Sunday, 25 October 2009

ABC journalism plumbs new depths

Here's the headline from this ABC news article:

And here's the opening paragraph:
Afghans held at an Australian-funded immigration detention centre in Tanjung Pinang, a town on an island south of Singapore, allege they are beaten at night.
Now, a reasonable person would read the headline and the opening paragraph and draw the conclusion that Australia is funding a 'Guantanamo-style' detention centre.

The article continues:
It is the same place where 78 asylum seekers aboard the Oceanic Viking are being taken.

Speaking from behind barred windows, an Afghan man calling himself only Hashim shouted out that there were currently about 80 men inside the Tanjung Pinang detention centre.

It is believed to be capable of holding up to 600 people but to date, 200 has been the maximum held there at any one time.

Hashim said he was from Kandahar but most of the men inside were ethnic Hazaras, and that there were also some Sri Lankans inside.

He said they had been there from two to six months. While they received three meals a day, he said there was no air conditioning or television and nowhere for them to exercise.

"Sometimes the immigration people take some people during the night," Hashim shouted.
Let's get this straight. They are being detained in a facility at one-third capacity, so no problem with overcrowding, are getting three square meals a day while at the same time complaining about no air-conditioning or TV?

Nearly halfway through the article and we're yet to get any evidence of the beatings. So how do we know they happened?

Let's continue:
Asked whether they were beaten, he replied, "Yes. There isn't any human rights. We aren't getting any human rights."
Get that?
"Asked whether they were beaten..."
A journalist asked whether they were beaten? Why the hell would he do that? He has plucked the question out of his arse, got the answer he wanted and then used it as a headline for his article.

Just when you think that journalism is at its nadir the ABC manages to plumb new depths.

How about this for a headline?

"Detainees fed three meals a day, receive medial care, complain about no TV"

(Nothing Follows)


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