Journalism and Responsibility
On Monday 22nd of February, Paul Sheehan, an Australian reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) released a double page spread about an Australian woman named Louise. She claimed to have been brutally assaulted and raped by a group of men from a specific ethnic minority group. In the article the sub-heading stated, “We’ll never know the scale of the rape epidemic in Sydney”.
Louise’s story was later shown to be fictitious.
The article was then retracted by the SMH, but the stigma associated with the ethnic minority group is likely to remain, just like the stigma has remained with refugees and asylum seekers from the “Children Overboard Scandal”. The damage created by the media is difficult to reverse.
This is because such stories conjure up horrifying images in the minds of readers and whilst reading the article, the readers believe the information that they are consuming is fact. The initial shock value of these stories has a real affect in the mind of the reader; it virtually imprints itself like an un-washable stain.
The ABC’s “Media Watch” recently investigated the SMH report and showed an Australian woman speaking at a Reclaim Australia rally at Martin Place on April 4th 2015. This was Louise telling the same story that Sheehan reported in the SMH in February 2016. To call the story “news” is debatable.
To add insult to injury in this saga, the SMH printed a small apology (of 99 words) in the bottom corner of page 2 on the following Wednesday. That’s right: the lie takes up two pages and the truth gets 99 words.
The most basic form of modern racism makes people from minority ethnic backgrounds invisible. A more sinister form of racism makes people visible through negative acts.
Even if the SMH story was true it would still be a form of racism to nominate the ethnicity of the men because it’s really not important. If the story happened to be true, then the rapists are still rapists regardless of their ethnic or cultural background.
To make any impact on achieving racial equality, journalists need to play their role: to tell real stories as they happened, and without prejudice. After all, racism stops with every single one of us.
Reports of racism on public transport are increasing, however this doesn’t mean there is an actual increase in racist incidences. Reports of incidences are increasing because more people have smartphones and it seems they are willing to use them to record evidence of fellow citizens behaving in an illegal or abusive manner. It is also due to an increase in people learning why it is important to speak up when they witness racism and appropriate ways in which to do so.
Our Director Dr Yin Paradies was interviewed by Radio National on 2 April 2013 about this most recent incident of racism on a bus in Sydney’s inner west.
All Together Now’s Managing Director, Priscilla Brice-Weller, was interviewed by The Telegraph for their breaking story MP’s son in cyber racist rant.
THE son of Labor’s [NSW] state energy spokesman has been caught posting abuse and racist tirades on his Facebook page, at one point even comparing Muslims with “dogs”.
All Together Now believes that regardless of whether your parent is an MP or is a blue collar worker; whether they have a PhD or didn’t finish highschool … there is no legitimate excuse for racism.
All Together Now also believes that racism is unwarranted regardless of whether somebody says something racist on Facebook or in any other location.
We’ve recently heard about several incidences of racism on public transport, including the infamous incident in Melbourne last November. Here’s some tips about how you can speak up if you do happen to witness racism in a public place.
Racism on the bus by All Together Now is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You are welcome to download (PDF) and print this infographic providing you observe this license.
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This video went viral after showing some passengers making profanely racist taunts coupled with threats of violence towards a group of French women. This incident took place on a Melbourne bus on Remembrance Day.
A Melbourne comedian who witnessed what happened has uploaded the video online because he wanted to ”make these guys to feel embarrassed”.
As more and more footage emerges of the racist tirade, Victoria Police is now actively looking for the perpetrators as all Australian states and territories have laws against racial vilification.
All Together Now firmly condemns this racial rant. This kind of incident happens much too often and if the video had not been uploaded, the perpetrators would have remained unaware of the consequences of their acts. Racism is an everyday occurrence for people with a different skin color or a different accent or a different look.
By speaking up when witnessing racial abuse, you show that you are not a part of the mob. You stand up for your values and you make Australia a better country. You can help us to spread the word by LIKING us on Facebook and by subscribing to our e-newsletters.