Channel Seven has received backlash after they interviewed the leader of a far-right hate group without disclosing his previous criminal history.
Last Sunday night, Channel Seven aired footage of an exclusive meeting of far-right activists in Melbourne.
What has attracted criticism is the fact that they portrayed these organizations under a benign light, describing them as Melbourne “activists” who are “hoping to harness the power of social media to protect themselves and their families.”
The report said: “They have come together to help average Australians deal with what they are calling an immigrant crime crisis,” adding, “They’re hoping to create a kind of neighbourhood watch.”
7 News reporter @jodilee_7 has been granted exclusive access to a secret meeting organised by right wing activists in response to Melbourne's African youth crime crisis. #7News pic.twitter.com/TBzIOSXody
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) January 14, 2018
Seven interviewed Blair Contrell, one of the leaders of the ‘United Patriots Front’, but completely omitted his criminal history. He was convicted in 2012 and 2013 for various offenses including arson, burglary, and damaging property, and is well known for his pro-Nazi views.
He has also previously expressed admiration for Hitler.
Hey @7NewsMelbourne stop repeating Dutton’s racist talking points.
This is disgraceful journalism.
— Francis Awaritefe (@FrancisAwartefe) January 14, 2018
Channel Seven initially declined to comment about the controversial interview, but pressured by the response, news director Simon Pristel said last Monday:
“Seven News has reported on many meetings in the past couple of weeks held to discuss the African gang violence crisis, including governments, community leaders and police. Sunday’s meeting was newsworthy, so it was reported.”
My father fought against Nazis, spent years in a German POW camp and watched them take all the Jewish POWs away – it turns out to Auschwitz. He wouldn’t be happy with Seven promoting Jew-hating neo-nazis. https://t.co/qnPtyhJzd9
— Craig Emerson (@DrCraigEmerson) January 15, 2018
Ping @7NewsMelbourne. Well-deserved, you #Nazi-normalising so-called “journalists”. Reprehensible. Kerry Stokes must repudiate this. #auspol #7News @sunriseon7 #boycottchannel7sponsors #NaziVigilantePromotion pic.twitter.com/TT3B5cDAXl
— J__A (@P_B_Wee) January 15, 2018