Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dear Media Watch

After watching the final episode of Media Watch for the season I am left confused as to when you deem free speech appropriate and when you do not. Last week in yet another bashing of the proposed anti-terror laws, you referenced Tony Jones’ point blank assistance of paperback icon John Pilger in promoting the deaths of Australians service men fighting in Iraq (wherein, Tony only asks the question because he knows the response he’ll get):

Tony Jones: “Can you approve in that context the killing of American, British or Australian troops who are in the occupying forces?”
John Pilger: “Well yes, they're legitimate targets. They're illegally occupying a country.”

On your own independent legal advice, the new anti-terror laws would (rightly) deem such an interview as seditious:

“In our view it would be open to construe Pilger’s words as urging or inviting any person to engage in the conduct of the forceful elimination of Australian troops and their defeat in Iraq. There would certainly be an arguable case sufficient to place the evidence and surrounding circumstances before a jury.”

Nevertheless, Lateline is content to give Pilger an uncontested platform (and then Media Watch staunchly comes to his defence when Foreign Minister Downer criticizes the ABC for airing it!). I understand that Lateline, Media Watch and the ABC’s producers have an agenda to promote, and that this agenda is in line with Pilger’s comments. My issue with Media Watch (today) however, is not with your agenda per se but rather your hypocrisy.

You seemed somewhat impatient to defend Pilger’s opinions and his right to voice them, but then last night in a story bashing radio presenter Bob Francis and his criticism of the judicial system you demand he apologize, be silenced and even locked up!

Bob Francis: “They’re even thinking about bail, the judge. The judge saying to "let him into the community without a psychiatric examination would be irresponsible". Irresponsible! Oh, smash the judge’s face in!”

Liz Jackson: “Threatening physical violence against a judicial officer is a serious criminal offence, and canvassing views about the guilt of people still before the courts can be contempt.”

I agree, threatening a judicial officer with violence is a serious criminal offence- but so is treason! Pilger wants Australian troops slaughtered in Iraq and you announce him a hero. Francis uses a colloquial expression and you want him locked up? My question then is: is free speech only to be defended when Media Watch agrees with the opinion voiced? Why are right wing opinions so less valued then left wing rhetoric?


Matt Canavan said...

I've got no problem with media watch targeting right-wing thugs: they satisfy a market niche just as The Daily Telegraph does for those wanting to bash left-wing thugs.

The problem is that the ABC is taxpayer funded. I don't want my taxes going to the production of biased, unorginal and uninformative rants. The sooner the ABC is sold off the better.

Timothy Bradley said...

(Did you note the time it took you to write down that rant on your flex sheet?)

I agree with you 100% Matt. But in the mean time, while the ABC is still public, its programming must adhere to some standard. If you don't like the Telly- you can vote with your wallet.

Anonymous said...

What the hell???

You're just a right wing bloody extremist. The ABC is right wing enough. I mean, how many times do we have to put up with those Government politicians on the telly. And there's enough right wing crap on the media too, that I think media watch does a very good job thankyou very much.
You talk about wasting tax payers money, but don't you work for a uni getting paid tax payers money to stare out the window and eat dohnuts all day long??? Talk about hypocritical.
And basketball, just another bloody yankee game for bloody dopes. Yeah good one, ya bloody drongo!!!

Surfy Pete said...

I disagree with the comments of the anonymous person. Whats wrong with a little bit right wing influence indeed. As for those other ridiculous comments...absoultely rediculous. Mr anonymous is even too cowardly to put up his/her real name. You hear that Mr anonymous? Fair dinkum, it's enough to make a grown man go and have a proper cry.

Gerrod Walters said...

Now look here surfy Pete. I don't know what's got into you, but this crying business, what's that all about? Bloody fairy. Spose you're one of those people who like playing touch footy instead of the real thing!!
Ohhh and check out the name on the badge man...

Meadows said...

As far as I’m concerned ABC is centre left, far cry from right wing. Look at all the foreign correspondent/compass rubbish which tries to tell us that these so called “religious fundamentalists” are fine and we should get along with them. No, sorry, but no. Anonymous and Matt, shame, shame

Matt Canavan said...

anonymous said:
"You talk about wasting tax payers money, but don't you work for a uni getting paid tax payers money to stare out the window and eat dohnuts all day long???"

True, but the ANU economics faculty only occasionally produce "biased, unorginal and uninformative rants."

Rose Williamson said...

Firstly, in response to previous comments made, I think it is important to state that the media has a central democratic role that must be kept separate from the money making world of the commercial media, so lets stop with this nonsense regarding the privatisation of the ABC.

The essential problem with the article in question is that it relates to two very different and incomparable matters. One being the comments made by extreme right-wing radio announcer, Bob Francis, and the other, a matter of opinion regarding international law. Bob Francis has a reputation for his ‘unique style’ as diplomatically stipulated by Paul Bartlett, General Manager FIVEAA. However the fact is that Bob Francis verbally incited violence against a man who was quite simply discharging his duties as magistrate within the boundaries of the law.

The public opinion regarding the Iraq was split in Australia and within the realms of the international community. I am not saying that John Pilger’s views are justified or even reasonable. However, there is a significant difference between threatening physical violence against a judicial officer and a opinion regarding the legitimacy of an international war.