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Media Accountability—The Age must say ‘Sorry’ to Australians

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On the 12th May 2010, I filed a report under the heading: ‘Can we trust our media? The shocking behaviour of the Age’s Journalist, John Garnaut’. In this report, I describe how I uncovered the shocking behaviour of The Age’s Journalist John Garnaut in his report dated 9 May 2009 under the heading ‘Journey through an earthquake’.


At the bottom of that report, I put up a table with 2 columns (side by side with sub-heading Attachment A and B) showing the two reports written by John Garnaut , an award winning Journalist on the same event a year apart for readers to compare the contradictory statements he made between 2008 and 2009.


Attachment A is on the left side of the columns, displaying the content of John Garnaut joint report with Francois Bougon about the Sichuan Earthquake for Agence France-Presse, Reuters, and was published in the Sydney Morning Herald (15 May 2008) under the heading ‘Horror of entire towns flattened


Attachment B is on the right side of the columns, displaying the content of John Garnaut sole report for the Age newspaper on the same event at the same location a year later (9 May 2009) under the heading ‘Journey through an earthquake’.


I have highlighted 2 areas on the content in Attachment A and B: The first highlight in blue colour with the number “20,000” indicating that the 2 reports a year apart by John Garnaut were describing the same event at the same location.


However, by comparing the 2nd highlight in red colour between Attachment A and B, readers will be able to identify the dramatic contradiction in John Garnaut’s statements on the same event at the same location a year apart.


In this report, I also attached a link to a report on the events of the 2008 earthquake in China written by the Time magazine’s journalist (19 Jan 2010), under the heading ‘Haiti and China: A Tale of Two Earthquakes’. If you click through the link and read the Time report, you will notice two things:


1)  The statements made by John Garnaut in 2009, witnessing soldiers looting (a year after the event) on the Age newspaper was in total contradiction to the Time report. According to the Time journalist: “I witnessed no incidents of looting or other lawlessness when I was there in the days immediately following the quake”.


(Note: If you search the net for report across the world during that time (2008) when the rescue effort took place with hundreds (if not thousands) of Journalists onsite, you will find that, the exclusive story of “The Age watched People's Liberation Army soldiers loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops, while the cries of trapped citizens rang out from buildings nearby” by John Garnaut in 2009 was a story based purely on his personal imagination and it is in fact, a “master piece” witnessed exclusively by him only and he has apparently forgotten to report that in 2008.)


2)  In addition, if Journalism is about objectivity and balance reporting, you will also notice that, John Garnaut seems to be totally blind in regards to the massive human right achievement of the Chinese government policy towards those 5 million people who lost their home after the quake. (read the Time report here)


(Note: Basically, the Australian media as a whole has been blinded most of the time with any news in favour of China).


The Age has been asked to investigate and explain their position in regards to the dodgy report


As promised in my report on the 12 May 2010, I then notified The Age on the 13 May 2010 by e-mail asking them to conduct an investigation into the issue of contradictory statements made on the same event by John Garnaut a year apart. For your infomation only, a copy of this e-mail was c.c. to Media Watch and Walkey Foundation.


The Age forwarded my e-mail to John Garnaut, and the following is the content of John Garnaut e-mail dated 13 May 2010 (Note: apparently, John has another name: Jophiel Bushnell):




Dear Wei Ling Chua,


I’m always pleased to have feedback and I’m glad you are reading some of my work. But from your long rant it seems you have not read much of it and you also forgot to specify what you are complaining about.


I recommend you read this story to begin catching up with my reports from China:




And then a google search with my name and "China economy", which should turn up probably more columns and features about how the Chinese economy is strong and helping the world than any other journalist on the planet.


And then maybe we could engage in a civilised conversation, rather than listen to you hurl insults at me.








The following is my reply to John Garnaut on the 14 May 2010:




Good Morning, John.


Good to communicate with you directly via e-mail.


You are not addressing the issue I raise in my report:



I thought the issues I raise is very clear, why are there such great contradiction in the way you write about the same event  a year apart ( ie. Between 2008 and 2009)?


