Tuesday July 1, 2008 7:30am WST
For Immediate Release
"The shameless misrepresentation of the facts by the Courier Mail surrounding proposed or not proposed policies by the Rudd government, the misrepresentation of the legality of the visa status of people on the Bridging Visa E, including asylum seekers for whom the BV-E currently represents one of the worst forms of 'economic imprisonment', and the promotion of vilification strategies, purportedly to attract an increase of sales of the Queensland newspaper, calls for a full apology and published retraction as soon as possible," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"As indicated by yesterday's Media Watch, and as pointed out by the Refugee Council of Australia, the intractability of the Courier should be of concern to all reporters and journalists around Australia," spokesman Jack H Smit said. Not only was the original writing by Press Gallery reporter Renee Viellaris factually incorrect, the Courier Mail then proceeded to "ramp up" its direction in a follow-up article the next day."
Media Watch Episode: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2290220.htm
The Refugee Council of Australia's page for the incident: http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/current/mediablunders.html
"It seems that the Courier Mail simply refuses to acknowledge that someone who holds an Australian visa - of whatever type - is not someone with an "illegal" status - even if left aside that the notion of "illegality", so keenly peddled by politicians in recent years, bears no legal foundation in any Australian law."
"It seems that the Courier Mail is determined to choose "sensationalising" of its newspaper's content, not just if it is incorrect, but that it stubbornly, and stupidly, ignores any correction offered to its Editors. The paper damages its own ethical integrity, it damages the notion of "factual justice" amongst its readers, and on all accounts it seems the paper seeks to create its own "online and print-version of the Cronulla riots". Perhaps it needs to be told this by The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Australian Press Council via complaints procedures."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]