The Age has apologised for citing an anonymous source in an article today, alleging that protesters were planning to spit and use physical violence at tomorrow’s Stop Black Deaths in Custody protest in Melbourne.
The “unnamed senior government source” in the article had claimed that demonstrators “threatened police with spitting and abuse”, despite the fact that protest organisers – Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance – have been explicit about the protest being non-violent and the importance of protesting safely.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” collective member Tarneen Onus-Williams had stated, in response to the allegations. “We don’t want to put the public at risk or those participating. We want to keep everyone safe.”
This evening, The Age added a “clarification” at the bottom of the OG article:
“The headline and opening paragraphs of the original version of this story reported concerns within the Victorian Government about the potential for some activists to provoke physical confrontation with police during planned protests,” the publication’s apology reads.
“The story fell short of The Age’s editorial values and standards and caused understandable offence to many members of the community. “
“The claim that some activists had threatened police with spitting and abuse was not backed up beyond one unnamed senior government source. The story put undue emphasis on these claims. The main organisers of the rally, the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, clearly stated that they had no knowledge of any threats to police. The Age apologises.”
Readers have since called on the publication to post a front page apology tomorrow in order to rectify the harmful article.
Image: Getty Images / John Abbate
The Age should also acknowledge that WAR has explicitly directed people not to be violent, not just that they have no knowledge of threats
— catch me at Mongrel (@baldtrex) June 5, 2020