This month marks the 2nd anniversary of the Australia News and Features Services (ANFS) website and International News Syndicate (INS) website putting up a statement:
“This site is currently undergoing redevelopment. We apologise for any inconvenience.
It is, however, still business as usual for us here at International News Syndicate Limited.
Please, simply contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org”
The above statement has been putted up by INS on around 30 April 2009, few weeks after I officially lodged a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission, Queensland on 6 April 2009 using the following legal frame work:
Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 have the following legal framework:
Discrimination by industrial, professional, trade or business organisation in membership area
20.(1) An organisation of workers, employers, or people who carry on an industry, profession, trade or business must not discriminate—
(a) in any variation of the terms of membership of the organisation; or
(b) in denying or limiting access to any benefit arising from the membership; or
(c) in depriving a person of membership; or
(d) by treating a person unfavourably in any way in connection with the membership
Discrimination on the basis of certain attributes prohibited
7.(1) The Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of the following attributes—
(j) political belief or activity;
However, the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland has rejected my complaint for a hearing and the person who rejected my complaint didn’t even dare to has his or her name printed underneath the signature.
This 24 months old “….undergoing redevelopment …” statement on INS and ANFS websites is designed to “legally” ban me from accessing their websites as an accredited member to create my personal web listing and feature my articles on their websites for editors to decide by themselves if they want to publish them”. In short, this behaviour by INS implied that INS is in the business of deciding on behalf of editors what they can read and publish. The detail of my true story is here: “How I became an Outcast Journalist in the “FREE” world?
Why the Australian Media totally silent on a case that violated all the basic values of a “Democratic” Society?
The Australian media industry including the ABC’s Media Watch have been totally silent on the implication of this incident to the democratic values of social justice, the rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and most importantly, the independent thinking of journalist in this country.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (I will use the term ‘The Alliance’ from hereon) is an Union for journalists with an officially declared function to assist their member to fight for any unfair and unjust treatment within the industry. However, my complaint to them on 1 Feb 2011 about the above unfair treatment by INS received only a reply on 3 Feb 2011 with a message “Your email has been sent onto my manager to review and respond”. I have since sent them another 2 following up e-mails over the last 10-11 weeks checking the status of my complaint and received no reply. The irony is, one of the Alliance function is to promote Press Freedom, and they are organising a Press Freedom Diner 2011 this month.
Why aren’t the Alliance get back to me about the issue relating to my freedom not to be discriminated by INS as a consequences of my honest pledged in one of my assignment at the Morris Journalism Academy to “expose media disinformation and to defence China and any developing countries against the ongoing media bias and distorting reports”?
Interestingly, four days after the Alliance informed me that “Your email has been sent onto my manager to review and respond”, I receive an unexpected e-mail from another Journalist on the 7 Feb 2011 with the following message:
“Hello Wei Ling.
Or should I say Ni Hao?
I've been looking into joining a course through Morris Academy here in Australia and made a quick search through Google when I found your website.
I could write for hours explaining to you about the reality in Media. And I don't think we can qualify it into Eastern and Western Media, the same way we cannot make that division in continents and traditions. I come from Brazil, where I have been a Journalist for over 15 years. But I don't have any contacts in Sydney, so I think having this qualification here would open doors.
The reality is that Media depends and survives on sponsors - and if they don't like something, they'll stop advertising on a particular vehicle. I was quite disappointed too, at the beginning of my career, trying to denounce dodgy practices of a particular health provider in my country, but that never made the air (I was working in Radio) because the company was one of our sponsors.
I guess your tutor at Morris wasn't able to convey his/her message properly. It would much easier for me if I could read your articles and then have an opinion. I believe what you want to do is VERY important - both for Chinese and other people in order to see that it's not only flowers behind the Great Wall. But the trick is not to put your own opinions, but get other people to validate your ideas, telling facts on what's going on.
(Note: The name of the Journalist won’t be disclosed here in respect of her privacy.)
Is the above unexpected e-mail message from another journalist a coincident or it is a message that The Alliance trying to convey to me through a 3rd party? I am not going to speculate on that as unlike the way many of our mainstream media selling opinion as news or even publishing fabricated stories, I will only present my case consistently in the form of all my previous articles - That is, every statements and examples cited will be supported by reference to the sources.
