Monday, May 08, 2006

(East Timor Problems) The role of the international media

I have been absolutely appalled by the degree of misinformation and scare mongering that journalists from Australia, Indonesia and Portugal have engaged in throughout this entire sad episode. I have come to expect this from the Indonesian media as their reporting of Timor is resoundedly inflammatory and inaccurate no matter what the issue. Portugal is represented in Timor by both journalists from their national broadcaster RTP and Lusa. Their reporting has been so so; certainly I would expect better from journos stationed on the ground. The Australian media however has been disgraceful. Not one Australian journalist is based in Timor and instead, temporary visitors arrive when a crisis happens and within hours of stepping off the plane, they write as if they know what’s really going on!
Sadly, I have been most disgusted by old Auntie (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), normally one of my favourite media outlets. Because they are a quality media outlet, my expectations of them are much higher and therefore my condemnation greater. First they sent foreign correspondent Eric Campbell who reported fairly accurately. He was soon replaced by foreign affairs editor Peter Cave who was downright inflammatory and egged on his interviewees as if he personally wanted to see a civil war. Thankfully he has been replaced by (I believe) Maryann Keady who is doing a commendable job.
The ABC Radio Australia current affairs program Connect Asia hosted by Sen Lam, which is aired in Dili from Monday to Friday, 8am to 9am, has done a much better job at reporting what is going on in Timor but is only heard outside of Australia. On the other hand, the supposedly quality broadsheet newspaper The Australian and all other Rupert Murdoch media outlets within Australia have done nothing but report unsubstantiated rumours from afar. I am not aware of one of their journalists actually having visited Timor. Ever heard of the BBC school of journalism that says you must check any information you receive with more than one reliable source? Who do they think they are: armchair war correspondents!

Timorese Australians and Portuguese alike have listened to this deceitful news reporting, quickly got on to their families in Timor and as a result, incited more panic. (If the international media is stating rumours as facts then they must be true!) The international media must take some responsibility for the mass evacuation of Dili and the triggering of the deeply felt traumas of vulnerable people.

I feel like Derryn Hinch saying this but shame, shame, shame!

(See also Minister angry at irresponsible, alarmist and downright deceitful reports.)

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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Now that I read your blog about the role of the international media(which someone sent me) I can see what an idiot you are, that you are a spoiled brat aussie who thinks she knows it all. Grow up!!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:12 am  

I feel this comment is a tad abusive. Could you be a bit more constructive in your criticism rather than personally attacking me? I am not an idiot or a spoiled brat aussie. Feel free to explain what it is you actually disagree with. Thanks.

By Blogger Samantha, at 10:37 am  

After having read your blog, I feel what you are saying about the international media is completely beleivable. It's the same thing they do everywhere else, Haiti, Venezuela....
what I would REALLY love to know tho, is... What is really going on in East Timor & Why?
I am from Toronto (Canada) & we don't hear all that much about it here & based on what the newspapers here say, I get the inpression it's just a bunch of people smashing up themselves & their city for no reason.
Usually when the media reports that, there actually IS a reason & if Australian "peacekeeping" troops are anything like Canada's "peacekeeping" troops then they are probably proping up a corrupt, globalism-friendly, anti-poor government while shooting the civilians who gather to protest this turn of events.
Kinda like our boys did in Haiti a while back.
hmm, is that guess very far off? ( i hope it is)


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:50 am  

oh ya, & don't worry about the above offensive comment, I think you site is great! Good job. Just think of the above offenders comments as being about themself.(he/she is the idiot for simply name-calling, & if they are offended at the thought of the media not reporting 100% truth they obviously live in a very bizarre bubble & deserve our compassion)
Keep it up
Peace !

By Anonymous Marc from Toronto, at 8:59 am  

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