Why your account in regard to the same event is so different from the Time report: Haiti and China: A Tale of Two Earthquakes’?


Your attachment of http://www.theage.com.au/environment/chinese-lash-pm-on-emissions-inaction-20100506-ugxa.html is irrelevant to the issues I raise.

By the way, for your information, China with a population of 1.3b (22% of world population) is not the biggest carbon emitter:



Appreciate your feedback on the above issues.


Thank you


Kind regards

Wei Ling Chua



I receive no reply from John Garnaut. I then e-mail The Age again on the 17 May 2010, asking them to take responsibility for printing such dodgy material from John Garnaut. The Age is in total silence as well since then.


Why I still respect BBC?


If you Google the internet or search on YouTube under the key word such as ‘BBC lie’, you will find numerous examples of BBC untruthful and distorting reports on a variety of issues and international events. However, when their lie and distorting reports were exposed and were confronted for an explanation, they were at least still bordered to make a statement of apology.


More evidence of the dodgy behaviour


I have just conducted another search on the Internet using the key word ’John Garnaut and earthquake’, the following links will further strengthen the evidence that, the 2009 report on the Age is a dodgy piece of work—it was baseless based purely on the imagination of the Age Journalist’s John Garnaut.


If you click on this links: http://www.theage.com.au/multimedia/china_earthquake/index.html, you will find a total of 15 videos and photos series on the Age website showing hundreds of images of the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008. Each and every of these 15 videos and photo series carry photos of Chinese soldiers in action. You need just to select the 3 photos series produced under the name of John Garnaut, browse through the dozens of photos presented by John Garnaut himself showing soldiers in action in the rescue mission, you will then in no doubt that, the following statements made by him in 2009 are simply dodgy and malicious in nature:


Below are the dodgy statements John made in 2009:


a) On May 14 and 15, The Age watched People's Liberation Army soldiers loitering aimlessly and helping themselves to goods looted from shattered shops, while the cries of trapped citizens rang out from buildings nearby.


b) Of the tens of thousands of soldiers in Beichuan in the days after the quake, the only ones we saw raise a sweat were a dozen who jostled in front of Premier Wen as they rushed to an imaginary rescue for the benefit of the China Central Television camera


c) All of the rescues we witnessed were by local volunteers or orange-suited firefighters from far corners of the country. Thousands died who should have been saved. And yet CCTV has played endless slow-motion footage of heroic soldiers at the service of the common people. For many in the Communist Party, the tragedy was primarily a propaganda opportunity.


The death of honest journalism in Australia


I was banned from accessing the benefits of my membership as an accredited freelance journalist since 27 Jan 2009 with the Australia News and Feature Services (ANFS) and International News Syndicate (INS) as a result of my honesty in  declaring my intention to defend China and any developing countries under the on-going media bias and distorting report as my primary area of specialisation in my part-time writing career.


As a result of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, the only way INS and ANSF can “legally” ban me from enjoying my membership is to permanently put up the following statement on their websites:


“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 admin@internationalnewssyndicate.com


They have been doing that since 30 April 2009 after I lodged a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission on the 6 April 2009. Many newspapers and magazine editors in Australia knew that the so-called ““This site is currently undergoing redevelopment” is simply a dodgy statement, but no one bothered to or dared to expose the truth that it is a form of oppression of free press and free speech again accredited journalist not towing their line of world view within the media industry. (For detail of my story, click on: Media Control - How it works in Australia? )


As a result, you can only read my research and my story about media control and disinformation on my personal website: www.outcastjournalist.com, and some independent media websites in Australia and Overseas. 


I don’t rely on writing for a living as I am working full time. I decided to write because I was raged by the on-going media bias and distorting reports against other non-western countries, in particularly China. Below are just some of my previous research to prove my claims:


* This article is about Creating misleading heading against China knowing that most readers will not read the content.


* This article is about Fabricating Images to demonise China


* This article is about using small stories and a double standard approach to demonise China


* This article is about ignoring certain important fact in the report to demonise China.


