An outstanding feature of anti-forestry activist campaigns for over 30 years has been their strategy to harness the mass media. In addition to reporting the news, some journalists and editors have manipulated information and interviews to support the activist point of view. A number of complaints of bias and breach of standards by forest managers and other industry bodies have been upheld.
While this website will predominantly deal with media relevant to South East NSW and East Gippsland forest industries, it is important to understand that the personal bias of journalists can affect news reporting in all forms of media. SETA will provide local examples, as well a national examples of lazy and at times biased reporting.
In February 2011, the Bega District News reported on an unusual start to a Bega Valley Shire Council meeting. Councillor Keith Hughes was late to the meeting. Some ratepayers had come to provide Councillor Hughes with some direct action feedback.
Keith Hughes Put on Notice
Following a protest at a harvesting operation near Bodalla, Lisa Stone, representing South East Forest Rescue claimed that the life of a tree-sit occupant was put at risk, as unknown individuals silently axed the tree supporting the tree-sit. More interested in a sensational headline than the facts, the journalist failed to ask the logical question: How do you silently axe a tree?
Narooma News – Unknown Individuals Silently Axe a Tree
The ABC South East Radio and Bombala Times have run several stories since 10 July 2015, following the blocking of 3 log trucks using the Tantawangalo Road near Cathcart, by a disgruntled local farmer. South East Timber Association member Norm Wilton has put in a response to the Bombala Times. Norm has asked many questions that the media to date have failed to ask. A few more questions may well have lead to a less sensational and more balanced coverage of the issue.
The disgruntled farmer was caught in the act of blocking the road with a farm tractor, which is suspected of being unregistered. By capturing these types of incidents, as the truck driver did in this case, highlights the safety risks forestry workers are exposed to by direct action protests. While the farmer is seeking support to have the section of the road near his house sealed, the irony is, the less traffic carried by any road, the less justification there is to spend extra funding to improve that road. Click on the You Tube link above to see more video of the blockade.
Norm Wilton Letter to the Bombala Times re the Tantawangalo Road Blockade