Channel Seven Issues Correction After Inaccurately Linking Sydney Mosque Vandalism to Armenians

By ANC-AU | Thursday, 29 October 2020

SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) welcomed corrective action and clarification from Australian free-to-air network Channel Seven, who broadcast a news report following the vandalism of an mosque in the Sydney suburb of Auburn, in which they incorrectly referenced Turkey's "conflict with Armenia" as being a possible motivation for the offence.

ANC-AU immediately wrote to the network on 27th October 2020 conveying "our strongest objection and utter dismay in relation to the irresponsible manner in which your 'news report' has – very clearly contrary to fact – imputed that a member (or members) of the Armenian-Australian community was somehow responsible or in any way connected with the above vandalism". The letter cited evidence presented to Seven News before their report, which proved "that the culprit who had been arrested was not a member of the Armenian-Australian community, rather an Australian Muslim from Iraq who may have had some mental health issues". The letter accused the network of "ethnic baiting".

The following day, Channel Seven was inundated with phone calls from disgruntled Armenian-Australians demanding corrective action and public clarification, and following discussions between the network's News Director and ANC-AU, they took down all online versions of the inaccurate coverage of the vandalism and issued a public clarification.

This was repeated in the network's 4pm and 6pm news bulletins correctly characterising the fact that the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh (Republic of Artsakh) were being subjected to attacks by Azerbaijan and Turkey, while the journalist responsible for the report issued a public apology on his Twitter account.

ANC-AU welcomed the corrective actions and clarification from Channel Seven.

"We thank all those in our community who engaged in grassroots action, and the management at Seven News for entertaining our concerns and accepting our facts," said ANC-AU Executive Director, Haig Kayserian.

"As our statement yesterday stated: as egregious as the current attempted ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Armenians of the Republic of Artsakh by Azerbaijan and Turkey, there can be no justification for such vandalism or any attack or violation of the law, whoever the culprit. The Armenian-Australian community has no issue with our fellow Australians of Turkish or Azerbaijani background. Our dispute is with the governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey for their military aggression and attempted ethnic cleansing."