Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Celebrating Cultural Diversity in Australia: Media Death Threats Edition

"Journalists covering the murder of police accountant Curtis Cheng in Parramatta on October 2 are working in a climate of fear because of death threats. Chris Reason, senior reporter for Seven News, Sydney said this last night in a speech to about 100 media people and friends at a Melbourne Press Club function at the RACV."

(Background here.)

“Some media outlets are receiving direct physical violent death threats, specific threats not to go near Parramatta Mosque, where the 15-year-old went to pray. At one point a senior member of the Daily Telegraph turned up there with two flak jackets,” Reason said.

“The Telegraph received direct threats to their journalists and the word spread from there. There had been an explicit threat to a young female Tele journo that she would have her arms ripped off and she would be murdered. It was very violent language, she told us."

“Counter-terrorist operators in Sydney intercepted messages between certain groups threatening and targeting journos and media. The Telegraph was one of them, AAP another. Executives organised precautions. Most media organisations like (channels) 7 and 10 ended up hiring private security guards while covering the story in the first week."

It’s an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. I have never seen anything like it in Sydney in 20 years. In my organization there’s been some serious conversation on how to cover it, how to approach the story, how to protect ourselves. Some cameramen are worried, some journos worried. I don’t know what’s being done about security at people’s homes."