SOAPBOX: News sources shouldn't be paid to speak out
CAN an interview really be objective or "news" if someone is paid to give it?
It's always troubled me how some television shows and magazines pay for people to tell their story.
And this trouble has once again surfaced with rumours the Italian girls in the custody dispute were offered money - some have said as much as 10,000 Euros - for their tell-all conversation on 60 Minutes.
As I had been watching this case since it first unfolded on the Sunshine Coast two-and-a-half years ago, naturally I was going to watch the program.
And I was relieved to hear the girls seemed to have found some kind of peace. That relief was short-lived after claims the girls had been "coached" by their father.
I have never supported either side in this protracted and deeply sad marital spat over children.
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It has been disturbing to watch how their emotions have been played out on national television, and it continues to worry me this fight seems far from over.
But what worries me further is that someone, somewhere has pocketed money for talking.
I don't believe media organisations should ever have to pay someone to speak.
The mother initially used the services of an expensive publicist, Max Markson, to share her stories.
And it continues now, seemingly through the father.
60 Minutes refuses to discuss whether or how much it pays for interviews. I believe it is time for this to change.
All media should be required by law to disclose at the beginning of a program whether payment was made. There needs to be a clear line between stories that are from the heart, and stories dictated by purse strings.