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Joint Statement from the Zionist Federation of Australia and the Zionist Council of Victoria on the announcement of Walkley Awards Finalists

The Zionist Federation of Australia and the Zionist Council of Victoria are deeply concerned that two blatantly biased pieces of journalism from the Gaza conflict have been made finalists in the prestigious Walkley Awards for 2014.

Fairfax’s  Ruth Pollard and John  Lyons of the Australian (who participated in the making of ABC’s docu-drama “Stone Cold Justice” screened on Four Corners) both drew heavy criticism during the conflict for their one sided, opinion laden pieces that turned a blind eye to the egregious war crimes perpetrated by Hamas, the ISIS related terrorist group that dominates Gaza.

As reported in the Australian (October 27, 2014) “Ruth Pollard’s feature on Gaza was so controversial when it was published it prompted a flood of readers to cancel subscriptions to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.  “SMH Editor Darren Goodsir spent two days on the phone begging subscribers to give his paper another chance, promising more balanced coverage of the conflict.”

In his report, John Lyons tendentiously argued that Israeli children and young Palestinians are subjected to two different legal systems when he knew full well that Israel could not apply its civil law to the disputed Palestinian territories without formal annexation which itself is an anathema to those supporting the Palestinian cause.  What he described as “an impossible situation” is the direct consequence of the failure of the Palestinians (and before them the Arab world) to accept offers of peace from Israel that go back further than the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The Walkley Awards exist to recognise “creative and courageous acts of journalism that seek out the truth and give new insight to an issue.” General criteria in assessing entries include among other things “accuracy and ethics.” 

ZCV President, Sam Tatarka said “The Walkley Board appears to be disregarding their own guidelines in even considering Pollard and Lyons for an award, let alone making them finalists for their inaccurate and cowardly journalism which did anything but seek out the truth or give new insight into the issues”.  Dr Danny Lamm, President of the ZFA said “I am appalled that pieces as disingenuous as those written by Pollard and Lyons are being considered for the Walkley awards”