There Ought to be a Law... #SydneySiege #mediacoverage #IIIridewithyou

If ever a successful terrorist action was demonstrated, you'd have to say the Sydney Siege in Martin Place was mostly a success thanks to virtually every major TV station in Australia dropping their programming and replacing it with live, rolling coverage for hours.

Not only live coverage but seemingly endless talking heads looking at every possible angle, waxing on and on to fill the gap between nothing has happened since the last time we reported nothing had happened. Which, although nothing happening is a good thing, doesn't make for very interesting TV.



I don't want to take anything away from how police handled the siege. In hind sight it's always easier to see that something could be done differently but at the time you can't know what you don't know. I also don't want to take anything away from the people caught up in the ordeal. Especially those that lost their lives. I can only guess at what they all went through and how all have been affected.

You also have to wonder if it would have made any difference if the gunman, who appeared to be acting alone, was on any terror watch list (as our Prime Minister was questioning before more information was known - though it does seem the gunman was well known to police)?

But back to my point. Although the gunman tried to link his cause to a terrorist group, he wasn't actually linked in any way to that group beyond his extremist views. However, such groups may be looking at the world wide attention he received and be thinking... is it really that easy to stop a country and draw attention to a cause?

Other than people in Sydney, who really needed ongoing media coverage of the events unfolding?

Why did the media need to draw so much attention to what looked like a possible terrorist attack where wide media coverage is usually a desired outcome for the perpetrators?

Far from being helpful, nation wide coverage often fans the flame of cultural ignorance. Creating a need for campaigns like the hash tag #Illridewithyou (which I think is the single most awesome community response to such an extremely confronting event in recent years. You're wrong George Christensen. You know perfectly well there are segments of the Australian community in every state that would see this as their moment to speak up and harass people just going about their every day lives. I'd go so far as to say,if you weren't an MP, you'd be one of them based on your history).

I'm not one for making laws but if the media can't reign its self in and just report enough so that we're aware that something is happening, and perhaps a special 'breaking news' report if something significant happens, then maybe there ought to be a law restricting coverage of these attention seekers? Did this really need to stop the country?

Thankfully the media did seem to dial it back some what and didn't report the gunman's demands at the request of police. Even though I'm sure many were curious as to what they were (myself included... and it would've given all those talking heads much more to talk about). Sometimes it is better not to know.

The media I happened to watch (because, like I mentioned it was on virtually every station) also seemed to make a point of distancing the gunman's beliefs from the wider Islamic community. If this kind of nation stopping news reporting is going to continue then more of that 'one nutter or extremist group isn't representative of an entire culture/religion' reinforcement is definitely a step in the right direction. (It shouldn't be necessary but it is, Mr Christensen, for the same reason #Illridewithyou shouldn't be but is a great response).

I really don't get why the various media need to compete on something like this? It just seemed like a 9/11 response to a small scale hold up. Would it have received this kind of attention without the links to a Terrorist Group?

Maybe we need to start going back to pre 9/11 thinking where you could have gun man shut down your street for hours in a stand off with police and it barely makes the local news (yes that did happen in my street just over a year prior to the 9/11 attack).

6 comments:

  1. I was wondering why it took the same attention as the 9/11 too, it being on every station and all day and evening. (did it need that?!!) It was the same on the radio too, such as the talkback stations, they kept crossing to it, it was just full of it all day and into the evening.

    I didn't really know how serious it was as I didn't know how many hostages there was. When they said five of them had got out, I thought that was all of them. It was sad to hear of the woman being shot who had three children, but it didn't say how old her children were. And the manager being shot.

    'Course I was miffed that Hot Seat wasn't on which I watch every week-night and then Mad Dogs wasn't on on ABC1 at 9-30pm as they were still going on with it. It's a bit sad when all we can think about is the inconvenience of our TV programmes not showing up or our radio being full of it too. A lady on the radio who rang up said it was driving her up the wall.

    I didn't think it needed the same coverage as the 9/11, just what you said would have been enough. Last week we had the outpouring of grief for the cricketer Philip Hughes, and now we have the one for this. No wonder people are saying we need a laugh with all that's going on in the media at the moment. The news is all bad news with accidents, shootings, robberies etc, etc.

    The chap who's stepping in at midnight on 6pr talkback radio for Jon Lewis, who's gone on his Christmas hols, as a lot have and others filling in, last night said he was going to keep things light with some music and comedy and not talk about any heavy topics or politics etc, so that was good, as it's nice to keep things light sometimes.

    I suppose we should be thankful that it hasn't happened to us, but it's strange how there's always something to take the place of the last news headlines. Philip Hughes has been pushed out now. Wonder what the next big thing will be in the news now? Hope there isn't going to be 'the next big thing' but that's hardly likely with Christmas coming up!

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    1. Not only were my shows not on, their time slots weren't even interrupted by the coverage. However the station in question chose to put on replacement shows not even listed in the program guide for any part of that evenings viewing.

      Unfortunately real life drama rates well, especially if it's a life or death drama. Feel good news is for light entertainment and isn't really news. When something really great and exciting happens, worthy of making the news, it never gets anywhere near as much screen time as bad news... unless it's an Aussie cricket team or Footy team winning a grand final or similar.

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  2. I forgot to say, what about the other shooting where someone's gone mad randomly shooting school children, some as young as 12yrs it said, and they also saw their friends shot. One girl said she saved herself by lying among the dead bodies pretending she was dead! That didn't get much coverage, only been on the news a couple of times, but that was pretty horrific too! I've forgotten where it was now.

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    1. That school was in Pakistan... since they're all terrorists over there, and that was a school of future terrorists, it doesn't really count as news worthy of stopping a nation... now if one of those children was an Aussie that would be worth a lot more coverage.

      I don't actually believe that, I'm actually paraphrasing a a comment some random person left on an article I read about it. I think it was just unfortunate timing. A possible terrorist attack locally will trump almost any international drama every time because the closer we are to an event the more it will effect our psyche and get eyeballs in front of screens.

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  3. I don't think any of our programmes were replaced, it was just the news coverage of it the whole time. Now, we've got the eight children and Mother being shot by a woman in her early thirties, don't know if she was related. One child was a cousin who was staying over. I think that one was in Perth, but not sure. The 20yr old brother came home and found all that. What a thing to come home to! I don't know how you'd cope with that! The bad news just goes on and on!

    A few years ago Channel 7 began ending the news with some good news, because of all the bad news then. It lasted for a few months, then fell off. They haven't done it since. I guess they couldn't find enough good news to end on. Pity if they couldn't try it again.

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    1. They do actually report good news though. They just tend to lead with the bad news because it has wider interest... and let's face it, you remember and talk more about bad news than you do a good news story... unless the good news story is featuring a celebrity, then you might remember it more.

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