NT News in trouble over ‘final solution’ comment

Daily Northern Territory newspaper, the NT News – which has previously run with headlines including ‘Our Dog ate my g-string’, ‘They stole my dog while I was on the bog’, ‘Catnappers shaved my pussy’, ‘Why I stuck a cracker up my clacker’ and ‘Horny ghost haunts house’  – has gone too far in the eyes of the Australian Press Council.

The News-Corp owned paper published a message in its ‘Txt the editor’ section in which the reader said they would prefer “another grand final solution” to the Eurovision Song Contest, which was won by Israel.

The NT News said the text was not anti-Semitic or a reference to the Holocaust

The Press Council asked the publication to comment on whether, in the context of Israel’s win, the reference to the “final solution” could be considered an offensive reference to the Holocaust and anti-Semitic.

The phrase ‘final solution’ is generally understood to reference Nazi Germany’s code name for its plan for the genocide of Jewish people during World War II. It also hit the headlines locally recently when Queensland senator Fraser Anning said a plebiscite was “the final solution on the immigration problem” in Australia.

The full text, as published in the NT News on page 11 on 17 May, 2018, said:

I am not happy about the Eurovision winner and I would prefer another grand final solution.

The NT News said the text was not anti-Semitic and was not a reference to the Holocaust. It acknowledged the significance of the phrase, but said in this instance, the reference was to the “grand final” of Eurovision, rather than the Nzai’s “final solution”.

The Press Council also asked the NT News whether it had taken reasonable steps to avoid causing substantial offence, distress or prejudice, without sufficient justification in the public interest.

The NT News responded to the claim saying there is frequently debate around the rules and outcomes of the Eurovision Song Contest, with contestants’ merrits and talents under the microscope.

Despite the defence, the Press Council ruled that, given Israel’s win, many readers would interpret a “grand final solution” to be a reference to the Holocaust, which trivialises the tragedy and implies another Holocaust could be the solution to Israel’s win.

“Whether the language used was the result of poor execution or an ill-advised attempt at humour rather than being deliberately offensive, it was likely to cause substantial offence and distress to readers,” the Press Council said.

The text message was not, it said, sufficiently in the public interest to justify such offence and distress.

The Press Council thus found the publication to be in breach of Principle 6 – “Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.”

“While the Eurovision Song Contest can attract great publicity and controversy and attracted significant community interest—especially given Australia’s entrant originated from the Northern Territory—the fact that the community may find a subject of interest does not mean that publication of the material is in the public interest,” the Press Council said.


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