The following short article was published on the ABC website yesterday afternoon:
The media has been accused of impugning the reputation of Australia's Defence Force.
The accusation was leveled today in a speech in Canberra by the secretary of the Defence Department, Dr Alan Hawke.
Dr Hawke says reporting over the SIEV X incident in which more than 350 people drowned has focussed on accusations Defence either turned a blind eye or did not do enough to help.
However, he says Defence did not know of the sinking until four days later, after the survivors had been returned to Indonesia.
Dr Hawke says the media presumes its audience wants the bad news over the good.
However, he says he has taken heart from statistics showing 86 per cent of Australians are proud of the Defence Force.
He says that shows Australians exercise a level of judgement beyond the simple acceptance of media reporting.