MNA: Fairfax Media & The Gagging Of Schapelle Corby

Following Schapelle Corby's release on parole, the hostility of the Australian media continued unabated.

Fairfax Media were particularly pro-active, producing dozens of negative, and sometimes extremely abusive reports. These were sourced from both Sydney, via Eamonn Duff, and Indonesia, through foreign correspondent, Michael Bachelard.

This barrage of adverse and derisive coverage would ultimately bear consequence for Schapelle Corby herself, with threats to her parole status emerging from Jakarta, along with an instruction preventing her from speaking to the media: in practical terms, a gagging order.

The Mathaba News Agency (MNA) reported these disturbing developments as follows:

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Having stoked the fire of resentment in Indonesia, Bachelard subsequently had the audacity to point his finger at local reaction, as though it was wholly unconnected with his own output.

Just days after the above article was widely circulated to Australian politicians, and copied to the United Nations, Fairfax Media published the following response:

Given the substantial number of column-inches dedicated by Fairfax Media, in manufacturing issues of such sensitivity in Indonesia, the irony of the introduction spoke for itself:
    "A navy arsenal blew up in Jakarta, a political candidate was murdered in a hail of bullets, the former reserve bank deputy governor was indicted for corruption, but almost every morning the network – one of the most widely watched by news consumers – set aside substantial time for Corby."

Despite the huge volume of Fairfax Media reports, and the carefully painted picture of provocation, no time was wasted in blaming those media organizations which had picked up and used the misleading material provided:
    "If Corby is to be jailed again for causing ''public restlessness'' – the clause in the parole law now being invoked against her – it’s Metro TV and Media Indonesia which will have done most to create the upset."

In the context of years of fabricated stories, abusive smears, and direct Fairfax Media censorship, the following statement perhaps illustrates the effrontery of the article as whole:
    "Metro TV has also employed creative cutting of the interview to make Corby look gleeful at putting one over the Indonesians, and mistranslated some of the family’s comments to make them seem even worse. (When brother-in-law Wayan Widyartha explained that Corby was on medication for her poor mental state, it was translated on Metro TV as ''she often consumes sedatives''.)"

As Fairfax Media's Jakarta based correspondent, reporting hard political events, it is difficult to imagine that Bachelard was not fully conversant with the likely political consequences of his own stories:
    "The campaign, though, is not a pure expression of public feeling. Schapelle Corby has become a pawn in Indonesian politics, in a game played by people who care nothing for her individual fate."

    "Australia is deeply unpopular in Indonesia, and particularly so since Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, so Corby (and Mercedes) are readily portrayed as conniving manipulators in this political shadow puppet play."

The additional trauma, which these developments caused Schapelle Corby, can only be speculated upon. However, at the time of producing this page, the direct threats to her are still in situ: she remains, in practical terms, gagged and at risk.

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