Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Aussie Riots: Media getting blamed by Islamic leaders and tidbits.

Australia: Premier says tell them you are proud to be Aussie, even if it mean getting the snot kicked out of you. (cronulla tag here)

NSW Premier Morris Iemma has called on people not to renounce their Australian identity in the face of intimidation by Lebanese gangs - even if it means being bashed. His advice came after victims of rioting in Sydney told how they were asked if they were Australian before being attacked by large groups of Middle Eastern men. Mr Iemma said that if approached, people should say: "I'm Australian and this is Australia and this is a country that is here to be shared by all. "(We are) Australian and proud of it and they're not going to - with baseball bats or with those kind of questions - change the response they get." He said if he were approached by such a gang he would say he was "proudly Australian", even if it meant being attacked.
As long as I am holding the weapon when I say it. Media getting blamed as some say the French self-censorship of their riots was a good thing.
Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad has firm ideas about who pushed the story further than it should have gone and says he has started a process of complaints against them. "To be quite honest I feel the incitement is continuing to this day," he says, singling out the issue of Muslim men not embracing Australian society as well as some commentators who encouraged a fight-back. "I am in the process of collecting transcripts; we have to take this issue of incitement very seriously and we should expect commentators to be much more responsible." Sheik Shady, a cleric at Lakemba Mosque in Sydney's west, is also critical of the role played by the media. "We do put a large proportion of the blame on the media, especially the talkback shows that are really provoking a lot of Australians against people of different races so people start to feel they are in danger, which is not true," he says. Neither will name who they are talking about, but attention has elsewhere fallen on 2GB's Alan Jones, who went hard on the issue last week and urged locals to come out for the show of force. "A rally, a street march, call it what you will. A community show of force," he told listeners, at one point even going so far as to push for locals at Cronulla to get Pacific Islanders involved because "they don't take any nonsense". French media had a rather novel ethical approach to covering the recent Paris race riots after the images reached saturation point: they simply stopped showing them. Incensed critics have labelled the move censorship, accusing the French media of political biases and an over-inflated sense of power. Yet others have seen the move as an indication that the media -- a powerful social force -- could also possess a social conscience. "We have a unique situation in France at the moment. Because events have been continuing for some weeks, we have the time to consider the impact of our reporting," says Antonin Lhote, chief editor at Canal Plus, one of France's privately owned television stations. "Often when we film something, we are unaware of its impact until later. Our job is simply to witness. "But here we have the unique opportunity to consider what the images mean and whether they should be shown." The difference, Lhote says, is that the station has decided not to show the images it obtains for fear of spreading what he calls a contagion through the thoughtless dissemination of the images. "It's not about the violence," he says. "Iraq, Tel Aviv, Pakistan ... these are all much more violent images. But they are news. This is not news; it is a show. We know there can be a perverse relationship between young men and the media, and they are giving us beautiful pictures ... things burning, people running around in the night, it looks wonderful. But what we want to do is draw the distinction between spectaculars and news."
A couple of points, this is a move that would backfire spectacularly if you go after media personalities and op-ed people because it would bring charges that the Muslim community continues to want Western standards of freedom of speech/expression to be curtailed ala Denmark with its editorial cartoons. The other point is using the French as an example when they admitted what the reason behind the self-censorship was.
Jean-Claude Dassier, the director general of the rolling news service LCI, said the prominence given to the rioters on international news networks had been "excessive" and could even be fanning the flames of the violence. Mr Dassier said his own channel, which is owned by the private broadcaster TF1, recently decided not to show footage of burning cars. "Politics in France is heading to the right and I don't want rightwing politicians back in second, or even first place because we showed burning cars on television," Mr Dassier told an audience of broadcasters at the News Xchange conference in Amsterdam today. "Having satellites trained on towns across France 24 hours a day showing the violence would have been wrong and totally disproportionate ... Journalism is not simply a matter of switching on the cameras and letting them roll. You have to think about what you're broadcasting," he said. ....But he admitted his decision was partly motivated by a desire to avoid encouraging the resurgence of extreme rightwing views in France.
Not the example you want to shoot for. Cops are warning of more violence coming this weekend because of the Cronulla riots and with text messages urging people on in other states it could be widespread.
The Sydney authorities are warning of more racial unrest over the weekend, as text messages encouraging violence continue to circulate in the area. "We expect further problems," New South Wales Police Minister Carl Scully told reporters on Wednesday. After two nights of violence, Tuesday night was mainly calm as hundreds of police patrolled the troubled areas. Arab community leaders have called for a curfew on Friday and Saturday nights, and all of Sunday, to stop any trouble. Ahmad Kamaledine, president of the Lebanese Moslems Association, said: "Those who violate the curfew will be doing so in defiance of their faith, of the [holy] law, and their community leaders", according to Australian media reports.

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