Me­dia’s role to in­form

Albany Advertiser - - OPINION -

It seems the blame game over May’s fires con­tin­ues.

The Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions (for­merly Parks and Wildlife) con­tin­ues to count the cost of its two pre­scribed burns, which burned out of con­trol, de­stroy­ing more than 17,000ha.

The fires tore through the Stir­ling Range Na­tional Park and Torndirrup Na­tional Park — two of nearly 50 fires in the re­gion over two days which left one home razed.

A se­nior re­gional DBCA chief crit­i­cised the me­dia in a com­mu­nity meet­ing about the Torndirrup blaze in Lit­tle Grove on Mon­day night.

He said the me­dia posted im­ages of the blaze on the Wed­nes­day night it flared, while the fire was still only at an ad­vice level, pos­si­bly caus­ing un­war­ranted panic.

An im­age taken at night of the fire burn­ing brightly over Lit­tle Grove was shared around Aus­tralia.

No homes were un­der threat in Lit­tle Grove but the fire de­stroyed hectares of bush­land and part of the Bib­bul­mun Track, in­clud­ing a camp­site.

The Ad­ver­tiser will al­ways alert res­i­dents to fires, par­tic­u­larly those with any alert level whether a lower-level ad­vice or emer­gency warn­ing has been is­sued.

The me­dia’s role is to in­form. That’s why we and other prom­i­nent me­dia out­lets, in­clud­ing the ABC, posted im­ages and video footage of the Torndirrup blaze. We in­formed peo­ple of the fire sit­u­a­tion. The mas­sive smoke plume was an eerie sight over Albany and would have alarmed some res­i­dents. This news­pa­per made sure it had the lat­est up­dates on­line. That is our job. Our au­di­ence comes first. Al­ways has, al­ways will.

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