Criticism over ‘downright offensive and unacceptable race discrimination’ in News Corp Coronavirus headlines

A petition calling for the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph to apologise over ‘downright offensive and unacceptable’ headlines regarding the Coronavirus has gathered 50,000 signatures.

The complaint follows a subheading in the Herald Sun which read ‘Chinese virus pandamonium [sic]’ and a warning in the Daily Telegraph that ‘China kids stay home’ from school.

The petition reads:

“We, Chinese community, hereby strongly require sincere apologies publicly from both Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph.

The subtitle of the headline on Herald Sun as of 29th January, “Chinese virus pandamonium” inappropriately labeled the Coronavirus by race. The Daily Telegraph made the part of headline “China kids stay home” bolder which misled the public and cause potential high risk of discrimination against the Aussie kids with Chinese background at school. This label is downright offensive and unacceptable race discrimination. And both made the inestimable negative impact on Chinese community.

The Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph should take serious responsibility of media ethics to report unbiasly [sic] and objectively!”

A News Corp Australia spokesperson told Mumbrella the reference to the Coronavirus as a ‘Chinese virus’ simply refers to it originating in China. Other outlets have also referred to the virus as the ‘China virus’. The Coronavirus first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has since infected more than 7000 people according to most recent reports. Currently, 170 deaths have been attributed to the virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a public health emergency.

Reports of racism associated with the virus have been reported from around the world as more cases are reported globally. A Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece published yesterday called out the ‘Sinophobia and even racism’ related to the virus, specifically referencing the Herald Sun front page.

Mumbrella understands there are no plans currently for News Corp Australia to apologise for the headlines.


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