On the ethics of reporting on Barnaby Joyce

Richard Davoren writes: Re. “Media roundtable: was it ethical of the Tele to publish its Barnaby Joyce story?” (Wednesday)

Margaret Simons seemed to believe that Barnaby Joyce’s transgression, providing there is no suggestion of harassment or coercion or improper favouritism or improper expenditure of public funds, the matter is not in the public interest.

If you are prepared to ignore the immorality of his actions and a clear signal as to the character of the deputy prime minister, it can’t be ignored that he has seriously hurt his wife and his family.

If Barnaby, in the seclusion of the family home had struck or assaulted his wife, the matter should become a matter for the courts and would clearly be in the public interest. He hasn’t done that, but what he has done has inflicted great suffering to his wife and family by his actions. He is not the butcher or baker or candlestick maker but a public figure, a politician who at times, leads the nation and in more idle moments, leads the National Party.

Margaret concludes by stating “I would have thought the relationship was nobody’s business but that of the people involved.”

One could extend that argument to suggest that family violence, kept within the home’s four walls, is nobody’s business but that of the people involved.

The matter is clearly in the public interest.

On Robert Parry

Serge Galitsky writes: “Razer: true reporters, like the late Robert Parry, strive to be despised” (Wednesday) 

I am grateful that Helen produced a fitting obit for Robert Parry. I thought that some other Australian news source would carry a piece. I looked in vain in the Silly Morning Herald, but nothing there. Perhaps Parry’s example was too discomfiting to the Fairfaeces, or perhaps they had not heard of him. And of course nothing on the ABC. Parry did journalism well and hunted down real stories. I hope he has inspired other, but little sign of this in the sleepy land of Oz.

Peter Fray

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