Apr 17, 2013

Twiggy takes journos on an undisclosed China junket

Fortescue Metals Group paid for travel and accommodation for multiple journalists at the Bo'ao forum, but you wouldn't hear it from News or Fairfax.

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group provided free trips to China for newspaper journalists to cover a business leaders’ forum co-founded by the mining magnate last week. But The Australian and The Australian Financial Review did not disclose this to readers in their reports and commentary on the gabfest.

Yvonne Ball, a spokesperson for Fortescue, told Crikey the company paid for travel and accommodation for reporters from The Fin, The Oz, The SMH/Age and The West Australian to attend the Senior Business Leaders Forum in Bo’ao last week. The AFR was represented by national affairs writer Jennifer Hewett and The Australian by China correspondent Scott Murdoch.

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12 thoughts on “Twiggy takes journos on an undisclosed China junket

  1. cairns50

    so the australian and the aust financial review say there reporters have done nothing wrong by not disclosing that one of australials richest men took them on a junket to china to cover a converance

    isnt this the same 2 newspapers that sided with forrest in his attacks against the mining tax when it was proposed?

    no wonder the msm has no credibility, this just shows that they are in the pocket of the wealthy and powerful and that there articles are politically biased

  2. paddy

    Good get Matthew.
    Can’t say I’m surprised by News Limited’s response.
    But it’s sad to watch the decline of Fairfax in real time.
    Hopefully Mediawatch will “unleash the Holmes” on this one.

  3. Mark from Melbourne

    “News Limited’s professional conduct policy does not address the disclosure of sponsored travel or accommodation.”

    Of course not as that would stuff up a lot of their advertorial.

  4. tonyfunnywalker

    Manning was right, this is just another form of Advertorial.

    Its is also common in travel, tourism and wine as well as business.

    Its what keeps News Ltd in business.

    Now wasn’t there a enquiry into News Ltd’s Australian practice after the NOW affair.

    A advertorial is worth much more than a lunch.

  5. ruth elder

    I loved this!: A spokesperson for News Limited said: “Fortescue did assist Scott in attending the conference. His reporting was not influenced in any way, and so there was no conflict of interest and, we believe, no need for disclosure.”
    Isn’t that the point of disclosure, that the reader can make a judgement as to whether the reporter was influenced? I would also have thought that having all of your travel and accommodation paid for by the organisation you’re reporting on would constitute a conflict of interest.
    But then the tone was petulant.

  6. dazza

    Since when have these hacks taken any notice of any code of conduct/ethics?
    You might as well write ‘crap” as there’s no regulator to control anyone.

  7. Achmed

    If there was nothing to hide – why hide it??

  8. klewso

    “There’s no such thing as a free trip to China”?

  9. klewso

    That’s “freedom of the press” – to hide what they want.

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