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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Racist blackface image of Australian Prime Minister by Murdoch broadsheet?
Mood:  energetic
Topic: big media



How very strange to see the above graphic next to an article by a, if not the most, senior conservative political columnist in Rupert Murdoch's broadsheet The Australian, last Friday. Just as the ethics of the News International newspaper are being debated globally over the NotW shut down ..... today.

A colleague from the United States was aghast at the choice of image.

We noticed the newspaper didn't put the image online. Perhaps because they have had terrible trouble in News Corporation with allegations of racism in the past.

Nor is the "black face" graphic acceptable in Australian civil society after the furore over a misjudged skit on a popular tv show here in 2009. Nor for the same reason can ignorance be an excuse for the choice of graphic by big media here. For that incident read here, suggesting a current willful blind to the sensitivities:


Even their own tabloid has this online today:


World covers Hey Hey It's Saturday's red face over blackface Jackson Jive skit

How very inconsistent with the so called higher ethical standard trumpeted the very next page, in the editorial, which surely must be seen as insincere in light of the graphic the other side of the middle line:

The corruption of journalism

BRITISH politicians and journalists have vied to use the strongest possible adjectives to condemn the behaviour of phone-hackers paid by the News of the World.

This newspaper shares their revulsion at practices at the Sunday tabloid owned by News International, a British subsidiary of News Corporation, which publishes The Australian.

Allegations that the mobile phones of a murdered child or the loved ones of terrorist victims were tapped are, quite frankly, sickening. We welcome the Cameron government's move to commission a public inquiry. The claims, which News Corporation's chairman and chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, has stated are "deplorable and unacceptable", follow earlier admissions by the paper that the phones of high-profile people, including the actress Sienna Miller, were also tapped.

This time, ordinary people are involved. Some who had their privacy violated were experiencing extreme trauma at the time, which made them highly vulnerable. In one case, the hackers allegedly intervened in the mobile memory bank, removing messages to influence the "story".

It is true that some of News's rivals have leapt upon the allegations in an effort to block its proposed takeover of BSkyB. It is also the case that in the highly competitive tabloid market in London, cheque-book journalism, the use of illegally obtained phone conversations and other corrupt practices are not unusual. None of this reduces the culpability of those who performed or sanctioned activities that, if proven, would be not just unethical and illegal but also lacking in common decency. The desire for a journalistic scoop may go some way to explain, but can never excuse, such rogue acts.

The Times, also published by News International, this week described the case as a watershed moment for British journalism. We agree, and would go further: the reputation of all journalists is damaged by such behaviour if it goes unchallenged. For the most part, Australian journalists have shown greater respect for the division between private and public lives than their European counterparts. Newspapers here have long eschewed corrupt news-gathering techniques, such as paying police for information. But there is no room for complacency. The fourth estate plays a vital role in civic society but as with every other institution in a democracy, its legitimacy requires public trust.

One might think promoting divisive racially charged graphics is unethical news reportage.

For all News Corp's hand ringing sermonising, there doesn't appear to be any real basis for the trust requested by News Corp from the market place in Australia let alone the United Kingdom.

Posted by editor at 1:29 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 15 July 2011 8:44 AM NZT

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