In another occasion, when I learned from the Alliance weekly Media E-Bulletin on 8 March 2011 with the following message:
“Uniting freelancers: Freelance activists are meeting nationally to discuss the ongoing development of the Alliance’s new freelance contract and website. If you would like to be involved, contact Bede Payne on (02) 9333 xxxx / email: email@example.com” (Note: Phone and e-mail removed for privacy reason).
I then sent Bede Payne an e-mail with the following message:
“I learn about the issue of the “ongoing development of the Alliance’s new freelance contract and website” in the latest e-bulletin from the Alliance. I am a new member with no knowledge of the issue, please provide me the background information about the “ongoing development of the Alliance’s new freelance contract and website”.”
I receive no reply from Bede Payne. I then sent another e-mail a week later and receive no reply again.
No one in the Alliance is able to explain to me what has I done wrong, but I simply receive this kind of cold reception from the industry so far even when I am a financial member. The only person who is honest with me is my tutor at Morris Journalist Academy. To read my tutor comment, please check here.
I am not the only Outcast Journalist in the so-called “Free” world
Global Research, a Canadian based independent media with articles occasionally contributed by leaders in the developing countries who find their voices censored by the ‘mainstream’ or ‘Corporate’ Western Media has the following statements on their recent fundraising campaign:
A few abstract from Global Research fundraising statement: ‘Fight Disinformation! Help Independent Journalists Spread the Truth’ as follows:
“In the mainstream media, the economic crisis is called “recovery”. War is presented as “humanitarian intervention”. Victims are portrayed as aggressors. Fiction becomes fact.”
“The writers who contribute articles to Global Research are dedicated to stopping this tide of disinformation and making real information available. Thanks to their commitment and sacrifice, we can start to change the system through increased awareness.”
“But there is a price for telling the truth. Professional journalists committed to truth in media are invariably penalized by their corporate employers. They are pressured into accepting media disinformation as routine, as part of the job. They are encouraged to skim the surface or to convey half truths.”
“This system rewards mediocrity. Lying brings fame, funding and career advancement. Those who refuse to abide by the standards of the mainstream media are fired, blacklisted and their prospects extinguished. Journalists who have the courage to say the truth find themselves marginalized and excluded, and therefore often driven into poverty. Indeed, a considerable number of journalists who contribute to Global Research find themselves in this predicament.”
Noam Chomsky is a Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written more than 100 books and has received many honorary degrees from about 37 universities around the world. One of his book - ‘Hegemony or Survival’ -which held ground for weeks on the New York Times bestseller list after Hugo Chavez (Current President of Venezuela) praised it during a speech before the United Nations in 2006 (New York Times, 23 Sept 2006). However, due to the nature of his research in exposing the imperial nature of America and the negative impact and suffering across the world as a result of that imperial policies, the mainstream media in America hardly want to publish his work.
In his book ‘Interventions’(2007) under Editor’s Note, I find the following statement:
“...in the months after his (Noam Chomsky) 9-11 hit the New York Times extended bestseller list, Chomsky began producing concise essays, approximately 1,000 words each, distributed by The New York Times Syndicate as op-eds.” “Chomsky’s op-eds have been picked up widely by the international press, but much less so in the United States where “newspaper of record” have declined to publish them. None of the essays distributed by the Syndicate have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post or Boston Globe, ….”
The Reality with the mainstream Media in the so-called “Free” world
The reality in the so-called “Free” world is that, despite International News Syndicate Limited as the parent company of Morris Journalism Academy, The American College of Journalism and The British College of Journalism preached to us that: “Every story, no matter how simple, has innumerable angles. These are the different approaches you might take to it. In writing a topic from one angle as opposed to another, you may of course, uncover more related stories…” and “each of these angles is a story in its own right, yet they are all based on one event. Further exploration could yield even more story ideas,” in practices, it is double standard and hypocrisy that rule the day in our so-called “Free” world.
