Saturday, 7 April 2007

Yvonne Ridley was in the news again today. I mentioned yesterday that she had appeared on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), the multicultural broadcaster that derives most of its funds from the federal government.

Carly Crawford reported in today's The Daily Telegraph that Ridley thinks "Australia's attitudes to Islam are sliding faster than any other country".

"I'm deeply shocked," she said. "It's not what it was when I was last here three years ago."

"I've visited over 20 countries in the past three years and Australia is the most shocking in terms of deterioration."

Tonight Ridley was again in the news, appearing on Channel Ten with the rubric 'Islamic Journalist'. Ten reported that Ridley had been "gagged" by Mercy Mission, the event organiser, over her comments. All press were forced to go through a spokesman.

SBS again covered the story, but provided no details as to why Ridley did not appear for the media. They did, however, get some new shots of her walking in Melbourne.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which is entirely government-funded, got some new shots of Ridley, under the rubric 'Journalist', but were told that their requests for an interview had been refused. They also noted that access to the event by TV cameras was not permitted.

Their coverage included Ridley's voice talking on a radio program claiming that she had been "misquoted by the media". She said that the Australian media should know better than to do this to her.

The ABC also showed part of an interview with Adel Salman, tagged as the 'Conference Organiser', who said merely that Ridley was not available for comment. It's likely that Channel Ten is correct in saying that she has been "gagged".

Mercy Mission is mistaken if they think they can divert the Australian media from their goal: interviews with Ridley. She is a far more compelling subject for our media than some unknown spokesman. And it is disingenuous of Ridley to claim, as so many Muslims do when confronted by their portrayal in the media, that she has been misquoted or taken out of context.

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