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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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The Role of Journalists. - April 20th 2016, 11:06 PM

An Australian 60 Minutes crew and their presenter have been released after being jailed for being involved in a kidnapping of a child that belonged to an Australian woman. The children were living with their father in Lebanon, but the woman broke up with the father, and the crew were asked to report on the matter. The Nine Network then paid a "child recovery team" to snatch the two children in the middle of a busy street in Beirut. The mother, the recovery team and the crew were arrested soon after.

The judge released all parties since the woman has come to an agreement with the husband after negotiations relating to the custody of the children, and he remarked that the 60 Minutes crew involved were just employees as part of a broader operation funded and organised by the Nine Network. However, I personally do not buy that.

This incident raises some questions as to the role of journalism and the nature of investigative journalism and reporting. For example, Mike Willesee, a veteran investigative journalist working with the Seven Network in Australia, has on a variety of cases, prepared reports in relation to cold cases, such as murders and missing persons. This involves uncovering "new evidence" and following and confronting alleged offenders who are not even being investigated by police, asking what they knew about the issue and treating them as genuine persons of interest. Robert Ovadia is another example of a crime reporter who often asks questions of families, interviewing the owners of a home that was searched in relation to a missing child, "where is the child, what happened to the child?" Those are questions for police investigators to ask and it raises me to ask the question:

What is the role of a journalist?

He then raised his arms when they refused to answer, asking "why is that an unreasonable question?"

If Mike Willessee, Tara Brown or Robert Ovadia want to join the Homicide Squad, then there are applications open at Goulburn every year. However, I do not think that criminal investigation and interrogation are the roles of a journalist. Thoughts?

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Re: The Role of Journalists. - April 21st 2016, 01:42 AM

I think that a journalist, while definitely not having the skills of police, is an important resource. I think that they can get out new and relevant information to the people, as long as they follow their morals and are truthful, which definitely was not the case in the scenario you talked about. I think that sometimes if they discover information, or release information that the police allow them to, it can lead to a break in the case. A person watching/reading/etc may say "Hey, I recognize this person/vehicle/etc" and it can lead to finding a criminal/missing person/whatever the case may be.

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Re: The Role of Journalists. - April 22nd 2016, 09:02 AM

The role of a journalist (in my opinion), in a democratic country, ought to be to provide an objective and reliable source of information of current affairs.

The role of a journalist is NOT to interfere personally in whatever affairs and directly attempt to influence them or to take on the role of courts. No, not in a democratic country. That's the job of the courts/law enforcement. Of course, the release of a controversial article can have very significant influences... so it's why I said "directly" (and underlined it). Kidnapping of kids is not a news crew's job.

The role of a journalist is NOT to sensationalize and stir up controversy either simply for profits. Like I said at the start though, this is my opinion, from my perspective.

The role of a journalist is NOT to print lies about anyone, for whatever reasons, personal or political in pursuit of some selfish ideals of their own. Or for profits, I don't care.

And similarly, the role of a journalist is NOT to print "white lies" either. By printing only one half of the story. This is a far bigger problem than people realize, and it will probably never go away. What I mean by it, is people printing only one half of the story. The half they print is true, and can be sourced... but it is only half of the story. The public then reads this, and get very easily manipulated into taking just one side of the argument. This is really extremely popular in politics. This is things like Western news sources showing footage of migrants in Europe crossing the borders, and showing clips of mostly women and children, despite rock hard statistics proving that something like 70% of migrants are young men. Because seeing women and children fleeing war stirs up empathy and support. Seeing young men fleeing war does not stir up anywhere near as much support, and often even stirs up accusations of "desertion" and "abandonment", and outrage.


Those are the things that I look for. It is very rare and hard to find. Usually it involves getting information from several news sources, so I can see both sides of the story. Nobody is perfectly objective.


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.

Last edited by BDF; April 22nd 2016 at 08:18 PM.
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