Crikey would like to extend a retraction and an apology to The National Indigenous Times, its editor Chris Graham and journalist Brian Johnstone for the allegations contained in the story “Dithering over Mutitjulu drew censure” (item 9, Friday 22 June).

The central imputations in the piece (as it relates to Brian Johnstone, Chris Graham and The National Indigenous Times) are that:

(a) Brian Johnstone, Chris Graham and NIT conspired to secrete the activities of a p-dophile/s preying on Aboriginal children.

(b) Brian Johnstone, Chris Graham and NIT conspired with three politicians to attack people who blew the whistle on the activities of p-dophiles.

Crikey accepts that those imputations and allegations are false and without foundation.

The story also included:

Soon after Lateline broke the story, NT Labor MLA Alison Anderson called the National Indigenous Times and asked editor Chris Graham and journalist Brian Johnstone to pursue the Mutitjulu story.

Crikey acknowledges that this statement was false and that no such incident occurred.

The story went on to say:

In early July 2006, a ‘council of war’ met in Mutitjulu to plan their attack on the Lateline story. Present were Anderson, Graham, and Johnstone, as well as NT Labor president Warren Snowdon and Senator Trish Crossin.

Crikey accepts that no such ‘council of war’ meeting ever took place involving Chris Graham, Brian Johnstone or anyone from NIT. Rather, Crikey acknowledges that Graham and Johnstone attended a community meeting in Mutitjulu attended by several dozen people, having been invited to that meeting by Mutitjulu elders.

The story went on to say:

Driven by base political considerations, they set about undermining the reputations of people courageous enough to spill the beans on a child abuser, his protectors in the local community, and a system that allowed him to get away with it.

Crikey accepts there was no factual basis for this claim and that this did not, in fact, occur.

The story continued:

At the urging of the ALP trio — Snowdon, Crossin and Anderson — the National Indigenous Times launched an attack on the credibility of the eyewitnesses who took part in the Mutitjulu broadcast — all with the knowledge of Clare Martin and her deputy, Sid Stirling.

Crikey accepts that there was no factual basis on which to make this statement and that this did not, in fact, occur.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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