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Australia fires: Employee brands News Corp coverage 'irresponsible'

January 11, 2020 2:42 pm

An employee of Australian media organization News Corp has lashed out at the company for “irresponsible” coverage of the current bushfires engulfing parts of the country.

News Corp owns The Australian, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun.

Emily Townsend, a commercial finance manager at the organization, said coverage of the crisis had diverted attention away from climate change.

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Bushfires have ravaged many parts of the country for weeks.

At least 27 people have died.

Ms. Townsend sent the email after an all-staff message was sent from executive chairman Michael Miller sharing bushfire-related incentives.

She said the email regarding fundraising and other support initiatives did not “offset the impact News Corp reporting has had over the past few weeks”.

“News Corp’s decision to take this approach in such a devastating time for our country, communities and the environment is a step too far for any of us stakeholders to ignore and continue with our daily tasks without thinking for a minute about what we are contributing to,” she added.

News Corp is owned by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

The Australian has been criticized for its coverage of the fires. In one article it said the blazes were “nothing new”. It did say that climate change could not be ruled out as a cause before adding: “Climate change or no, these are some of the costs of being in one of the most fire prone regions in the world.”

It also was supportive of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to take a holiday to Hawaii. A commentary piece said: “We can’t blame him for wanting to take a well-earned break with his family, skip Monday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook surplus backtrack or escape the smoke from the bushfires surrounding Sydney.

Mr. Miller told the Sydney Morning Herald Ms. Townsend resigned in December and was due to leave shortly.

“The dedication and professionalism of our journalists and photographers have kept the community – particularly those Australians affected directly – informed and supported,” he added

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