Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Multi-national coal and their playbook are never about community

Full page attack, Friday 5th November 2021

 A couple of weeks ago, a friend showed me this page from the Hunter River Times published Friday 5th November 2021.

 I could not believe what I was reading. 

I was appalled at this vicious attack made by one of the world's largest most destructive mines, Glencore, and that here they were taking out a full page of goodness knows what in a ‘community newspaper,’ outright attacking two individual traditional owners for following a legal process.

But this paper, the Hunter River Times, is no ordinary independent community paper. It is the NSW Minerals Council's rag, and it brooks no criticism to do with mining from any quarter.

As chance would have it, I am running for the Upper Hunter Shire Council for a second term, and all 'councillor-candidates' were invited by the Hunter River Times to write fluffy 'vote-for-me' 100 word pieces for the Friday 19th November 2021 issue.

I chose my 100 words very carefully and precisely, and they were as follows:

"My name is Sue Abbott and I am appalled at the extraordinary attack recently launched by Glencore, the world's largest mining company, against two individual traditional owners for trying to preserve Ravensworth massacre site. I am also appalled that it was published in this paper."

"That Glencore resorts to bullying and intimidation so that it can extend the life of its open cut mine near Ravensworth demonstrates the Swiss giant is lacking any corporate responsibility. That the the Hunter River Times would run the piece on the mine's behalf demonstrates how missed truly independent media really are."

Admittedly I did think there was a good chance that my words would not be published but what I did not think was that words I had not supplied Hunter River Times would be inserted looking as though a contribution from me.

Words I did not write for Hunter River Times, Friday 19th November 2021

 This layout is misleading and deceptive.

I immediately contacted the Hunter River Times via text with the following words:

"I did not write those words on page 8 of the Hunter River Times (Friday 19th November 2021). Please retract them and please issue an apology in your next issue as they seem to be 'passing off' as me and those words are certainly not what I wrote."

In response, the Hunter River Times justified their action by informing me that the words they used in their column, purporting to be mine, were from my statement on the NSW Electoral Commission's website. 

Cherry-picking and cobbling together words from my nomination form do not qualify as words from me in the capacity readers think that they are reading, and basically just shows a complete lack of respect for me and for the paper’s very own readers.

I remain appalled by Glencore's actions towards the two individual traditional owners and also by everything to do with the Hunter River Times ... 

 ... and I still expect a retraction and an apology in the next issue of the Hunter River Times.

Furthermore I miss and will always miss ‘real’ independent community media so very much.

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