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An assertion of media bias south of the border..


Dear Beagle Editor, Your readers might find our latest media release of interest. While relating to the Bega area it also relates to selectivity that can and does occur when media outlets determine to represent the views of one side and not the other. media bias …

The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) has never enjoyed a strong relationship with the local media, in particular the Fairfax owned newspapers & ABC South East Radio.

In the case of ABC Radio, the association can count on one hand the number of occasions that ‘our ABC’ has responded to issues it has raised over the past five years. And while ABC Radio appears willing to provide lengthy ‘guest spots’ for politicians like the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, it has unfairly refused to afford the association a right of reply to explicit public criticisms made by him during those taxpayer-funded promotional appearances.

In response to the ABC Radio’s repeated prejudicial behaviour, the association recently initiated a formal complaint with senior ABC management.

When it comes to the local print media, some Fairfax journalists have shown an interest in the BVSRRA’s views on many community issues, including publishing its letters to the editor or information from its Media Releases, while at times, it has shown no interest at all.

Then, some three months ago, in a rather bizarre development, the BVSRRA was contacted by the editor of the local Fairfax newspapers who requested the association to reduce the volume of its media releases, allegedly to avoid putting readers & the community ‘off side’.

The BVSRRA responded to that request by confirming its view that it was entirely a matter for the editor to decide which issues were newsworthy & worthy of publication.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the BVSRRA became aware of a public Facebook Post by the local Fairfax editor, which contained, in our opinion, unjustified criticisms of the association & members of its management committee.

The BVSRRA immediately wrote to the editor, taking issue with his behaviour, & confirming its view that it did not think it is proper for him as the editor of our local papers to be making partisan comments about the association or any other organisation for that matter. The BVSRRA also made it clear that it believed that the community is entitled to expect him to not only be impartial, but also to be seen as being impartial.

The editor has not bothered to respond to the BVSRRA’s correspondence.

The BVSRRA believes that the behaviour of both ABC South East Radio & local Fairfax newspapers is partial in favour of those who represent the status quo, in particular Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) & the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, & against those who may seek to question them, such as the BVSRRA.

The BVSRRA contends that the partial behaviour of ABC South East Radio & local Fairfax newspapers is inimical to the best interests of the community both organisations profess to serve.

John Richardson

Secretary/Treasurer

Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association


#Opinion

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