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Zahra (6), Fatima (7) and Eman (9) - the daughters of Sondos Ismail and Ahmed Alzalimi -  three of the 146 children who lost their lives when the vessel that has become known as SIEVX foundered in international waters en route to Christmas Island on 19 October 2001.
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News In Sweden, But Not In Oz...

by Marg Hutton
10 December 2003

Khaleed Daoed, one of the alleged organisers of the fatal SIEVX voyage in which 353 people, including 146 children, lost their lives, appeared in Brisbane court for the second time on Monday.

When Daoed arrived in Brisbane last month after being extradited from Sweden he made headlines, but when he faced court on Monday not one media outlet in Australia considered the story newsworthy!

Daoed is the first person to appear before an Australian court charged with offences connected with the infamous SIEVX voyage and one would expect that our media would be watching. Instead it was down to to break the story that Daoed's case had been adjourned until 5 April next year.

Surely this should have rated at least a paragraph in major Australian newspapers? But instead all we got was silence.

Ironically there was one newspaper that reported on the story - Arbetarbladet, a local newspaper published in Sandviken, Sweden, the town where Daoed made his home for the last nine months prior to his extradition.

But in our own country where there are very deep connections to the SIEVX tragedy, there was nothing. For example, we have living in Australia 14 people who embarked on SIEVX and scores of others who lost family members in the sinking.

What does it say about the Australian media that this story went unreported? Why was it considered not of interest to the Australian public?

Significantly, Daoed is not the only alleged people smuggler to appear before a court and to have his case go virtually unreported by the Australian media.

The trials of alleged smuggling kingpins, Hasan Ayoub, Keis Asfoor and Ali Hassan Abdolamir Al Jenabi have all received similar treatment. That is, after initial reports of extradition, or committal hearings, the media switches off and fails to follow these cases through to their conclusion.

That there is a pattern of behaviour by our media in relation to these cases is very troubling.

For many months in 2001, particularly during the Federal election campaign, we were inundated with daily bulletins about the evils of people smuggling.

Why the silence now when alleged smugglers face our legal system?

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