August 29, 2006

“HOW DARE HE DEMAND WE TELL THE TRUTH!”

Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has criticized “dishonest” media coverage of the conflict in Lebanon.

In an address to the National Newspaper Publishers Conference, Downer denied media claims his ministry had been slow in providing assistance to thousands of Lebanese-Australian passport holders, The Australian newspaper reported.

“What concerns me greatly is the evidence of dishonesty in the reporting out of Lebanon,” he said. He gave as examples the case of photographs of the results of Israeli air strikes being altered and the “tendency to report every casualty on the Lebanese side of the conflict as a civilian casualty, despite indisputable evidence that many of the injured from the Israeli offensive were Hezbollah combatants,” Downer said.

The secretary of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Chris Warren, says Downer’s remarks showed an unfortunate but increasing trait of governments to try and dictate conflict reporting.

If any other industry were doing as much public harm by producing a similarly substandard product, the press would be screaming for the government to take action.

UPDATE: More here.