The print copy of a New Zealander independent Magazine – Uncensored (Issue 16, page 30) have the following quote:
“Newspapers are dying because they became the prostitutes of commercialism and stopped telling the truth. Many people stopped buying newspapers because they become the rags of a corrupt industry. Too many journalists swallowed their pride, ignored their integrity and did what they had to do to pay the mortgage. They followed the marching orders of editors and publishers who forgot, or never knew, what journalism was intended to do.”
Lying brings fame, funding and career advancement
Example 1 (USA)
In the above mentioned Chomsky book ‘Interventions’(2007) under the session ‘Forward’ written by Peter Hart pointing out the following incidents taken place within the American mainstream media industry:
“In 2005, the Los Angeles Times dropped left-leaning columnist Robert Scheer, a fixture at the paper for nearly thirty years. With the Iraq War the defining political issue of his final years as a Times columnist, Scheer was rare among mainstream pundits for being resolutely of White House claims about Iraq. Before it became convenient for media bigfoots to claim that “everyone” was wrong about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, Scheer was writing (August 6, 2006) that “a consensus of experts” told the Senate that Iraq’s chemical and biological arsenals were “almost totally destroyed during eight years of inspections.” Months later, Scheer would call the White House pretext for war a “big lie”. Scheer called for troop withdrawals from Iraq in late 2003, a position that would still be almost absent from elite discussion three years later. Scheer’s firing could have attributed to any number of factors: a right-wing campaign against him by the likes of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, or the paper shirting into the hand of Tribune Company. Scheer himself said that the new publisher of the Times has told him that “he hated every word that I wrote”.
While on the other hand, Peter Hart also noted that: “one of the benefits of right-wing punditry is never having to worry much about the adverse consequences of being wrong about something (or, in some cases, many things).”
“In 1992, for example, widely syndicated columnist George Will completely misrepresented the findings of a Gallup Poll in order to lambast Al Gore’s views on global warming, arguing that most scientists did not believe warming was occurring. Gallup actually released a statement correcting Will’s egregious error - their poll had found the opposite of what Will had written - but most of Will’s readers never saw it, and Will never corrected his distortion.”
Another example by Peter Hart: “In a 2006 discussion with NBC host Tim Russert, Tom Friedman admitted that he knows little about one of the subjects to which he devotes significant time. Recalling a question he once fielded about whether he would ever oppose any so-called “free trade” agreement, Friedman recounted his answer: “No, absolutely not...I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn’t even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade.” It’s worth noting that Friedman didn’t even manage to call his favoured trade agreement by its correct name; “CA” stands for Central America, not Caribbean.” (Note: Tom Friedman is New York Times foreign affairs columnist)
“The elite consensus on issues like trade means that widely-read columnists like Friedman need only to repeat the theology of globalisation’s many virtues in order to sound well-informed. Readers are unlikely to come across much that might challenge this orthodoxy, since within the corporate media’s narrow spectrum of debate there is little disagreement.
(Note: In the book ‘Interventions’(2007) Peter Hart has provided more examples of journalists being fired over their views and dodgy journalism being welcomed by the corporate media which has not being included in this article)
Example 2 (Australia)
Last year through a series of research, I managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that an award winning journalist in Australia - John Garnaut (a China Correspondent) involvement in a series of dodgy Journalism against China.
I managed to trace down the content of a report he made a year earlier in the Sydney Morning Herald with description of an event in total contradiction to the statement he made a year later in the Age Newspaper. I challenged him openly to explain the reason behind the contradictory statements a year apart with an article: ‘Can we trust our Media? The Shocking Behaviour of The Age Journalist’s John Garnaut’.
I receive an email from John Garnaut through the Age’s News Desk, however in his e-mail he totally avoided my query about the contradiction in the statement he made a year apart.
I then published the content of his e-mail in another article: ‘Media Accountability—The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians’ and then putting forward a series of further evidences to support my complaint.
Through the use of a series of pressure techniques, I later received another 2 e-mails from John Garnaut trying to explain himself out of the mess. Instead, he has embroiled himself with more evidence of dodgy journalism. I then published his two latest e-mails in another article: ‘More Dodgy Materials Exposed - The Age and John Garnaut Case Continue ’.
