My Response from the Sydney Morning Herald

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Sydney Morning Herald

On the second of February, 2013, I sent an email to the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald(SMH) about their article, “Bourke tops list: more dangerous than any country in the world”, which I viewed as written the context to further pursue the negative image of Aboriginals as drunks, criminals and violent people. I asked for the photos to be removed as they did not fit in with the context of the article. My blog on this matter can be found HERE.

The response I received from the SMH is as follows, dated 4 Feb, unedited;

Dear Earth,

Recently you contacted ReaderLink. The following outlines The Herald’s response:

Thank you for your email. The Sydney Morning Herald is a newspaper  that aims to bring readers current and reliable news from Australia and throughout the world around the clock. The story ‘Bourke tops list: more dangerous than any country in the world’ was part of a three-part series,  one story on Friday was on child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities, one story on crime in Bourke running on p1 on Saturday and 1000 words on problems in the Aboriginal community running in News Review on Saturday. We believe we must agree to  disagree  that we are negatively stereotyping the Aboriginal community by doing this.  As one of the articles said, 80% of juveniles in prison in western NSW are Aboriginal. They are massively over-represented in crime statistics – a problem which the community realises itself. You are correct  that the photos were of Aboriginal kids who were doing nothing wrong. We wrote about this in the news review piece and commented that the fishing and hunting keeps them out of trouble. The photographs should have been uploaded on the story ‘Crying out for a new beginning”
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/crying-out-for-a-new-beginning-20130201-2dq00.html
We have corrected the inadvertent error.

Your interest in Herald Publications is appreciated and has provided us with valuable feedback.
Please quote 00177670 if you wish to contact ReaderLink again.

Regards,
Ben & Peter

 

So that’s a good start, I believe. I am no crusader and this was the first time I have ever taken it up to the media to fix their mistake, not including the time a small local newspaper deliberately reworded a letter I had written in back in the early 90’s but that is an entirely different matter.

While I am not really happy with the wording of the article which I originally wrote about, I am not taking it any further. It could have been written much better such as mentioning that the article was part of a series of articles, not as a stand alone article of which it appeared as to me.

There are people here in Sydney who wonder why I came down here with words of respect for the Aboriginal peoples. I understand their viewpoint as they only time the media really wants to cover them is when they show crime or negligence of some kind. They are not shown that if a gainfully employed Aboriginal person lives in certain areas, they have half of their wages garnished by the Government and are treated as if they going to spend all of their money on booze, drugs and pornography then bash the living shit out of their family. Even if they are not doing any of this at all, that is how they are treated should they live in certain areas. Let’s be honest here. If were experiencing this, we would be protesting and yelling and screaming and abusing our politicians but when it’s the Australian Aboriginal peoples, we seem pretty keen to let them rot and blame them for their situation one hundred percent.

That’s not to say that I don’t believe in self responsibility. I do. I have seen some Aboriginal people do for themselves and some do well. You don’t see it shown by the media nor spoken of by the politicians and such but we do have successful middle class Aboriginals. Good on em. It is time though we stop putting up the barriers that restricts them. Not just the barriers fenced around them either but several other groups in this country which we love to demonise including single parents and those on the Disability Pension.

 

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