Muslim groups threaten Herald boycott

2014-08-09 06:00:25 | Al Muslim News
Muslim groups threaten Herald boycott

 

MUSLIM groups have condemned the recent suspension of Fairfax columnist Mike Carlton and have accused the media organisation of losing its independent and respected stance. IN a letter to Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood and editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir, the Australian National Imams Council, Islamic Council of NSW and the Muslim Legal Network NSW among others say they will boycott the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper unless the outspoken columnist is reinstated. Mr Carlton resigned as a columnist for Fairfax over his use of offensive language towards readers complaining about a recent column and accompanying cartoon about the war in Gaza. "As representatives of the Muslim community we have always regarded Fairfax to be one the more balanced media organisations in the country and where possible we have cooperated with your journalists on countless stories," the letter said. "But with the resignation of Mr Carlton from your publications we have now lost one of the very few voices advocating for the Palestinian cause in the country." The letter says the groups will consider notifying community organisations and spokespersons to cease cooperating with Fairfax journalists for media interviews. A media campaign targeting Fairfax advertisers is also being considered. In response to a request for comment on the letter, a Fairfax spokesman told AAP: "We understand and respect that there are strong views being expressed by many parties. "But the Herald will not be swayed from its long-standing and ongoing commitment to providing fair, independent and balanced news and reporting." On Wednesday Fairfax head of business media Sean Aylmer said the problem was the way Mr Carlton treated readers after they contacted him with issues about both the column and accompanying cartoon. Mr Carlton resigned when Mr Aylmer and Mr Goodsir said they would suspend him. In the letter sent to Fairfax on Saturday, the concerned Muslim community groups also condemned the cartoon that accompanied Mr Carlton's column. "It was indeed a racist cartoon that implicated the Jewish people in the actions of the Israeli state by using Jewish symbolism and stereotype," the letter said. "However, the apology from Fairfax makes it clear that Fairfax has been put under pressure by the Israeli lobby." The letter also accuses the paper of double standards and compares Mr Carlton to another Fairfax columnist, Paul Sheehan, whom the group accuses of "habitual and countless offensive remarks about Muslims and Islam". "Despite the Muslim community being outraged and writing countless correspondences to Fairfax management about their concerns, no such scrutiny was applied to Mr Sheehan," the letter said. On Saturday morning Mr Carlton said via Twitter he had pneumonia. "Out of hospital this morning," he said. "Deepest thanks for thousands of supportive tweets and emails. Feel I have many good friends.".

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