21 July 2009

ABC: No moral muddle that I can see

The Weekend Australian for July 18-19 2009 ran a piece on the connection which it evidently struggles to see between the cases of David Hicks and detained Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu, under the heading China puts the ABC in a moral muddle.

It starts by quoting Virginia Trioli in a conversation with Waleed Aly on ABC 2’s Breakfast program:

Always interesting, I think, to see the opposition jumping up and down about Australian citizens being held without charge for quite some time. Where were they during David Hicks? Where were they?

It later goes on to quote Gerard Henderson in his Media Watch Dog blog:

It was interesting to note that Trioli asked leading questions positing the Hu-equals-Hicks thesis and Aly went along with the suggestion, somewhat reluctantly. From the available evidence, Hu is a well-regarded businessman who has been incarcerated by China's communist dictatorship for reasons that the Chinese authorities have yet to explain.

Hicks, on the other hand, is a self-admitted supporter of terrorism who trained with the Taliban, who attempted to kill non-Muslims on the Indian side of the Kashmir line-of-control and who was captured in Afghanistan just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US. Hicks is also on record as condemning Christians and Jews and supporting beheadings for those who do not follow the teaching of Mohammed as interpreted by his (one-time) mates in the Taliban.

I think Trioli’s question is a perfectly reasonable one (indeed I had raised it myself in More double standards ) and so my question of Mr Henderson would be, which of the above allegations against Mr Hicks extinguishes the right to due process, the right to a fair trial, or the right to expect the Australian Government to make vigorous representations on behalf of a citizen detained without charge?

As the Weekend Australian’s headline indicates that its editors are with Mr Henderson, it is a fair question to address to them also.

The original Weekend Australian piece may be found here.

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