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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 5 December 2008
Bidgood MP did good on Aminov protest photos, no risk
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: big media
MP apologises to petrol protestor
Pictures above and below from Sydney Daily Telegraph: Immolation prevented ... AFP officers douse Marat Aminov with water.
There have been some interesting developments over the "controversial" Aminov protest pictures sold to the Sydney Daily Telegraph for charity.

The photo was of police well in control of the situation. Indeed the picture may have headed off an actual suicide bid by leading to the coverage the protester so desperately wanted. Who really knows?

We covered this issue in our penultimate post around PM Office control games, rival big media punishment tactics, and the role of every citizen to do community media.


We have contributed to a Crikey.com.au string by media expert Margaret Simmons along these lines:


Ailie Bruins
Thursday, 4 December 2008 3:12:22 PM
An MP takes a photo of a protester and it is used by a newspaper. The message of the protester is lost in the beat up about the MP.

What was the man protesting about? What drove him to such lengths that he tried to set himself alight outside parliament?

The story that the MP has committed some heinous transgression smacks of spin and media management.

Perhaps the MP’s biggest sin was that he excluded Fairfax . Or, was it because he circumvented the middleman in the modern ‘news’ cycle — the public relations / media professionals. So PR flexed its mighty muscles and the MP copped it.


Tom McLoughlin
Thursday, 4 December 2008 3:46:52 PM
Well said Ailie. After hearing AM but before looking at the Sydney press I made it my business to address this story in the framework of CENSORSHIP of community media and that's what it is really about.

"Insensitive, inappropriate"? For taking a picture invited by the protest to promote his own profile. Get real. Of course it was okay to take pictures. Then was it wrong to ask for money? Well there is no doubt someone was going to buy his intellectual property in the Big Media. And that's what it was - intellectual property. So it was only a question of price and who should ethically benefit.

On principle I don't think there is any objection to him profiting from his own work EXCEPT that he was in harness as an MP and therefore on our tab. So he was wise to donate it to charity. If he had been out of hours, or on holidays it would have been fine.

I reported the basic claims of the Aminov's on my blog on 19 October ....2007, with a picture via, from memory, an email from Jamal Daoud, who is quoted in the news this week. 14 months ago. It's here again today www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

That's how pathetic the govt department DIAC have been. But the attempt to sanction Bidgood (who 'did good' amplifying the humanitarian protest as any decent photographer, blogger, indy media, or agitator would have), sanction by the PM's office is all about fear of the policy and politics of refugees, detention and stateless people.

To dress it up as wrong is pure ALP machine stock standard emotional violence in the name of playing the angles. In my humble opinion the rest is sophistry and internal Big Media rivalry.

I rang Bidgood's phone about 9.30 a.m. and left a message as above as they were in hiding. I can just imagine the staffer listening as the calls came in. I also left a message at the Telegraph's editorial desk., and Senator Hanson Young, Greens. And the Bidgood angle of the story has been killed stone dead, amen whether by coincidence or Big Govt shame.


Tom #2
Thursday, 4 December 2008 3:59:32 PM
In fact only recently the Big Media in their maddening hypocrisy praised the "beautiful" snapshots taken by a bevvy of MP's from Bob Brown/Greens to the MP for Wannon David Hawker (which covers my old home town of Warrnambool). Some pics good, some pics bad? What a load of nonsense. We are all media practitioners now - get used to it Big Media and show due respect while you're at it.

They really get my goat with their holier than thou exclusive role and airs and graces. Too dumb to do law or medicine more like it:

"Pollies on other side of the camera" Sydney Sun Herald, Kerry-Anne Walsh
November 16, 2008


Tom #3
Thursday, 4 December 2008 4:10:08 PM
... and then there was the poltiical cartoonists on the tv the other day with their exhibition of superb works - http://www.nma.gov.au/media/media_releases_index/political_cartooning_exhibition_wraps_up_2008/

Guess what - first prize is $1,000

Conclusion: Anyone can create an image and profit from it, cash or in kind (often worth alot more in career terms). Some even do it while moonlighting.


Thursday, 4 December 2008 4:17:15 PM

It's not illegal. It's not unethical. It's not immoral.
The protester sought it.

The media constantly asks us to submit our photos.

Is there a list of people that are not allowed to submit their photos?


Tom #4
Thursday, 4 December 2008 4:21:22 PM
My last word on this I swear - the cops were there obviously doing the security as per their expertise. For Joe Hockey or anyone (like those dunces Cato and Timbo on spindoctors abc sydney this morning) to say the MP shouldn't record a serious political statement/action is just bizarre. That would really be wrong. That would be an attempt to censor the MP's free speech via his photo image. In the USA they would be howling about PM's Office trying to breach the constitutional rights of his MP.

