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Expert Commentators On Terrorism Challenged In PJR

Expert Commentators On Terrorism Challenged In PJR

SYDNEY (ABC/Pacific Media Watch): Some expert commentators on terrorism widely used by mainstream media have been questioned by ABC's The Media Report, citing the latest edition of Pacific Journalism Review and other sources.

Host Mick O'Regan said the media's need for detailed commentary on terrorist groups has resulted in commentators such Sri Lankan academic Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside Al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, as being seen as an "objective commentator on terrorism".

"But his analysis of the situation in Indonesia gives cause for concern," O'Regan said.

For many people the real terrorism in Indonesia for the past 25 years has been state terrorism, conducted by its own military and security forces.

"This sometimes seems to escape the newly-minuted experts on global terror, such as Rohan Gunaratna," O'Regan said.

"The linkages he poses are based on information from leaked intelligence documents, and as a forthcoming article in Pacific Journalism Review notes:

"'His trust in Indonesian intelligence officers and in intelligence reports prepared by the very security forces who have themselves been implicated in incitement and even direct involvement in violent conflict, is nothing short of astounding.'

"Those linkages are also a problem for other researchers who focus on the historical contexts in which different groups have emerged in Indonesia, and their disparate political goals."

Pacific Journalism Review article: Vol 9, September 2003, pp 201-207 (pdf file):

ABC: The Media Report: "Expert Commentary", 11 September 2003:



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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