By ERWIN CHLANDA
A spread of two full pages of paid advertising in Tuesday’s Murdoch-owned Advocate newspaper is “a sure sign the Territory Government is desperate to make their point about the gas pipeline and fracking,” says Jimmy Cocking, CEO of the Arid Lands Environment Centre.
He says instead of engaging in consultation with the community they are “buying newspaper space to out-compete the voices of concern”.
Mr Cocking, who has been vocal about risks to the drinking water supply in The Centre from fracking, says it’s significant that the government’s water allocation plan is still under review – two and a half years after it started.
He says there has not been an adequate assessment of the Rocky Hill borefield before the allocation of a water licence to the vineyards and other horticulture land leased by the Hayes family.
Rocky Hill will be the source of water for Alice Springs when the presently used Mereenie aquifer runs dry or pumping from it becomes too expensive.
IMAGE: The Giles government’s taxpayer-funded advertising splash in the Murdoch-owned Advocate is made up to look like news copy produced under the requirements of the Journalistic Code of Ethics: pseudo headlines over pseudo stories, one of them with a by-line, which makes the whole thing even more deceptive.
The ethically obligatory advice to readers “ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT” (or similar) is nowhere to be seen. What look like smaller adverts are similar in style and size to adverts elsewhere in the paper. The banner says “Business update”. Who is doing the updating? Mr Giles?
When offered the right of reply, Advocate Managing Editor Michael Gorey emailed: “The double-page spread was an advertising feature, clearly labelled as ‘Northern Territory Government Business Update’.”
By ERWIN CHLANDA