Yesterday I had a look at Meryl Dorey’s reinterpretation of the term annual subscription.
Today I want to have a look at another section of Meryl Dorey’s official AVN Newsletter, published yesterday (January 9 2011). In this Newsletter Dorey makes some defamatory claims about the character and professionalism of journalist Cathy O’Leary:
Yet another win for the AVN!
[Stop the AVN] worked closely with Cathy O’Leary from the West Australian newspaper on this issue. She wrote a highly inflammatory and very incorrect article claiming that the AVN was under investigation by WA Consumer Protection for fund-raising and asking people for donations whilst we were in WA…
Not only was she the person who had contacted Consumer Protection (and writing about an issue while you are the person who has been complaining about it without revealing that information appears to be a breach of the journalism code of ethics)…
The AVN has filed complaints against both Cathy O’Leary and the West Australian with the Australian Press Council (I hope to blog about their response to this shortly), the MEAA and Media Watch.
Let’s get something out of the way. The AVN was investigated. Dorey admits that this is the case. Dorey is playing semantics here. A complaint was made about the AVN (whose Charitable Fundraising Authority has been revoked); the appropriate Government entity investigated, and found that there was no evidence that funds had been raised. End of story, right? Well, not really.
Meryl Dorey repeats libellous remarks regarding Cathy O’Leary: remarks which have already been addressed, and proven to be false, since Dorey’s first official AVN Press Release on this matter. Here is the text of the November 12 2011 Press Release, again:
The West Australian offers more ‘trolley folly’ as consumer advocates cry out for ethics amongst West Australian journalists.
Evidence revealed this week by Consumer Protection, WA shows that a prominent West Australian journalist, Cathy O’Leary, is taking stabs in the dark at Vaccine information consumer group, the AVN.
On Saturday, November 4th, The West Australian published an article entitled Anti-Vaccination Group Under Scrutiny. In this piece, O’Leary says, “Consumer Protection is investigating whether an anti-vaccination group breached charity laws by seeking donations at a series of meetings in WA in the past two weeks.”
Consumer protection confirmed on November 6th that:
1- There is no investigation. A complaint has been received and information has been requested of the AVN, but at this time, there is no investigation.
2- The complaint which engendered this article, was filed by none other than Cathy O’Leary of the West Australian.
“The Australian public deserves to receive the honest truth about the news, not what journalists, through their own bias, have chosen to tell them. When it came to my attention that Ms O’Leary had done this sort of thing before (see Media Watch, Trolley Folly), I knew it was time to let the public know the same media scandals that occurred in Britain may very well be happening on our own turf.” Says Ms Dorey, consumer watchdog advocate.
An ABC Radio Journalist who has asked not to be named has suggested that this may comprise a serious breach of the AJA Code of Ethics. Complaints have been filed with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and the Australian Press Council (APC). A further complaint against the West Australian has been filed with ABC’s Media Watch.
It is because of such unethical behaviour at Murdoch newspapers that Australia has convened an independent inquiry into the media and media regulation. People who read newspapers need to know that the news is being reported rather than created. It is hoped that the appropriate authorities will take action to stop these random shots from poisoning the public.
The clauses of the AJA Code of Ethics which it is alleged Ms O’Leary has breached are:
1. Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.
5. Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.
If found to have breached the code by the MEAA, The West Australian can face fines, censure and potential expulsion from their membership of that organisation.
AUTHOR AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW:
For further information please contact: Meryl Dorey – firstname.lastname@example.org…
PHOTOS /pictures to support the story AVAILABLE ON REQUEST:
Here is the complete article written by O’Leary:
Again, I will link to this December 22 2011 post by Ken McLeod which thoroughly shows that Meryl Dorey’s Press Release was incorrect and libellous:
1. The release refers to the “West Australian” newspaper as part of the Murdoch News Limited empire. It is not. (This cockup was corrected later.)
2. There was and still is an investigation. The WA Consumer Protection Bureau has written to me asking for information on the allegations contained in the original complaint.
3. The investigation was a result of a complaint made by a member of the public 5 days before the article. It was not “engendered by the (“West Australian”) article.”
4. The complaint was not filed by the journalist, Cathy O’Leary; as I said, it was filed by a member of the public
5. There was no breach of the AJA Code of Ethics. Dorey and her “ABC journalist” got it completely wrong
So Meryl Dorey has repeated her libellous claims about Cathy O’Leary, many weeks after being shown that she was incorrect in her accusations regarding O’Leary’s article:
1. Cathy O’Leary’s article was not “highly inflammatory and very incorrect”.
2. Cathy O’Leary was not “the person who had contacted Consumer Protection”.
3. Cathy O’Leary did not write “about an issue while [she is] the person who has been complaining about it without revealing that information”.
4. Cathy O’Leary did not, therefore, commit ”a breach of the journalism code of ethics”.
5. Cathy O’Leary has already been found to have no case to answer for Dorey’s repeated claim: “The AVN has filed complaints against both Cathy O’Leary and the West Australian with the Australian Press Council (I hope to blog about their response to this shortly), the MEAA and Media Watch.” As has previously been noted by Ken McLeod:
Not one of the media authorities complained to proceed to conduct an investigation. As one investigator told me, “we don’t take any notice of this nutter.”
Given these five points, I again put it to Meryl Dorey and her Australian Vaccination Network that they should retract the demonstrably false accusations levelled at Cathy O’Leary, and apologise forthwith. I sincerely hope that The West Australian and Ms O’Leary take this matter further, as is appropriate.
Meryl Dorey would do well to reconsider her Orwellian heading, Yet another win for the AVN!