Response to Stephen Cauchi (SMH October 13 2012)

Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights is disappointed to see Stephen Cauchi’s reporting (SMH – October 13 2012) of yesterday’s rally which is unbalanced and factually incorrect.

Cauchi states that the “March for the Babies, was held to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act.”  It was Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights which commemorated the fourth anniversary. We even had cake. The March for the Babies was there to protest the anniversary as part of their campaign to recriminalise abortion.

Cauchi uses the terms “pro-life and pro-abortion”. We reject the term pro-abortion. We advocate choice for women and identify ourselves as pro-choice.
It appears that Cauchi was only too happy to repeat the language of Bernie Finn quoted as “He said the pro-abortion activists..”
Cauchi’s choice of language leads us to question whether his personal views have impeded his ability to report the rally accurately and fairly.

We note that the article is headed “Pro-choice activists disrupt anti-abortion march.” The sub-editor correctly identifies CWRR as pro-choice.

Cauchi uncritically reported Finn’s claim that the counter protest attendees were “of the Occupy Melbourne crowd”.  If Cauchi had bothered to check he would have discovered that the counter rally was endorsed by a wide variety of organisations and groups, and that while Global Noise was a vocal and welcome part of those gathered to defend women’s reproductive rights, the counter rally was attended by a diverse range of people, including many first time attendees of any such rally.

Cauchi at least sought Victoria Police numbers to counter Bernie Finn’s grossly overestimated numbers, but appears to have not sought or report Victoria Police numbers for the counter rally.  Our count had at least 240-250 attending.

That Cauchi has only sought and reported statements from the anti-choice protest is disappointing despite CWRR media contacts being available to him. In not seeking and reporting the pro-choice views of the rally Cauchi has presented an unbalanced and factually incorrect article.

We wonder if Cauchi has read The Sydney Morning Herald Code of Ethics recently, and whether he would reflect on them in relation to this article.

If Stephen Cauchi would like to contact us to seek further clarification or explanation he can do so. Email: cwrr.justice@hotmail.com

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