This is a printer friendly page
Free for educational use
Video clip synopsis – Stuart Cunningham talks about how and why Australian content has changed over the last 40 years.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 5min 52sec
Tags - broadcasting, change and continuity, consumers, creativity, culture, digital technology, emerging technologies, identity, media and society, media convergence, technological change, technology and society, see all tags



How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 indymedia_pr.mp4 (43.3MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 indymedia_bb.mp4 (20.4MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

About the Video Clip


This interview with Stuart Cunningham was recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

Stuart Cunningham is Professor and Director of the Creative Industries Research & Applications Centre at the Queensland University of Technology. You can view his full biography at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Area of study 3. New media

This area of study focuses on the social consequences of the emergence of new media technologies. The creative implications of new media technologies are considered in the context of the capabilities of the technologies, their relationship with existing media, how they provide alternative means of representation and distribution of media products. Their cultural significance is investigated in terms of how they challenge and alter our perception of the world through the media products that can be produced and consumed, and the changes, possibilities and concerns that may arise in society.

Technological advancements in the media occur within the context of the society in which they are created, developed and used. Such developments, therefore, not only affect media products themselves but also change the processes involved in production, distribution and consumption. In many instances they may also influence the nature of the reality (the event) being depicted by the media; for example, digital imaging techniques have allowed the manipulation (that is altering, distorting, mutating and reshaping) of photographic representations. The convergence of new media technologies, digitisation, computerisation and high-speed data transfer create new pathways for the transmission, exchange and storage of both existing and new forms of information and entertainment. Issues such as ownership, copyright, privacy and access gain new significance in terms of the relationship between media technology and the circulation of representation.

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


We are proud of our ANZAC heritage and our traditions of mateship and comradeship. As a nation, we boast that we champion the underdog and give battlers a fair go. It is something of an irony that Australia’s traditional media – commercial broadcasters and print media – have been controlled for a long time by just a few family dynasties. There is little doubt that free speech gets 'filtered’ or restricted. Voices of dissent potentially hold back, fearing Australia’s libel and defamation laws. In this context, the Internet offers an alternative for people with something to say. Anyone with access to a computer can publish and broadcast on the Net. Libel laws may apply equally to the Web. But in cyberspace, who’s to say what’s true and what’s false?

In cyberspace, anybody can broadcast a message. Broadcasters on the Web are not subject to the controls of newspaper publishers, or radio and television licensees. This freedom has seen an explosion of independent media – or 'indymedia’ – sites on the Web.

The indymedia movement started with coverage of the World Trade Organisation protests in Seattle, USA in November 2000, and has grown into a network of portals to media hubs that defy national boundaries. The movement is founded on the premise that everyone is a witness, and everyone is a journalist.

“Indymedia centres have now sprung up all over the globe … within minutes photographs, text, video and audio material can be uploaded for all to see, reply to and add to within the one website. Unlike radio, television and newspapers where feedback is slow or non-existent, electronic forums such as this ensure quick interaction among all participants. Indymedia has been successful in empowering citizens by generating spaces for interaction at the local, national, and global level rather than being constrained to the specific representations by large media institutions.” [Gibson & Kelly, Arena magazine]

“The Oceania Indymedia network sees the process of building regional indymedia hubs as a means to work towards the linking of struggles, actions and celebrations, locally, regionally and globally. We hope this initiative will further the democratic process within the indymedia network through the creation of both regional media production and decision making structures.” [Oceania Indymedia website]

Indymedia sites are maintained for most Australian States, and these network via Oceania Indymedia. To publish, contributors work through their local indymedia site. Indymedia sites in Australia feature local stories on a broad range of issues: racism, migration, climate change, ecology, forestry, uranium mining and nuclear energy, the economy, human rights, work, health, gender and culture. The sites also cover local responses to global news and issues like the 'war on terror’, Third World debt, world health, and the global environment.

Classroom Activities


Answer the following questions from the Video Clip Context and the video clip itself:

  1. What does Stuart Cunningham mean by “blurring the pro-am divide”?
  2. Does Stuart Cunningham see the amateur as equal to the professional? How many media creation devices such as a digital camera do you own?
  3. Think of an issue you would like brought to the public’s attention. How would you create awareness and what media would you and your friends use?

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.