Press Council adjudication | Herald Sun

The press council has determined that the article on the outbreak of Victorian COVID-19 in 2020 partially violates its code of practice.

The press council announced on June 24 and 25, 2020, “Why tribalism needs to be investigated behind the new coronavirus spike” and “Victoria’s coronavirus crisis: The article, “Made by Multiculturalism,” examined whether it violated its standards of practice. Online and “Is Tribalism Behind Spike?” Printing (June article). Also, an article published online by Herald Sun on July 12th and 13th, entitled “Andrew Bolt: Multiculturalism Made Victoria Vulnerable to Coronavirus” and “The Prosperity of the Virus in Multiculturalism” Also considered (July article).

In a June article, “The outbreak of the Victorian coronavirus reveals the stupidity of its multicultural slogan. Diversity strengthens us … exactly that diversity-extremely captured.” Helped create this fear of the “second wave”. In addition, “… find out where most new infections are occurring in the six poor suburbs of northern and southeastern Melbourne. One-third of the five residents. The above was born overseas such as India, Sri Lanka, Iraq, China, Vietnam, etc. “,” … It seems that it is not just the language barrier. There may be cultural ones. “

In a July article, “The three worst virus hotspots in Victoria were the Seven Public Housing Commission Towers (145), Al-Taqwa College (134), and Cedar Meats Slaughterhouse (111). Is it a coincidence? Many of the people in those towers are immigrants, often from Africa. The Altakuwa community is Muslim and many immigrants. And Cedar Meats is a labor that employs many immigrants. “Furthermore, this time, thanks to the negligence of private guards from immigrant families, the virus leaked from a” quarantine “hotel in Victoria,” he said. The article says, “Calm down. I’m not” blaming immigrants “… But multiculturalism is for people outside our” own “as we become more and more tribal nations. It made Victoria more vulnerable, not only because it was less likely to sacrifice. There is also a “language and culture issue” that Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews admitted faced by virus fighters. “

In response to the complaints received, the press council asked the publication to comment on whether the article complied with the council’s business standards. This requires the publication to take reasonable steps to ensure that the factual material is accurate and not misleading (General Principle 1). To ensure that the factual material is presented in a reasonable fairness and balance, and that the author’s statement of opinion is not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of important facts (General Principle 3). Also, avoid causing or causing serious crimes, distress, prejudice, or significant health or safety risks, except when in the public interest (General Principle 6). The council is concerned that ascribed coronavirus epidemics to “multiculturalism” is not only inaccurate and unfair, but also unpleasant and unfavorable for people of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Said that he had expressed.

In response, the publication took the responsibility of reporting on the coronavirus seriously, stating that the report was useful, even when it was sometimes offensive. It defended the author’s right to deny violations of the Code of Conduct and question whether multiculturalism played a role and whether the government failed to communicate with immigrant groups. The article said it was based on indisputable facts.

According to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, five of the six suburbs of Melbourne mentioned in the article in connection with the June article have more than one-third of their inhabitants born abroad. The publication states that all six are one of the most infected areas. service. The publication refers to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics examining the ethnic breakdown of these suburbs, and the Victorian Ethnic Community Council has created six “hotspots” for residents born abroad and warned about the language. He said he identified a suburb with a high proportion of. Cultural barriers to the coronavirus safety message.

The publication stated that for this reason, for example, ethnicity is more relevant than population density. He said that multiculturalism, by definition, is the existence or support of the existence of several different cultural or ethnic groups within society. According to ABS, this is exactly the situation in these six suburbs, where the writer only expresses his opinion based on factual data and definitions. According to the publication, the article does not suggest that racial and ethnic minority groups are responsible for Victoria’s coronavirus crisis, but relies on ABS data for ethnic groups living in the suburbs with the highest prevalence. It identifies the combination of groups. .. The publication mentions comments by the Chief Health Officer of Victoria: “There are immigrant communities, recent immigrants, or culturally and linguistically diverse communities that are currently overkill in some new cases. I know it’s being evaluated. ” Regarding the headline, the publication stated that it did not identify a particular group.

