Wednesday June 13, 2012 7:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Yet another revelation of the damaging fallout of Sara Ferguson's Four Corners program about people smuggling in Australia has come to light this morning in a report by Michael Gordon in The Age. The ABC should immediately start an inquiry into the level of balanced reporting by Four Corners and about the human damage the program has caused in the lives of those targeted, secretly filmed and, as Gordon now reports, opportunistically targeted by Four Corners," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"It was obvious from the start that "Captain Emad" is a highly protected informant for the AFP - living nicely in Canberra in government housing, but this was not known to, nor explored or discovered by Four Corners. There are now three critical responses by senior Australian journalists to the Four Corners program. The Australian's Denis Shanahan reported comments by a "leaker", probably someone inside AFP, trying to discredit the Four Corners program; Jack Waterford, working for the Canberra Times, asked a number of critical questions the Four Corners program failed to address in its sensational program; and today Michael Gordon provides direct evidence of Four Corners' opportunistic and secret targeting of innocent residents without their knowledge and without an opportunity for redress or the right to reply in his report about Hazara refugee Ali Rezaiee," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Michael Gordon's report provides the evidence that Four Corners has acted ruthlessly and callously in their quest for sensational reporting - where respect for the presumption of innocence has been unimportant, and where Four Corners disregards the damage to people's lives, reducing it to "collateral damage" in the making of stories. This is a disgusting degradation of journalistic standards by Four Corners."
"The ABC should immediately start an Inquiry into the conduct of Four Corners in the making of this story under terms of reference that includes the ABC's Code of Ethics, while Executive Producer Sue Spencer should immediately stand down pending the outcome of that Inquiry."
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]