Mood: don't ask
The ABC Law Report have run a confronting and important story this morning on Radio National Tuesday 25 Nov on the vexed and awful subject of child sexual abuse, with web entry here:
Monday 24 November 2008|
The Australian news media never publish or broadcast the names of survivors of sexual assault and child abuse unless they have the express permission of the victims. But what about other publications like non-fiction books and diaries?Seems the National Library have published this diary with admissions of leading artist and intellect Donald Friend of child sex.
Legal issues relate to potential defamation of the now adult victims in Bali, a fairly vague suggestion of deceptive conduct regarding lack of consent for the publication under Trade Practices, and even profits of crime being child prostitution in 1960ies and 70ies.
Given the Henson furore this programme will only add to the intense moral and emotional debate. Beware of moral panic we say, but then don't censor the real history either.
We spoke to one expert commentator about this and was told that child protection campaigner, and possibly ALP political aspirant (?) Hetty Johnson has quoted this artist Friend as an example of misplaced tolerance for child abuse. Bali where these criminal acts occurred has strict laws for decades against child prostitution including convictions back to the 1930ies.
The show also mentioned how Margaret Olle ws given the opportunity to edit publication of her mentions (unrelated issue of excessive drinking) in the diary by the Australian National Library, but the now grown child victims of Friend were not. That sounds rough.
Anyway we blog on this because the show will archive the transcript in due course and will feed into a serious legal, political and moral debate ongoing, with implications for governance and power relations, which is our constant focus.
Given the location of the crimes it could even morph into another aggravation between extreme Islam in Indonesia and Australia.
And watching episode 2 of The Howard Years last night we were struck again by the dynamic of Australia aiding East Timor out of the clutches of power mongering Indonesian colonialism. We recall all that Media Monitors work at that time in late 1999 of ultra murderous violence and even calling the White House and the New York Times wanting to complain about lack of US support.
We travelled in Bali as an innocent tourist in July 2002 for 4 days Kuta to Ubud and Lovinna. We hired a bicycle riding into the sprawling Denpassar market place to much amusement and somehow we were reminded of East Timor locals going about their business in the tropics. Months later arguably the political payback for East Timor came with bombing of tourists in Kuta in Sept 2002 - with 200 dead. Some cruel locals, possibly apocraphyl at nearby Lombok were heard to joke "Aussie BBQ" but actually it was mostly Balinese and Indonesian victims. May they rest in peace.
Now we live in the age of ascension of coloured US president Barak Obama, which hopefully will take alot of pressure off in Indonesian politics and marginalise the extremists.