Correction:  Yesterday in Media Briefs, Crikey wrote that the Press Council had “condemned” the coverage of the Sydney Lindt cafe siege. This was not accurate. As a Press Council spokesman told us after publication, the council’s release did not make “any negative comment about the overall media coverage of the incident, and in particular it does not ‘condemn’ that coverage. The media release also does not ‘criticise’ any ‘media frenzy’ or ‘rampant speculation’.” Crikey‘s media brief has been amended on the website, and has also been clarified to emphasis that while the Press Council received complaints about many individual media outlets from the public, its statement was not a reflection on any one outlet.

Inquiry into Sydney siege

Geoffrey Heard writes: Re. “PM’s rebuke focuses attention on siege intelligence failure” (yesterday). Please stop calling for an inquiry into why Monis wasn’t on a watch list. It would have made no difference, absolutely none, if he had been. By demanding to know why he wasn’t on such a list you are feeding into Abbott’s strategy of transforming this event into a “terrorist” incident so he can go unchallenged further down the path of slashing away all Australians’ simple freedoms?

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Further he was not a terrorist — he was simply a criminal. He just produced the kind of stuff lots of other violent, nasty, middle-aged Australian men have produced when deprived of their private targets and victims. All those sexual assaults? We have seen them with a “Christian” label here and overseas. The nasty letters? Barely an extension of the kind of stuff that has been coming from all sorts of sources and spread all over the internet. The difference with Monis? He was clearly more intelligent than most perpetrators and in the end, he spread a patina of “terrorism” over his actions. In addition, in the end he was not as smart as he thought and he ran out of options.

Should he have been on a terrorist watch list? If he was, what would have been done about him? Would someone have followed him into the café and ripped the gun out of his hand before he could raise it? Don’t make me laugh. But in truth, the question is irrelevant. He should have been on remand in jail. The magistrate who gave him bail should be sacked with the loss of his pension, and publicly pilloried. “Weak cases” — all 40 of them? And how weak were they if the High Court has thrown out his attempt to have them set aside? And a change should be made to the law: anyone on remand on such serious charges goes to jail (including financial charges). No bail.

Pat Kirkman writes: Too many cooks spoil the broth. It seems the main problem is too many agencies. How many emails are passed around to sit unread, on computers, or in-baskets? If someone has evil in mind, how are they detected? They are cunning and determined. It is always easy to be wise after the event. The Sydney media splurge was dreadful, every channel, every conceivable ‘expert’ holding forth, and a lot of incompetent noise filling in the gaps.  Not riveting!

The real challenges facing remote indigenous communities

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Trauma in the Kimberley: what life is like in remote indigenous communities” (yesterday). When will the smart alecs in Canberra learn to understand that unless they can offer outback Aborigines a hope for the future and hence a measure of self-belief, trying to solve problems by forcing kids to school and by supplying housing accommodation suited to Aborigines needs rather than whites will forever get nowhere?

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Crikey is an independent Australian-owned and run outfit. It doesn’t enjoy the vast resources of the country’s main media organisations. We take seriously our responsibility to bear witness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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