MY WORRY ABOUT MEDIA AND THE PENDING ROLFE TRIAL

The Letters Editor
‘The Australian’
GPO Box 4162
SYDNEY NSW 2001

Dear Editor

I am deeply concerned about ‘The Australian’s’ “Gripping new podcast (which) captures murder trial of the year”, revealed as an intention on August 8. I believe the podcasting intention by our national newspaper to be presumptuous and out of order. The intention is obviously aimed at boosting the paper, but the strategy of podcasting and serialising the matters pertaining to Constable Rolfe’s trial is questionable.

There is a fair chance that the trial of Constable Rolfe will be impacted by the amount of noisy conversation around the issues this podcast will raise. By its very nature and because of the way court matters will be bounced from commentators to those offering opinions, the podcast could well promote tensions within the wider NT and Australian community One can imagine that the glare of premature and inappropriate publicity will raise the spectre of the Rolfe Trial on other media platforms in an unhelpful manner.

If process is to be fair and if justice is to be done, sensationalisation of this trial is not what is needed. Kirsten Shorten will be one of the designated investigative journalists commenting on the trial.  She states her reporting intentions as including providing podcast listeners “ … with context, background and enough detail to make an informed judgement.”

The ‘judgement’ does not belong to the public.  This is a jury trial and it is the jury members who must consider evidence and make a judgement based on evidence presented.

I believe the intentions of ‘The Australian’ need to be examined for the Rolfe Trial must not be prejudiced by the swirling of media supported opinion that could be detrimental to legal process  and prejudicial to outcomes.

Sincerely

Henry Gray
Leanyer NT

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