The struggling Nine Network will benefit
mightily from its Schapelle Corby special tomorrow night, which it
expects to pull a big audience in excess of 1.5 million. The Sunday
program last week ran a poll asking if viewers thought Corby was
guilty: 93% said no, only 7% yes – that gives an idea of the sort of
reaction Nine knows it’s going to get.

But since the Packers have already paid money to Corby via 60 Minutes
last year for “expenses,” will any more be paid by any of the programs
or the group’s ACP magazines? And shouldn’t the Packers pay some of the
money they’ll make from tomorrow night’s special to Corby for her legal
costs – without any strings attached?

But the special report
could threaten to cloud an already murky situation. Just imagine the
outcry in Australia if the Indonesian government, president and media
interests took a huge interest in a case of an Indonesian fisherman on
trial in this country. A couple have already died in poor circumstances
in Darwin Harbour in the past couple of months. There’d be a tremendous
outcry if the case of those deaths was taken up at the highest levels
of government and our judiciary, with TV crews and the media nosing
around Darwin, day after day.

The fact that many Australians
think they can comment on Indonesian justice and legal system without
compunction or concern smacks of racism. We should remember that the
Australian government jailed an Australian resident, Cornelia Rau, and
deported another, Vivian Alvarez Solon. Where’s the outpouring of
concern for the horrible experiences of these women? Will the Nine
Network run a prime time special on their experiences? Don’t think so.

Today Tonight’s cheap shots at Corby

Meanwhile, Today Tonight was up to its old tricks on last night, filching a quote from the Nine Network’s Sunday program that featured Schapelle Corby’s sister, Mercedes. That story went to air a week ago on Sunday and rather than give Nine or Sunday any credit, Today Tonight lifted the grab from the Ross Coulthart story and then blew it up in the editing of the story to remove the Nine and Sunday watermarks.

quote was lifted and used in a grubby little story that retailed a few
of the salacious claims about Schapelle Corby’s life: her marriage to a
Japanese man, “sampling the Japanese night life” in Tokyo after the
marriage fell over, and suggestions of too many trips to Bali. The
story retailed the cover story from this week’s New Idea.

To its credit, TT quoted an “investigator” in Japan (for the New Idea story) as saying that her friends had dismissed the stories that Schapelle Corby was involved in the drug trade. The TT
reporter put the claims to the chief financial backer, Gold Coast
businessman Ron Bakir, but it’s a pity that Schapelle Corby wasn’t
around to have the stories and claims put to her, to give her the
chance of reply.