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Last updated on June 17th, 2017 at 09:59 am
Crikey.com.au recently published three anonymous claims accusing SMH columnist Miranda Devine of lying to obtain advantage during her coverage of Schapelle Corby’s trial in Bali—specifically, that Devine had claimed to be a family friend, thus convincing court staff to allow her courtroom access. Yesterday the AAP’s Mike Hedge, also in Bali for the trial, sent Crikey an email defending Devine and challenging the anonymous claims.
Crikey declined to run it. Here’s the rejection note from Crikey’s Misha Ketchell:
Thanks for that. Unfortunately, after a conversation with Miranda on Tuesday night I’ve decided to drop this story—both versions of events have had a good airing and it’s time to move on. We gave Miranda the last word, yesterday, as we’d agreed.
“Both versions of events have had a good airing”? Let’s see; on one side, we have three anonymous claims about Devine. On the other, we have Devine rejecting those claims. Offered a piece by someone who defends Devine and is prepared to be named, Crikey wimps out. For the record, and because brave independent Crikey won’t post it (Crikey even hides Devine’s own defence behind a subscriber firewall), here’s AAP correspondent Mike Hedge, unedited:
This seems to have got a bit out of hand….but, the mail you’ve received complaining about Miranda Devine at the Denpasar court on the day of the Corby verdict does not tally with my clear recollection of what happened.
I have to support her version.
I stood directly behind her as the crowd waited for the doors to open. The Indonesian police blocking the door said initially that five family and five journalists would be allowed in. They didn’t stick to that plan at all, letting anyone in.
At no time did I hear Miranda Devine say she was a friend or a member of the family.
What’s more, there was no need to. Anyone who was close enough got inside. After some women who appeared to be family friends entered the room, the journalists pushed forward. ID was requested, but at no time did the police ask me or anyone near me to see a journalist visa.
To suggest, as one of your earlier emails did, that the third row was some kind of prime position is nonsense. When I entered shortly after Miranda there were plenty of seats to be had. Some reporters sat in the front two rows only to be asked to move when the main family contingent arrived several minutes after the first rush.
She certainly chatted to a couple of the family seated in front of us. I have no idea if she introduced herself as a journalist. But she openly took notes as she spoke to them so they could hardly have failed to realise that she was.
That’s how I saw it,
Mike Hedge – AAP