It's only a matter of charging for the image and who benefits and he's answered that - just like gifts declared and donated to the local orphanage. Talk about silly season kicking in on cue.
Tom McLoughlin
Friday, 5 December 2008 5:15:13 AM
Not so fast Jenny. The MP lacks real politik judgement would be my guess as a "novice" but the question is here did he lack moral judgement? I am totally unconvinced as a 15 year non profit campaigner for community media. I say it was a duty for him to take those pictures. That was the point of the protest. You admit yourself it got the story up and frankly I will be VERY surprised if the Aminov Family are not sorted within a month now.

He got beaten up by the ALP machine running scared of adverse coverage from one sector of the media running tattle tail to the PM's office over the "money" who panicked and forced a grovel statement. That is a media sector who got shut out of access to the image. They took revenge. If he'd shared it equally and even required a donation to charity by all of them none of this would have blown up in my guesstimation.

Last evening the aggrieved sector of the Big Media such as Chris Uhlmann [and we say this despite Walkley award, as well as a good streak of sanctimony as an ex seminarian/ACT independent candidate], on abc tv prime time news again went the biff: Tones dripping with condemnation 'for taking a photo', as if. Karen Middleton of SBS similarly went the biff about 'taking a picture'. Censorship? Right to know? They used the MP's grovel statement as moral 'proof' but it isn't. They levered early MP doorstops who were gulled by biased rival press that morning. It's proof of real politik censorship from his own boss/media rivals.

The biff was compounded as Kerry/7.30 rightly noted 'a video has turned up' further embarrassing Bidgood dated from Oct. So there's the proof. A video irrelevant to the question of mertis of taking 'the photo', cheap emotional violence. Th video ironically was good votes in the evangelical bible quoting North Qld (forget SE Oz comfort zone). And notice Uhlmann's Catholic rivalry.

Wiser heads like Annabel Crabb stood off Bidgood on cross to Richard Glover abc 702 4.45pm, and Brissenden on 7.30 said he was "controversial" to take the pic. It's all about Big Media turf protection! Did the commercials cover it on 9,10, 7? I wonder.


In the mix is this media release from The Greens:

Thursday 4 December 2008

New border protection agency must service human rights

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the Government's new Australian
Customs and Border Protection Service must treat compassionately and
humanely people who arrive by boat to seek asylum in Australia.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the formation of the new agency
today, a day after a boat of 35 suspected asylum seekers was intercepted
off the Western Australian coast and escorted to Christmas Island for

"What kind of service will this new agency be offering to those who need
our assistance and protection?" asked Senator Hanson-Young.

"We cannot forget: it is not illegal to seek asylum. It is a right under
international law."

Senator Hanson-Young said that Australia must learn from the mistakes of
its past immigration policies.

"We have an opportunity to move forward to a more humane, compassionate
approach to the treatment of asylum seekers, and the opportunity to
rebuild Australia's international reputation," she said.

"Let's not allow ourselves to slide back to the dark days of the Howard
and Ruddock immigration regime and all that it brought: Tampa, children
overboard, the reprehensible tragedy of the SIEV-X and more than 200
cases of lawful residents being detained.

"The politics of fear must not cloud our actions on matters of human
rights and justice."

Senator Hanson-Young expressed concern at the detention on Christmas
Island of those who recently arrived on boat.

"Christmas Island's detention facilities should be closed, and we should
do away with this 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind' attitude towards asylum
seekers who arrive by boat.

"All processing of claims for asylum should be done promptly and fairly
on the Australian mainland, where processes can be overseen and
community support services can be more easily accessed.

"The Greens will be closely monitoring the progress of the detainees on
Christmas Island."

Media contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760

Postscript 8th December 2008:

The major party liners on abc 702 radio still push the orthodox emotional violence line against Bidgood MP, and we sent the Cameron Morning show these comments where her own colleagues disagree with their presentation:

Your own Barry Cassidy Insiders yesterday said words to the effect of 'there was no problem with him taking a photo' it was trying to sell it.


Annabel Crabb Sydney Morning Herald in her weekend column effectively said it was inconsistent of Big Media to criticise the sale of photographs of people's suffering.


Brissenden on 7.30 last Thursday refused to go further than to say it was "controversial".


My point is that - it is every citizen's duty to do citizen media of important political actions and statements and Bidgood would have been very wrong to NOT take those pictures. To avoid conveying the message of the protest would have effectively been political censorship.


The projection of Fairfax, ABC, and PM's Office of the idea Bidgood was exploiting suffering of Mr Aminov to make money while police had him under control (Cassidy's point also) is just self serving tosh. For instance the PM's office are dead scared of the refugee/immigration debate keen to shut it down if at all possible. The rival media wanted to punish an MP playing favourites with News Corp.


Having said that Bidgood should have distributed the photographs for free, or by equal donation of all commercial media to charity. Why? Because he was moonlighting from his MP duties on our time.


editor Tom McLoughlin


Posted by editor at 5:25 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 8 December 2008 1:23 PM EADT

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