* This article is about generating rumours and stories based purely on hear-says and unfound speculations to demonise China


* This article is about creating stories that are dishonest and misleading in nature.


As you may observe, I am able to stand by my belief and passion because I don’t rely on my writing to make an income. However, imagine if you need to write for money to put food on the table for your family, and to pay off your mortgage, will you be able to keep your personal integrity to report honestly base on what you see and how you feel given the hostility again China within our media industry?


Frankly speaking, I blame the handful of “elites’ that control our media industry more than the individual journalists. For this reason, I would like to let John Garnaut know that, I have nothing personal against him as a person.


But, because the dodgy report was produced under his name and printed by the Age Newspaper (one of the few widely circulated newspaper in Australia), I have no choice but to make sure that they are accountable to the Australian readers.


The Age and John Garnaut have the chance to explain themselves to the Australian public


After posting this report to some Independent Media, I will again send an e-mail to John Garnaut and The Age with the web link for them to access this report and explain themselves using the comment function at the bottom of the report to explain their position to my complaint. (For your information only, Media Watch and Walkley Foundation will also be notified)


If the Age and John Garnaut are honest to the Australian readers in the 2009 report, they should have no difficulties in explaining themselves.


If however, they are guilty of making misleading and untruthful report, they should acknowledge that to the Australian readers. I believe that, to show their sincerity in correcting their “dodgy” 2009’s report, they should say “sorry” to the Australian readers, and tell the Australian public when and where they are going to publish a statement of apology in their own newspaper and website to ratify the problem. They should specify also what action are they going to take to prevent again publishing this kind of dodgy material in the future.


The Age has recently demonstrated its moral authority by making a public announcement that “Deveny dropped as columnist for The Age”. The question here is, will the Age at least make a public apology for the baseless report made by John Garnaut on 9 May 2009 under the heading: ‘Journey through an earthquake’?


I believe that what John Garnaut did is 100 times more serious and toxic than Deveny. His behaviour not only violated all the basic principles and ethic of journalism, it is technically a security risk to Australia. China is now our number one trading partner, the well being of China connected directly to the well being of Australia. If China sneezes, Australia catches a cold! However, as a result of our bureaucrats and politicians reliance exclusively on our newspapers for information about China (refer to Brisbane Time on the 15 Oct 2009 under the heading - Rudd policy on China 'set by BHP'), I therefore, believe that, the Age has the moral responsibility to ratify the disinformation generated by John Garnaut on the 9 May 2009.


Unless it is the Age management political line to run a smear campaign against China?


Complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority


If after sending this report to the Age and John Garnaut, I’m still receiving no reply from the Age to ratify the 2009 dodgy report made by John Garnaut, I will then left with no choice but to lodge a direct complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Conclusion: In the Age of Internet Technology, the best policy is to be honest with your report


It has never been easy to produce evidence to prove that a report is dodgy especially when you are working full-time. It is even harder if you can only use other journalists account of the same event as comparison to the dodgy report as evidence - as the other party can always insist that, that is what they saw.


The Earthquake in China 2 years ago was a big event and was widely reported. So, it is very easy for me to trace the report made by John Garnaut in 2008 using the handful of Internet search engines as a tool. I believe that the most convincing evidence to prove that John Garnaut is dodgy in his 2009 report is to use his own report in 2008 and photo images taken in 2008 as comparison and I have done just that.


I believe that, the evidence I produced so far proven beyond reasonable doubt that the Age report in 2009 was a dodgy piece of journalism. It is unacceptable and have to be made accountable to the Australian people. I hope that, the Age editor will take this opportunity to explain themselves in regards to this matter so as to demonstrate to the Australian people that, they are serious about honest journalism and Australians can continue to rely upon them for reliable news. 


I hope that the media industry in Australia will stop its smear campaign against other culture, in particularly, China. Lets’ the world understand each other through accurate information.


Written on 24 May 2010.


Story Continue:

More Dodgy Materials Exposed - The Age and John Garnaut Case Continue


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Can we trust our Media? The Shocking Behaviour of The Age Journalist’s John Garnaut



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