Welcome to the Schapelle Corby Media project. The rationale for the project and the objectives of the project are detailed on our introductory page.

The need for such an initiative is evident from even a cursory examination of the media publications and broadcasts over a number of years. Equally, serious criticism of the Australian media is now widespread and international. The YouTube film embedded on the front page for example was produced in the United Kingdom. A similar film has recently been produced in the United States.

Even Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) have commented: "The real story is how a young powerless woman is being imprisoned for a crime that she probably had nothing to do with. But the Australian media have become her persecutor"

Neither is it a question of the odd rogue article or broadcast: it has been systematic. We have seen countless examples of unsubstantiated allegations and in some cases outright lies. We have seen widescale censorship, in the form of hard news stories being completely ignored.

For any ethical journalist this is deeply disturbing. The fact that it has continued for so long reflects upon the profession as a whole.

The project will investigate and examine all aspects of this. It will probe the origins, explore the nature of editorial policy, examine the role and motives of individual scribes, and expose many of the specific smears and abuses.

It will seek and expose truth: truth being a pre-requisite to even begin to address this sorry situation. The project is essentially a service to journalism itself.

Tranche 1:
Fairfax Media Limited, News Corporation, AAP, Seven Network, Nine Network, ABC, Ten Network.

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Monday, March 2, 2009


On our project introduction page we published the six-part opinion management process cited by the 'Burying The Truth, Burying Schapelle Corby' video film:

Within this, the second step of the process is described thus:

["Routinely refer to her as "Convicted drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby"... as though the wholly discredited show trial had some sort of credibility.
EFFECT: This connotation invokes powerful negative imagery in the public mind, re-enforced consistently by repetition."]
Scholars of media influence and branding techniques will understand that the impact of this upon the human psyche over a period of time cannot be over-emphasized in a case like this one. It suggests validity where there is little, and it consistently associates Schapelle Corby in a wholly negative sense with drug smuggling.

But has this particular step of the overall media process been applied through pro-active choice? Or simply by accident or via poor quality journalism? How widely has the phrase actually been used in mainstream reporting?

When describing Schapelle Corby in a textual context, there are countless terms and phrases that could in fact be employed. For example:
"Imprisoned Australian, Schapelle Corby"
"Wrongly convicted, Schapelle Corby"
"Human rights abuse victim, Schapelle Corby"
"27 year old Schapelle Corby"
Or perhaps plain and simple "Schapelle Corby".

The possibilities are endless, and of course span supportive, damaging and neutral terminology.

For a single publication to select the term "Convicted drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby" from all the options available and then repeat it for years, almost by rote, is more than suspicious. For almost the entire mainstream media of Australia to adopt exactly the same phrase is rather more serious.

I recently undertook some research into this aspect using the JournOz archive database. The results were staggering. However, to present this in public via a trusted third party archive database, albeit a much smaller one, I simply used Google News:
  • A search on the phrase "Convicted drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby" reveals 357 published returns (1,680 without the quotes).

  • A search on "Human rights abuse victim, Schapelle Corby" reveals 0 published returns.

  • A search on "Imprisoned Australian, Schapelle Corby" reveals 2 published returns.

  • A search on "Wrongly convicted, Schapelle Corby" reveals 0 published returns.

  • A search on "27 year old Schapelle Corby" reveals 0 published returns (ditto 28, 29, 30 and 31).
The search terms themselves are simply illustrative, but the actual search results clearly demonstrate the point. This is also just one of a number of analytical approaches I adopted, all of which indicated exactly the same pattern.

A key aspect here is to look at the wide range of Australian media organs using precisely the same starkly accusing phrase: Melbourne Herald Sun, News.com.au, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC Regional Online, The Australian, Radio Australia, The Age, The West Australian, Livenews.com.au, Cairns Post - this list just goes on and on.

Presumably they would all suggest that they all chose to routinely use the exact same phrase ["Convicted drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby"], with its hugely harmful and negative connotations, by a coincidence of monumental proportions.

But the real world doesn't work like that. Statistically, this is no coincidence: it is outside the parameters of mere random chance. And again it surely raises questions regarding the sort of agenda adherence or orchestration suggested by the Global Protest Censorship Case.

It is extremely disturbing.


The media video which I have posted above outlines the broad process which has been evident in this case for some years.

That film was produced in the United Kingdom. This week, however, another video has emerged, this time from the United States. This tackles the blatant Sydney Morning Herald smear and many other specific media fuelled myths:

Such is the volume of this type of grossly misleading material, its sustained nature, and its grave implications for a human life, that I rather suspect there will be many more investigative films appearing in the future.


Monday, February 16, 2009


It is impossible to undo the damage caused by the media to the welfare of Schapelle Corby and her family. However, whilst we seek through this project to roll back some of the damage caused to Australian journalism, it would be remiss not to consider the situation of Ms Corby herself.

