An interesting stoush is brewing between Launceston’s Examiner newspaper and former cadet journalist Wes Young, with Young pursuing the paper for unfair dismissal after he was given the flick after writing articles critical of logging giant Gunns Ltd.
Young is pursuing The Examiner for unfair dismissal in the IRC and yesterday he appeared on ABC radio Tasmania’s 7ZR:
WES YOUNG: I kept notes from my time at the paper and quite often there would be things that would come up about the pulp mill that just were not covered, or were glossed over. On one particular occasion I ran with a story with the full consent of the management at the paper that night, on the West Tamar Council voter poll which will give people a say at the election, whether they want it or not and I actually got a written warning for reporting the news.
COXIE: A warning?
WES YOUNG: Yes, a warning in writing for reporting the news.
Examiner editor Dean Southwell this morning refused to comment, but Crikey understands the paper’s position is to claim that Young resigned.
The story is creating quite a stir in Tasmanian media circles with TheTasmanian Times following it closely here and quoting Young thus: “The fact the paper’s editorial comments continually espouse the virtues of a pulp mill isn’t surprising given that Gunns Ltd is their largest advertiser. Certain members of the Examiner’s management have tried to stifle debate about the project or simply ensure certain aspects are not reported at all…”
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Greens leader and Tasmanian Senator Bob Brown has also followed the Young case closely and is amazed at the uncritical reports that often appear on the front pages of some of Tasmania’s media. “You just have to say: is this independent editorial analysis?” he said.
Nearly every editorial employee at The Examiner signed a petition calling on the paper to reinstate Young. And Gunns Ltd’s relationship with the Tasmanian media, and particularly The Examiner, is also being hotly debated, as was The Examiner’s recent Gunns advertising feature here.
Just as we were going to publication, Crikey learned that Examiner publisher Rural Press has threatened The Tasmanian Times with legal action unless it removes coverage of Young’s case from his site. Editor Lindsay Tuffin is seeking legal advice.