The damage done by inaccurate reporting - a message from the CEO

Published on 28 April 2016

I am expressing extreme disappointment at the Sunraysia Daily story published in Tuesday 26 April titled “Councillor in Anzac ‘no-show’”.

On behalf of Mildura Rural City Council I want to formally congratulate the Merbein RSL and all local RSLs on their 2016 ANZAC Day Commemorations. These dedicated groups of volunteers once again organised wonderful, dignified commemorations, appropriately honouring our current and past service men and women.

While there has been a partial correction published today, it doesn’t address the misleading headline in any way.  Contrary to what this media outlet inaccurately insinuated against Councillor Harris following ANZAC Day, no Councillor received an invitation to officially represent Council this year due to an oversight.

Our Councillors are not in any way upset about not being a part of this year’s official ceremony at Merbein and we strongly wish to reiterate that there is absolutely no need for any volunteer community group to apologise to anyone at Council.

Not only was the story and headline misleading, the last statement was blatantly inaccurate. Cr Harris was at the previous year’s event, she arrived on time and she laid a wreath as an official representative from Council.

Unfortunately, poor reporting such as this is something Council deals with more often than we would care to.  And in this instance, one of our longest standing community groups have been caught up in an attempt by a local media outlet to create a story from which there was none. 

It is time some media in our community realised the unintended implications their stories can have on community groups outside of Council and I urge journalists to check the facts themselves and not rely on solely on what other media outlets choose to highlight in their stories.

ANZAC Day is one of our community’s most sacred days and to try to insinuate our Councillors do not respect this solemn day, by turning what was an administrative oversight by a small, volunteer organisation into a political snub, is a very poor form of journalism.

Cr Harris’ father and grandfather were in fact returned servicemen and this story has also caused her and her family considerable distress.

So once again, on behalf of Council, we want to thank the Merbein RSL and all the other local RSL volunteers for their hard work each year.  We certainly appreciate your dedication to honouring all our servicemen and women and look forward to working with you in the future.

Gerard Jose
Chief Executive Officer