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News media framing of the Murray-Darling Basin 'water theft' controversy


Clifford, K and White, R, News media framing of the Murray-Darling Basin 'water theft' controversy, Journal of Criminology, 54, (3) pp. 365-382. ISSN 2090-7753 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1177/00048658211000094


An Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Four Corners investigation, screened on freeto-air television on 24 July 2017, revealed a series of improper conducts pertaining to the Murray-Darling Basin river system. The journalistic expose included allegations of water theft, questionable compliance decisions and collusion between water regulators and irrigation lobbyists. This interdisciplinary study explores the revelations and their framing in a sample of state and national media reports about the 'water theft' controversy and its fallout. It compares these with the normative frames adopted by critical green criminology, which views the allegations at the heart of the Murray-Darling Basin controversy in terms of statecorporate interests, industry capture of regulators and the notion that water 'theft' constitutes a 'crime' because of the environmental harm that results from excessive water extraction. This article presents the findings of the study, which elaborate on the impacts of media framing of crimes of the powerful (such as large agricultural companies and state government agencies), including the shaping of public understandings of environmental matters.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:environmental harm;Four Corners;media criminology;Murray-Darling Basin;news framing;water governance;water theft
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Criminology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:White, R (Professor Rob White)
ID Code:143521
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2021-03-23
Last Modified:2022-08-23

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