The Indonesian disaster undoubtedly deserves our attention. But when it involves Australians — including journalists — is there a danger of the coverage becoming disproportionate?

Indonesian air crash, 7 March: Garuda Airlines flight 200 from Jakarta to Yogyakarta skidded from the runway after landing. 22 people confirmed dead. Four (possibly five) of the dead are Australian, including Fairfax journalist Morgan Mellish, while his colleague Cynthia Banham suffered serious injuries.

Press: 193 articles  Radio: 2331 stories   TV: 390 articles

Australian mining executive dies in plane accident, 8 March: Melbourne mining executive Garnet Halliday died in Malawi in an air crash. Halliday was in Africa establishing a uranium mine. He was en route to the mine site near the Tanzanian border when the plane went down. The pilot was also killed.

Press: 56   Radio: 24   TV: nil

Nine Somalis killed by insurgents, 8 March: Nine Somalian civilians sitting in a restaurant have been killed by a rocket propelled grenade which missed its target. Insurgents fired the grenade at a convoy of newly arrived African Union troops sent to Somalia to back up the fragile transitional government.

Press: Nil  Radio: Nil  TV: Nil

Eight children die in NYC inferno, 8 March: Eight immigrants from Mali have been killed in a house fire in New York City. The children were part of an extended family living in the house. The BBC reported: “The mayor said that – excluding the 11 September 2001 attacks – this was the single worst loss of life in a New York City fire since 1990.”

Press: 8  Radio: 8  TV: 3

Two suicide bombers kill 100 in Baghdad, 7 March: More than 100 Shia pilgrims marching to the shrine city of Karbala south of Baghdad for this weekend’s religious holiday of Arbaeen were killed when two Shiite suicide bombers stepped into the crowd and blew themselves up. Hundreds were injured.

Press: 8  Radio: 13  TV: 3

Indonesia ferry disaster death toll rises to 53, 25 February: Indonesian journalists and investigators climbed aboard the Levina I ferry near the Tanjung Priok harbour in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, to inspect the vessel which previously had caught fire killing as many as 50 people. The vessel then sank, killing a further 53 people.

Press: Nil  Radio: 6 radio  TV: nil

Adam Air flight disappeared, 1 January: Adam Air flight 574 disappeared almost without a trace midway between Surabaya and Manado in Indonesia. There were 102 people on board. A massive search effort eventually located what’s thought to be the plane’s wreckage on the ocean floor. The black boxes have not yet been recovered.

Press: 34  Radio: 147  TV: 30


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey