Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Australia: Murdoch paper's disgusting portrayal of murdered transgender woman

Rupert Murdoch's disgraceful cover of a gruesome murder
From friends of Facts For Working  People in Australia.
From Laura Szymanski Cotterall
Townsville North Queensland

 "Woman murdered and cooked by her chef husband." Pretty shocking, gruesome title for the front of a major Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper of a major city, the Courier Mail in Brisbane, Australia? But that was not the headline that this "newspaper" chose to use. Instead they close to call attention to the VICTIM Mayang Prasetyo's transgender status by using the title "Monster Chef and the She-Male" with a full-lengh bikini photo.

I have been disturbed for several years now by this lack of sensitivity towards victims of crimes as well as the sensationalizing of violent crimes by the media. This heading and the article that accompanies it (focusing on the victim's profession in the sex trade, etc.) further focuses a sense of shock and blame on the victim. There was recently a man here in Australia who murdered his wife and 3 children before killing himself. With comments about what a "nice guy" he was and how he must have been "really stressed out". Huh? This man makes the ultimate power play, the last show of dominance and abuse to his wife and he is garnering sympathy?

The only small glimmer of hope here is the outrage and backlash that this story has triggered among the readers. The Courier Mail has been inundated with comments berating and abusing them for the disgusting headline that they used. I am happy to read that among the garbage out there that the media spews out, there are still lots of decent people out there who are sympathetic to the fact that a fellow human being was killed in such a horrific way by a vile creature.  The response to the story has been significant and shows that among most human beings, compassion and solidarity is a very strong impulse.  Here are a few comments from FB:

Laura C: As someone else posted on the newspapers FB page, transgender people are already among the most marginalized at risk for suicide group out there--to treat her death like some trashy tabloid gossip fodder is insensitive and inexcusable.

Georgie D: Does someone behind the scenes in your newsroom have some kind of fetish? Is that why you keep on with these stories? Is it Rupert?

John B Still shaming victims today?...quick switch back too "terrorists everywhere"...you will do better Murdoch filth!

The other "facts" are just hurtful and malicious and shouldn't be a part of the front cover of a story. Shame on the Courier Mail, shame on Rupert Murdoch.

 Get UP, an Australian group that describes itself as: An independent, grassroots community advocacy organization, points out that: "More than 1 in 3 Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence by a man at some point in their lives. One woman is killed every week in Australia by a current or former partner. We need to tell these stories, and we need to tell them fairly and accurately." The group adds, "News reporting of domestic violence plays a critical role in setting the tone for community attitudes. When stories of domestic violence place blame upon the victim, society is told again and again that violence against women is justified and excuseable."

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