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NCJ Number: 148696 Find in a Library
Title: Role of the Media in the Juvenile Justice Debate in Western Australia (From National Conference on Juvenile Justice, P 279-290, 1993, Lynn Atkinson and Sally-Anne Gerull, eds. -- See NCJ-148673)
Author(s): C Stockwell
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: A sequence of events and the reporting of them by the media were significant factors in the passage of Western Australia's Crime (Serious and Repeat Offenders) Sentencing Act 1992; this paper explores the sequence of events so as to assess the impact that media reporting had on shaping public opinion and government policy; the role of nongovernmental agencies is also discussed.
Abstract: The author contends that media reporting, especially Howard Sattler's talkback program on radio station 6PR, was a significant factor in arousing hostility toward young offenders. Racism has long been endemic in Western Australia and was readily aroused to public fury. The catalyst was a tragic incident in which a pregnant mother and her child died. A public aroused by a demagogue panicked the Western Australian Government, which responded by introducing the Crime Sentencing Act 1992. This act is poorly framed, racist legislation that contravenes the Convention on Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and possibly the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975. The juvenile justice debate in Western Australia over the last 2 1/2 years has been influenced by emotive media reporting in which criminality has become synonymous with Aboriginality. Individual events that have involved stolen cars, high-speed police chases, and fatalities have assumed dimensions far beyond their actual significance. Regulatory bodies must monitor the ways in which the media cover incidents that involve Aboriginal people and issues. Media that gratuitously and deliberately encourage racist attitudes must be censured through media regulatory bodies and through legislation that prohibits racial vilification. 13 references
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Aborigines; Foreign laws; Media coverage; Public Opinion of Juveniles; Racial discrimination
Note: From proceedings of the National Conference on Juvenile Justice, held in Adelaide, Australia, September 22-24, 1992.
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