Crossbench MPs call on media to refuse Clive Palmer COVID advertisements

13 Aug 2021
Scan of crossbench COVID advert letter 12 8 2021

Five Federal Crossbench MPs in the Lower House have written a joint letter to Nine Entertainment Co. and News Corporation, calling on the major media companies to stop publishing advertisements from Clive Palmer and other groups that spread harmful misinformation about the COVID pandemic

The letter, co-signed by Adam Bandt, Helen Haines, Rebekha Sharkie, Zali Steggall, and Andrew Wilkie, said the companies should acknowledge the harm done by the recent front-page advertisements in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Financial Review, and The Australian, as well as regional mastheads including The Mercury, Herald Sun and Adelaide Advertiser, and stop publishing them.

“We call on Nine Entertainment Co. and News Corporation to acknowledge the harm done, live up to their civic duties as a national publisher and broadcaster in relation to the pandemic, and refuse to publish advertisements of this nature in future,” the letter said.

The letter was sent to the newspapers on Thursday, 13 August.

Adam Bandt, Leader of the Australian Greens and Member for Melbourne:

“Much of the country is in lockdown and the Delta threat is growing. The last thing we need is front-page ads aimed at undermining the health response to the pandemic. Media corporations need to step up along with everyone else and do their bit.”

Dr Helen Haines, Independent Member for Indi:

“We have seen how dangerous this COVID-19 pandemic has been around the world, and here in Australia. We should be listening to public health experts and following their advice to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Misinformation can be deadly, which is why I am speaking up now.”

Rebekha Sharkie, Centre Alliance Member for Mayo:

“Australian media companies need to stop talking out of both sides of their mouth. They cannot take money for spreading misinformation that causes harm to our nation and then in the same publication condemn those that spread that misinformation. It’s hypocritical and it’s dangerous.”

Zali Steggall MP, Independent Member for Warringah:

"It is irresponsible in the midst of a health crisis for Clive Palmer to be spreading such dangerous misinformation. With free speech comes responsibility and this puts public health at risk. Media companies benefit from the right to free speech and must acknowledge the responsibility to not disseminate or provide a platform to disseminate lies that put the public health at risk.”

Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Clark:

“In my opinion, Clive Palmer’s political advertising is going way beyond what’s appropriate and is clearly not in the public interest. If he won’t stop, then it’s now up to the media to cease peddling his nonsense.”

Image: Scan of the signed letter

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