Balanced approach more likely to sway Japan


Would a difference of opinion between Australia and the US or Britain be referred to as a ”war” in a respectable newspaper? If the disagreement is with Japan, how easily headline writers reach for the word (”Whaling war set to worsen after crash”, January 7). If one side in a dispute sets out to create an incident, while the other hopes to conduct its unpopular activity with a minimum of fuss, whom do we believe when the incident happens? If it is to do with whaling, the Australian media (especially the ABC) unfailingly defers to Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson. Following the most recent incident, his account of events – protest vessel ”rammed” and ”cut in half” while stationary – has been disproved by video evidence. It is about time the media subjected Mr Watson’s statements to normal journalistic standards of verification. If they had been doing so before now, his credibility would be low. Japan should stop whaling: it makes a minimal contribution to its food security and constitutes a minor part of its cultural heritage. Australian politicians and journalists should also take a more responsible approach to the issue – one, in the end, that is more likely to be respected by the Japanese leaders who will decide their whaling policy. Walter Hamilton, ¬†Oatley