Sunshine Coast Daily Editor-in-Chief Craig Warhurst.
Sunshine Coast Daily Editor-in-Chief Craig Warhurst. John McCutcheon

Daily apologises for concern over front page imagery

OUR front page imagery in Monday's edition of the Sunshine Coast Daily - of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in the crosshairs - has been the cause of a lot of concern by our readers.

Today I was inundated with letters saying we got it wrong and we needed to apologise for our actions.

Many of the letter writers said our front page could incite attacks on women and politicians and glorified gun violence.

At a time when domestic violence was so high on the agenda, it was unacceptable, they said.

What the front page was seeking to highlight was Labor's poor performance in the federal election in Queensland, and that the State Government is now in the political sights of the conservative parties in Queensland. A lot of that centres around the Adani process.

That is all the front page was intended to signify to readers. It reflects the sentiment of the outcome of the federal election in Queensland and the way many Queenslanders voted. It was a sentiment that proved decisive in determining the election.

It will be a shame if one very small image on our front page detracts from the debate this State needs to have. It will be a double shame if other media let themselves be distracted.

That said, in retrospect, I agree it was a poor choice of imagery on the front page. We could have got the message across in a different way.

In no way does the Sunshine Coast Daily condone any sort of violence against women or politicians.

For those of you in the community who feel let down and betrayed by the image, I apologise.

We won't be re-running it and you'll notice we are happy to publish the criticism. We give it, we have to take it and learn from these things.

Readers' say:

"Mr Warhurst,

I wish to express my disgust at your publication's cover featuring three gleeful Coalition politicians anticipating the future defeat of the current state government by placing Annastacia Palaszczuk in the cross-hairs of a gun.

This is an encouragement to lethal violence not only towards one's political opponents but also towards women in general. I will be registering a complaint with the Press Council about this and think that it says a great deal about the culture of your paper and its unashamed role as a voice for one very backward side of politics. Thank you, Nita Keig."

"Dear Craig,

I'd like to make a complaint regarding the front page of Monday 20th May 2019 Sunshine Coast Daily Newspaper.

I find the headline & image of Anna offensive, revolting, disgusting & hurtful to not only myself & women generally but all caring citizens.

I feel it extremely irresponsible for newspapers to be printing like this & I think it does nothing for health & harmony within our communities.

It's dangerous & concerning & I think as a paper, you've far more responsibility in ensuring you produce quality news articles with informative headlines & images.

Children see these pages & I find it detrimental to the development of their attitudes & sentiments.

Please take my complaint seriously, I'm highly offended & very hurt by the level of violence found in Australia's media currently; not inky towards women but generally.

Thank-you in advance, Abbie Mawhinney."

"Mate, you should be ashamed of yourself. When a woman is killed once a week in Australia you imply that shooting women is what one does when you don't agree with them. Bloody disgraceful. Wake up."

"To SCD Editor,

This is terrible thoughtless encouragement of violence. WHo decided this was OK ?

Please apologise on behalf of all peace-loving citizens.

Yours sincerely, Gillian Pechey."

"Hi Craig,

I have never been moved so much that I felt the need to write a formal complaint.

I am absolutely appalled by the imagery used for this cover.

I understand that you need to grab the public's attention but this is just totally irresponsible. The setting you display is the boy's club vs one woman. Worse still is that the woman is displayed in a gun view finder as a target. How did you think this was OK?

In the next edition you may be writing about yet another death by domestic violence and citing the horrific statistics.

You need to send a consistent message that violence, misogyny your and bullying is not acceptable and certainly shouldn't be used for cheap laughs.

Every word, every image and every scene you set has influence.

Maybe it would be useful to adopt these words from Waleed of The Project after the Christchurch massacre as your mantra:

This:

"Everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonize particular groups, set them against each other, that all has consequences, even if we are not the ones with our fingers on the trigger."

We even teach school children to adopt the THINK review process before speaking and writing on social media:

T - is it True

H - is it Helpful

I - is it Inspiring

N - is it Necessary

K - is it Kind

I hope I see you taking your role as the caretaker of public opinion more seriously in future editions.

Kind regards, Sam."

"Craig,

You and your paper should be ashamed of yourselves for putting a photo of Anastasia Palaszczuk in the cross-hairs on the front of your newspaper. In a day when we are trying to fight against violence towards women what you have done is grubby and a disgrace and an all new low for your paper. Shame on you.

Jodie Sperling."


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