Facebook comments – Interview with Dr David Rolph

80 percent of Australians are social media users – Yet while platforms like Facebook, Insta and twitter may indeed connect and inform us – enabling us to share content and comments about content – it is also a place for offensive commentary.

We’ve all seen or been victims of hurtful, defamatory troll comments – often by anonymous users.

What do we mean by defamatory? Anything that could injure a person’s reputation can be defamatory. So, if a comment on Facebook brings a person into contempt, disrepute or ridicule, that maybe considered defamatory – and has legal ramifications.

But who is liable for defamatory comments?

Last week, in a landmark case, the high court ruled that media outlets are legally responsible as the “publishers” of user comments on their Facebook pages.

And this decision could have far-reaching consequences for social media users throughout Australia.

In essence anyone who runs a social media page can hypothetically be sued over derogatory comments — even if you aren’t aware of the comment…

To discuss this I’m joined by Dr David Rolph – Professor of Law, University of Sydney.

More Australian Students Contract cheating – Interview with Dr Guy Curtis

According to a newly published report, it seems 1 in 10 Australian University students are paying others to do their assignments. RTR’s Allan Boyd caught up with senior lecturer Guy Curtis to discuss the concept of Contract Cheating…

New research shows that 10 percent of Australian university students are contract cheating – four times the rate than previously thought.
Contract cheating involves paying other people to do your uni work and then submitting it as if it were your own. This practice includes sitting exams and essay-writing – referred to as ‘ghost-writing’. And it seems the practice is on the rise…

Incidents of contract cheating have hit the media, such as the MyMaster scandal which involved thousands of students employing a Sydney company to write essays and assignments for them – as well as sit online tests – and paying up to 1000 bucks for the service.

And whilst previous research has suggested between 2 and 4 percent of Australian university students handed in work written by contractors – new research suggests it’s more like 10 percent – and they’re getting away with it.

To discuss this, I’m joined by Dr Guy Curtis – Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology, at UWA… whose article was published in the Conversation.

Identify and Disrupt – Interview with Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker

The so called Identify and Disrupt bill was recently passed by the federal government. It enables officers to covertly hack into your online accounts, impersonate you and disrupt or modify your data. Indymedia’s Allan Boyd caught up with Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker – Nyungar technologist and digital rights activist currently serving on the board of Electronic Frontiers Australia.

Last month a federal government bill to create new police powers to spy on criminal suspects online, disrupt their data and take over their accounts was passed in the senate.

The Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill proposes, among other things, that officers could take control of an online account and impersonate someone.

The bill allows officers to disrupt data by modifying, adding, copying or deleting information in order to frustrate suspected criminal activity.
The government claims the new powers would mainly target terrorists, paedophiles and drug traffickers operating online.

Despite the intention to catch bad guys, and with some limited amendments, digital rights activists are not convinced the bill goes far enough to protect vulnerable internet users.

To help us understand what’s going on here I’m joined by Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker – Nyungar technologist and digital rights activist currently serving on the board of Electronic Frontiers Australia, and campaigner for human rights across movements…

Here’s a really good discussion with Dr Monique Mann and Angus Murray on the efa website.