Throughout my open challenge to John Garnaut and The Age using the above named 3 articles on the Internet, John Garnaut, The Age News Desk, The Age Foreign Editor, ABC’s Media Watch and Walkleys Foundation were closely informed about the development. However, the response from the Age’s Foreign Editor and ABC’s Media Watch would appear to me that this kind of dodgy journalism against China seems to be an acceptable behaviour. The detail record of their response is in the above 3rd article.
As the respective parties mentioned above decided not to do anything to correct the disinformation generated by John Garnaut, I decided to lodge a complaint to the Australian Press Council. However, despite John Garnaut behaviour violated all the written principles outlined by the Press Council on the ethic of journalism, the Press Council refused to handle the case citing the excuse that those dodgy reports taken place more than 60 days from the date of my complaint. I have no choice but to put the case on public record with another article: ‘Has the Australia Press Council Protected Media that Violated Its Own Written Principles? ’
Can We Trust our “Free” world Mainstream Media?
A 2009 survey by American base PEW under the title: Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two-Decade Low, indicated that “Just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate”.
Over the last 34 years, Sonoma State University Project Censored (Media Democracy In Action) has conducted research on media censorship in America. Every year, they produced a top 25 Index with 25 issues or events that censored or largely ignored by the mainstream media in America.
A list of their Top 25 censored Stories of 2009-2010 are as follows:
1. Global Plans to Replace the Dollar
2. US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet
3. Internet Privacy and Personal Access at Risk
4. ICE Operates Secret Detention and Courts
5. Blackwater (Xe): The Secret US War in Pakistan
6. Health Care Restrictions Cost Thousands of Lives in US
7. External Capitalist Forces Wreak Havoc in Africa
8. Massacre in Peruvian Amazon over US Free Trade Agreement
9. Human Rights Abuses Continue in Palestine
11. The H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic: Manipulating Data to Enrich Drug Companies
12. Cuba Provided the Greatest Medical Aid to Haiti after the Earthquake
13. Obama Cuts Domestic Spending and Increases Military Corporate Welfare
14. Increased Tensions with Unresolved 9/11 Issues
16. US Presidents Charged with Crimes Against Humanity as Universal Jurisdiction Dies in Spain
17. Nanotech Particles Pose Serious DNA Risks to Humans and the Environment
19. Obama Administration Assures World Bank and International Monetary Fund a Free Reign of Abuse
21. Western Lifestyle Continues Environmental Footprint
24. War Crimes of General Stanley McChrystal
25. Prisoners Still Brutalized at Gitmo
Australian readers should notice that, most issues censored or largely ignored by the mainstream media in the USA will basically absence from the mainstream media in Australia as well.
Our mainstream media like to accuse and abuse non-Western countries over their media censorship, but we are amongst the worst of the kind. Our media organisation frequently voice up for media freedom in non-Western countries but fail to stand up for our own journalists. Hypocrisy and double standard is part of our culture.
Hope that the content of this article from China ‘Journalism can promote peace, love and understanding’ (Global Times, 25 April 2011) may inspire some peace loving people in the “Free” world to do something to reform our media industry.
Written on 27 April 2011.
Special Note (10 May 2011) : I published this article on 27 April 2011, I complaint in the article about the Alliance (Bede Payne) failure to response to my e-mail request on the 8 March 2011 for information about the issues of Freelance Journalist activities circulated by their weekly E-bulletin. I then received the next day (28 April) the long awaited e-mail from The Alliance with information about the 2011 Freelance Conference. The Conference will be held in Melbourne on 19 -21 May, and the early bird discount offer for member who decided to participate in the conference has been extended to 4 May 2011. I do not wish to speculate if the timing of the Alliance e-mail is a coincident or not, but late reply is always better than nothing. Apparently this is a last minute offer to me. I was left with only 3 weeks to make arrangement if I decided to fly to Melbourne to participate in the Conference. As somebody in a working family with children, 3 weeks notice is not enough for me as taken 3 days off my business schedule required also my wife to reschedule her work days. The irony with our media industry is, we do not practice the values we preach, therefore, I wonder the word democracy has any meaning at all to the elites in the industry.
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