To a tiny degree this project assists, by reporting the truth and openly discussing the almost unparalleled unethical journalism in play. But surely active journalists in the field can make a bigger difference.

But how, other than reporting fairly and truthfully, and perhaps reporting on the issues raised by this project? This specific article has been posted to solicit your ideas and suggestions.

If you have any ideas with respect to this aspect, please do comment below, or send an email to me.



The name of Australian journalism is dragged through the gutter and the profession of journalism is justifiably castigated all too often. But why? Generally, because some people who call themselves journalists throw ethics and integrity out of the window without even a passing thought for the implications: sometimes even when those implications include a significant contribution to human suffering.

This is particularly moot with respect to the Schapelle Corby case. Worse still, in this case it has happened over a prolonged period of years.

Equally, influence on public opinion via the media within a society is sometimes so unsophisticated and unremitting that it becomes visible outside that society. This to some degree has also transpired here.

As a result Australian journalism has been accused, and its international reputation has been tarnished. This should surely be of concern to every journalist.

The process to address this situation is clearly to identify, to correct, and ultimately to learn from the abuses which have occurred. This project is intended to be a tiny step to this end in a generic sense, but via focus upon this particular case.

Our Schapelle Corby project was on the cards long before this film emerged. The unethical journalism and the unsubstantiated smears have been obvious to most thinking journalists for years. The film though, which can be viewed below, crystallized some of the issues fairly well:

The 'six step process' it describes will be familiar in many ways to most journalists and media watchers:
    1. Shift focus from the facts... from what people have seen. Stop reporting it. Move the agenda away from it.
    EFFECT: Reporting bogus irrelevant stories creates distance between now, and then, in the public mind.

    2. Routinely refer to her as "Convicted drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby"... as though the wholly discredited show trial had some sort of credibility.
    EFFECT: This connotation invokes powerful negative imagery in the public mind, re-enfoced consistently by repetition.

    3. Invent stories and present doubt, using good old fashioned unattributed innuendo: "a source claimed that", "it is believed that", "some people allege"...
    EFFECT: The "no smoke with fire" card usually works. Fill the column inches with smoke and much of the public will believe it.

    4. Smear her family: present constant unsubstantiated allegation against Schapelle's loved ones and her deceased father, who are ill-equipped to fight back.
    EFFECT: The reliable "guilt by association" approach is surprisingly effective in clouding public vision.

    5. Publish outright fabrication. Even pay enormous sums for ridiculous 'stories' that are torn to shreds via litigation.
    EFFECT: Mission accomplished - more smoke and more shift of focus from the show trial.

    6. Marginize and bury real news, such as loss of remission, Schapelle's illnesses and lesser sentences for terrorists/muderers/etc
    EFFECT: Blinding the public from her REAL life prevents widespread sympathy developing.

These are extremely serious allegations. However, I would challenge anyone to obtain the archive of Schapelle Corby related stories and view each story one after the other, as I have done. Weigh each against proper attributable facts, and then against the above list. The objective researcher will find exactly what I did: that the allegations made by the film are broadly true. The overwhelming majority of stories over recent years fit into one or more steps in the process described.

The film also cites damning verdicts on Australian journalism by the CLA and FPSS:
    Published by Civil Liberties Australia (CLA): "The real story is how a young powerless woman is being imprisoned for a crime that she probably had nothing to do with." "But the Australian media have become her persecutor"

    The Foreign Prisoner Support Service (FPSS):"Schapelle Corby is being victimised by the Australian media. These constant attacks leave us with very little room to plead her case to anyone; and all the breaches of Indonesian and international law go unnoticed because they are overshadowed by hearsay and innuendo."
Ethical journalists should think about this very carefully, and consider the impact of this not just upon Schapelle Corby, but upon journalism in Australia. Having undertaken this exercise, I rather suspect that most will be as disturbed as I am about what has occurred.

But how has this happened? How has it been allowed to continue for so long? How orchestrated has it been? How much has the hand of government been involved? How much of the fabrication and opinion management has been down to lack of editorial control, and how much a result of editorial policy? How much has been driven by crude fiscal consideration, and how much by politics? What is the story of those who have been particularly proactive in this business? Who has been pulling the strings, where do they lead, and through whom?

After spending months researching this, I do have some answers: but only some. I have some pieces of a very large jigsaw, but not all. I am still investigating, but now, some of the investigation will be in the public domain, via this project.

The project will explore all of the questions above, and more. It will investigate editorial control, specific journalists, particular stories, government role, and financial benefits. It will seek to expose truth.

As the project develops it will continually seek feedback and information from the wider community of journalists. I know already that there are many working ethical journalists who are extremely concerned about this case: please come forward and provide information. This can be provided anonymously if you feel that it may expose you. My email address is in the right hand panel.

This project clearly isn't going to clean up Australian journalism, but it might enhance understanding of what has gone so wrong in this specific case, and thus potentially contribute to a reduction the number of future abuses. Although it is indeed a tiny step on this path, it is a long overdue step.