Australian Journalists Covering Terror Receive Death Threats

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A senior journalist in Sydney revealed journalists covering the shooting of police accountant Curtis Cheng by a young Islamist terrorist have been subjected to death threats.

Speaking to group of representatives from Australia’s top news outlets, senior reporter for Seven News Chris Reason related how, “Some media outlets are receiving direct physical violent death threats, specific threats not to go near Parramatta Mosque, where the 15-year-old went to pray. At one point a senior member of the Daily Telegraph turned up there with two flak jackets.  

“The situation is deadly serious among journalists covering the story in Western Sydney. People have been seen videoing journos in their cars. Journos and cameramen are doing their job more cautiously, but they continue covering this critical story well.”

Reason, an award-winning journalist who covered live the siege of the Lindt Café in downtown Sydney by Islamist terrorist Man Monis, said journalists were still committed to “keep going with their work.”

The Telegraph received direct threats to their journalists and the word spread from there,” Reason said. "There had been an explicit threat to a young female Tele journo that she would have her arms ripped off and she would be murdered. It was very violent language, she told us.

A day before the speech, Andrew Bolt, a columnist for the Herald Sun, published a threat he received which read:

“hi there again you arrogant piece of shit!!! You f—ng Jewish dog, stop hiding behind your f—d up articles and office and say your shit in Lakemba if you had any balls, which you don’t. You’re a piece of shit that gets your frills by bragging about Islam every time. May Allah the Almighty God bless someone to burn you and have your head on display without your body intact and feed you to dogs. Burn in HELL.”

“Counter-terrorist operators in Sydney intercepted messages between certain groups threatening and targeting journos and media,’ Reason said. “The Telegraph was one of them, AAP another. Executives organized precautions. Most media organizations like [Channels] 7 and 10 ended up hiring private security guards while covering the story in the first week.

“It’s an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. I have never seen anything like it in Sydney in 20 years. In my organization there’s been some serious conversation on how to cover it, how to approach the story, how to protect ourselves. Some cameramen are worried, some journos worried. I don’t know what’s being done about security at people’s homes.

“We have not talked about it publicly. No reporter has talked or written about it in Sydney.”

Indeed, the morning after Reason’s speech, there was no coverage of it in Australia’s mainstream press.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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