Truth, Power and a Free Press

Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, Canberra
Open daily 9am-5pm

At this new permanent exhibition underneath the old House of Representatives chamber, 12 of Australia’s finest journalists appear as larger-than-life characters – literally.

Richard spoke with Michael Evans, senior historian at MoAD, about the exhibition

They feature in a 210cm (7 ft) – high installation in which the journalists talk about their experiences, from exposing corruption to being imprisoned.

Truth, Power and a Free Press also includes a display of historic news reports and newsgathering equipment. It is housed in in an area once used for Parliamentary broadcasts and by ABC-TV.

The impetus for the exhibition was findings in the Democracy 2025 report by MoAD and the University of Canberra. The report found that in just over a decade, satisfaction with democracy in Australia more than halved, from about 86 per cent in 2007 to 41 per cent in 2018.

It also found that trust in all forms of media had declined since 2016, with a partiuclarly strong decline in trust in web-based media.

The exhibition explores reasons for the global decline in trust in the media, which has been attributed to factors including:

  • ‘truth decay’- a loss of trust in data, analysis and facts, leading to a blurring of opinion and fact, and
  • a proliferation of news sources, which has made it more difficult for people to find trustworthy ones.

The exhibition is a partnership between MoAD and organisations including SBS, ABC, the Google News Initiative and the Nine and Seven networks.