Saturday, June 27, 2009

Welcome to AJN Watch

Welcome to the AJN Watch blog which we hope will develop into an important element in debate and thought for our communities.

There has long been a need felt amongst many Australian Jews for a site where they can vent their anger and exasperation at various objectionable and unworthy aspects of the almost-monopolistic Australian Jewish News. However, besides 'kvetching', very little has been done to bring these complaints to the attention of the broader Jewish – and indeed, non-Jewish - community. (We write “almost-monopolistic” as Baruch Hashem in the past year or so, we have welcomed the arrival of an Australian edition of the international Jewish weekly newspaper the Hamodia, which seems to be making major inroads in this country. We hope to elaborate about the Hamodia phenomenon in some future post.)

The past few years the AJN has published items, which had the Age or the Sydney Morning Herald given it similar treatment, all hell would’ve broken loose amongst our communal organizations (and no doubt the AJN would have moralized and editorialized about the anti-Semitic slant of those newspapers.)

But when the offender is the Australian Jewish News – no matter how appalling, there is an absolute silence from our community leaders (except of course from those associated with the aggrieved party/ies.)

Unlike other Jewish centers of population, where there are multiple media outlets available to the community, here in Australia we are at the absolute mercy of the editor and/or publisher of the AJN, who decides on which personalities they will let fly with the worst possible levels of legally-permissible ‘slander’ and, on the other hand, whose sins and crimes they will close their eyes to. And those that the AJN deserve vilification, there isn’t a shred of concern that in addition to hurting family and friends, they may be tarnishing entire organizations and communities by their portrayal of their alleged prey. It is not of the slightest concern for these purveyors of ‘truth and justice’ that they may be doing untold harm to innocent groups who are there to help and work in the community. No, the AJN doesn’t give a heck. Their style may be labeled as yellow journalism at its worst. Their choice of eye-catching exaggerations, scandal-mongering and sensationalism accompanied by huge headlines to sell more newspapers.

Of course where it is regarding someone close to them, even where a person has been found guilty and even jailed – not a word! (More about that too at some time in the future.)

Establishing the AJN Watch blog has long been under consideration, but has been delayed time and again. However, following last weeks shameful and disgusting treatment of the Rabbi Engel affair we resolved “Lo eit lachashot” – it is not a time to remain silent. (Read our separate post about this.). So here we are and we look forward to your participation.

As mentioned, there is plenty to comment about in the AJN and we hope to bring such material to the attention of our readers.

We invite, nay, urge, everyone to partake in this task and ask that you send us items which we may have overlooked as well as your comments and ideas.

And while we understand that there are plenty of you out there who are quite livid about pieces that newspaper, we ask that all comments be reasoned, and written in polite language. Comments that we feel are of more importance will be ‘upgraded’ into posts – for further responses.

And we request, please bear with us. We are neither experienced writers nor bloggers. We hope to learn on the job. Your advice and input is welcome.

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