In connection with the July article, the publication states that it relies on factual material, many of which have already been discussed in the Victorian community, some of which are hotel quarantine in Victoria. It has been submitted as evidence of the investigation. According to the publication, this article only points out the indisputable facts about the workforce of Flemington Tower Residents, Al Takuwa School Members, and Cedar Meat. He also said he heard a survey that many security guards were hired because of the background of immigrants in socially inclusive policies enacted by civil servants. The publication is based on the author’s opinion based on factual and publicly available material, and although his opinion may offend certain readers, the article is a substantial prejudice against the Victorian immigrant community. He said no evidence was presented that brought about. The heading did not identify a particular group.

The publication stated that the article was an opinion piece, not a news report. It may be related to the second outbreak of the coronavirus in Victoria, but it is not necessary or appropriate for the article to scrutinize the range of additions or specific situations that are not central to the author’s opinion. did. He said the outbreak was a matter of life and death, and the public interest justified the words used in the article.


The council is pleased that reasonable steps have been taken to accurately present factual material in the June and July articles on the ethnic composition of the suburbs, settlements and workplaces. Therefore, there was no breach of General Principle 1 with either clause.

In a June article, identifying “where most new infections are occurring”, more than one-third of residents mention five suburbs born abroad from India, Sri Lanka, Iraq, China and Vietnam. Did. In doing so, the council considers this article to unfairly link individuals in named groups who may have inadvertently spread the virus to all people in those groups. The council states that the article refers to a statement by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer that the immigrant community was “overrated in a new case.” However, the council believes that neither this nor the other material in the article proves that immigrants from these countries were collectively responsible for the second outbreak.

In a July article, we linked the three worst virus hotspots in Victoria to the immigrants involved in each. Many in the tower were “immigrants, often from Africa,” emphasizing “many” immigrants involved in the other two hotspots. The article did not state that the writer “blamed immigrants,” but the council unfairly attributed these immigrants to a second outbreak, which they attributed. I think it implies.

The council states that the opinion pieces are controversial in nature. However, articles, each associated immigrants with hotspots, and implicit immigrants were disqualified causes. Under General Principle 3, publications were obliged to take reasonable steps to present their links and causality, even in opinion pieces, in a reasonable fairness and balance. While some members of those immigrant communities were involved in the transmission of the virus, the council considers articles that unfairly suggest that designated groups are collectively responsible. If the council does not provide a more balanced range of reasons behind the transmission, such as population density or precarious employment, the council violates General Principle 3 and the factual material is reasonably fair and balanced. We consider that we have not taken any reasonable steps to ensure that it is presented. ..

The June and July articles also indicate that the outbreak of coronavirus is due to multiculturalism, making it difficult to communicate quickly and effectively with the broad cultural groups that make up the relevant population and cultural factors. It mentions that. The council acknowledges that some readers may have speculated that references to multiculturalism include implicit references to immigrants. However, the council believes that the rational meaning of multiculturalism is to support the existence of several different cultural or ethnic groups within society. The council considers the reference to the multiculturalism that caused the outbreak to be an expression of the author’s opinion, as it has been identified as being based on the difficulty of communicating in multiple languages ​​and cultural factors. Did not violate General Principle 3.

In ascribed the second outbreak to unqualified migrants, the publication was unable to take reasonable steps to avoid substantive crime and prejudice. The council notes the enormous public interest in reporting and commenting on the second Victorian coronavirus outbreak, but the public interest does not justify the level of crime and prejudice and is common in this regard. Violated Principle 6. Regarding the argument that multiculturalism caused a second outbreak, the council notes that the writer identified the basis for that argument as the difficulty of communication and cultural differences.Council

Although some readers admit that the argument may have been unpleasant and prejudiced, the council admits that the crime or prejudice that was caused is justified in the public interest in the discussion on this issue. In this respect, we consider that we did not violate General Principle 6.

See below for a full ruling.

Place of originPress Council adjudication | Herald Sun

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