A possie in Aussie

August 18, 2009

National newspaper agrees: Asylum seekers not illegal

Advocacy group A Just Australia has won a complaint against the Australian about language used in four articles and an editorial on boat arrivals, published in April 2009. Press Council

A Just Australia complained to the Australian Press Council about the use of the term “illegal” or “illegals” in the reference to unauthorised arrivals.

The Council found that the use of the modifier “illegal” in the articles and the term “illegals” in a headline were factually inaccurate, and noted that in general the terms are inflammatory.

The council notes its current guideline Australian Press Council guideline No262 is generally observed by the print media.

In commonwealth immigration legislation the term used is “unlawful noncitizens”.

It was the Council’s opinion that, while ministers and government officials continue to use the disputed terms, it is difficult for the press to report the immigration debate using consistent terms. Press council’s ruling on refugees

Earlier this year the West Australian committed itself to scrutinise and edit Letters to the Editor so no references to “illegals”, “illegal immigrants” or “illegal refugees” will make it to its print or online editions.

Perth rights advocate and Project SafeCom member Ross Copeland wrote to the editor requesting the action, and said

“It would not be acceptable to categorise any other group in our community who have broken no laws as “criminals” which is what “illegal immigrants” implies. Why should it be accepted in the case of asylum seekers who comply with the law?” West Australian Daily sets national tone on ‘Illegals Tag’

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