The way in which the media depicted the now infamous executions of convicted criminals Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran was simply appalling.
News headlines such as Bali 9 pair Chan and Myuran the ‘nice criminals’ to face firing squad and Bali Nine duo ‘stoic’ during heart-wrenching last moments are a poor attempt to justify the ill conceived and stupid actions of two criminals, and is exactly why such a public outcry was launched upon Indonesia, triggering a government response and a twitter rampage including the #boycottindonesia hashtag.
In an article released by the Sun Herald, a collaboration of tweets were isolated including those of respected politicians, and is proof of how the media can be responsible for shaping public opinion. These included Bill Shorten and Melissa Parke MP, who labelled the pair as “brave, young, dignfied men.”
But light a candle in their honour? I’m sorry. “If you want to stage a protest against capital punishment, those opposed to state sanctioned killing should find a new set of poster boys for the cause,” writes Gary Linnel. “Light a candle for their families, by all means. But don’t light a candle for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan simply because they are about to be put to death by a sovereign nation following its law. They took their chances and they lost.”
Both of the convicted criminals were portrayed as brave and heroic men who should be idolised for their ability to rehabilitate. To me, this was an issue the media relished as the event was undoubtedly worthy of attracting a large readership. Portraying the two men as the real victims of drug smuggling to me is absurd, and the media in many instances failed to explain any reason why the executions were carried out.
If the eight kilograms of heroin they tried to smuggle was to make it back to Australian shores, it’s hard to imagine they would have eventuated into the gifted painter and man of god that only a decade of prison can influence on men such as this.