Saturday, July 14, 2012

Travel lift-out consulted

Andrew Bolt believes that the political situation in Sri Lanka is sufficiently benign for the Australian government to immediately deport any and all Sri Lankan asylum seekers back to their country of origin.

His basis for this assessment? Why, no lesser authority than the travel lift-out in his newspaper.

The front page today of Escape, the Herald Sun’s travel lift-out, is dominated by a picture of two smiling Sri Lankan children, over the headline “Back to Sri Lanka”.

The report tales [sic] of “endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people”, and notes correctly that “years of war” are “over” and “Sri Lanka’s looking up”.

So why is the Gillard Government still allowing boatloads of “asylum seekers” from Sri Lanka to stay? Are we again being played for suckers?

Well, it may be that his newspaper’s travel lift-out isn’t necessarily a credible source for gauging the political situation in any given country. Here’s the reality behind the rhapsodic spread quoted by Mr Bolt...

Investigations by Human Rights Watch have found that some failed Tamil asylum seekers from the United Kingdom and other countries have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and torture upon their return to Sri Lanka. In addition to eight cases in which deportees faced torture on return reported in February, Human Rights Watch has since documented a further five cases in which Tamil failed asylum seekers were subjected to torture by government security forces on return from various countries, most recently in February 2012.

The above is freely available information from a respected international NGO. I last night emailed Mr Bolt apprising him of this material, requesting his response to the following queries:

  1. Will you inform your readers of the above pertinent information, of which I can only assume you've been completely unaware?
  2. Can you confirm or refute whether the spread in the Herald Sun’s travel liftout, Escape, was or was not paid for by the Sri Lankan government or some agency there of?
  3. If so, would you consider repudiating your blog post (or at least the quotes around the expression: asylum seekers)?

At time of writing, I’ve as yet had no response. Meanwhile, Mr Bolt’s shallow, agenda-pushing idiocy remains on display on his blog for all the world to see.

Doctor Easychair is as he does. Some people, it seems, just have no self-respect.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Putin invoked

Janet Albrechtsen today writes:

[The Finkelstein] report eschewed John Stuart Mill and embraced a Putin-style push where people on the street are treated as too dumb to be left to read newspapers without Big Brother having the power to censor what they read.

On that, Eric Campbell tweeted today: “I’ve covered Putin’s media crackdown for 13 years. It is grotesque to liken it to Australia. This debate has gone beyond stupid.”

Indeed, contrary to Albrechtsen’s febrile godwinesque rhetoric, Finkelstein proposes nothing at all like “Big Brother censorship”. Rather, it proposes a number of options with the aim of improving checks-and-balances on our media that to date, it’s been argued, have been inadequate.

Albrechtsen is free to argue that the current regime of checks-and-balances is quite adequate, hopefully citing real-world examples (that might contribute to something known as debate, Janet). But she chooses instead to jump up and down like a chicken little, hurling semi-Godwins at “them”.

Albrechtsen also observes:

Progressives talk only about fair and balanced speech, whatever that means.

It’s somewhat surprising Albrechtsen should require guidance on the meaning of “fair and balanced,” but there it is in black-and-white. It wouldn’t tax most reasonable people to assess whether a media organisation has taken all reasonable steps to ensure its coverage of serious public policy issues is fair and balanced.

No, this tract by Albrechtsen is just another contribution to the clubby News £td fortress mentality, which fancies itself the intellectual progeny of John Stuart Mill as opposed to being merely Rupert’s trained monkeys.

Labels: , ,