A boarding pass with a name on it, broadcast on Sky News as families were still being notified and names had not yet been released, an ABC reporter picking up a piece of a victim’s clothing, and, in another report, walking among piles of personal belongings and talking about a child’s body lying off camera.
Some of the coverage from the crash site of MH17 in eastern Ukraine has been bizarre at best and downright insensitive at worst. What do we gain from such reports? And is it worth the price for the families of victims, who must be finding such coverage gut-wrenching?
“You can walk around the crash scene, there’s nobody stopping you. Once you have one of these Mickey Mouse press passes that the rebel government — so-called rebel government — will issue you with … you’re pretty well free to go where you want to go,” Fairfax’s chief correspondent Paul McGeough said yesterday. There are no limits on where the media can go in the rebel-held region — and some in the media are struggling to work out where the limits are.
Meanwhile, the government’s resolution to the UN Security Council on the tragedy was passed without opposition, a commendable achievement by Julie Bishop and her diplomats that we hope will pave the way for some form of investigation of what’s left of the crash scene. What good fortune that Australia had a Security Council seat with which to press the issue.
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Some have suggested the efforts of the previous government to secure a UNSC seat were “extravagant”, that they had “distracted from core foreign policy interests”, that there were “vastly higher priorities for Australia”, that winning it was “expensive” and “there is a limit to what can be achieved as a temporary member on the United Nations Security Council” and that it would only be a “worthy investment” if the UN “stopped the boats”.
Presumably the authors of those remarks — Julie Bishop, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey — feel differently now.