University Of Tasmania
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Culture shock and moral panic. An analysis of three mainstream Australian newspapers' response to the Bali bombings in October 2002 and the arrest of smiling Amrozi on November 2002

posted on 2023-05-26, 01:27 authored by Lulitanond, V
On the night of 12 October 2002, two bombs exploded in Bali, killing more than 200 people. The first bomb exploded in Paddy's bar, a well known Irish pub in Kuta and was followed by a bigger explosion less than a minute later at the Sari Club. Both were popular venues for Australian tourists. 88 Australians were killed and 196 were injured. The 'Bali bombing', as it came to be known in the media, became a tragedy for all Australians. The Australian media reported this tragedy by covering the stories of victims, the investigation into the bombing, political negotiations between the Indonesian and Australian governments and the capture of some of those allegedly responsible, including the man dubbed 'smiling Amrozi' by the media. This thesis will examine the way three mainstream Australian newspapers reported on the Bali bombing. The three publications, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review were chosen. The analysis will concentrate on the first seven days of coverage of the Bali bombing and the first four days of coverage after the interrogation of Amrozi. This thesis will focus on five different topics: Australian pain, 'Australia owns Bali', Indonesian pain, 'smiling Amrozi' and the way the three selected Australian newspapers reported on Islam. The coverage of the Bali bombing during the first week after the blast emphasised Australian pain and devastation. The press concentrated on the idea that the Bali bombing was an Australian tragedy and implied a sense of ownership over Bali. Bali had been one of Australia's most popular tourist destinations for decades, and after the event, the press reported that 'Terror hits home', and that Australians had lost their paradise. The focus of reporting was on the Australians affected and little room was left for the Indonesians who, especially the Balinese, also lost people in the bombing. The bombing was an economic disaster for the Balinese who lost a large part of their tourist industry, Bali's main income. The coverage, particularly the reporting of the arrest of Amrozi and his reaction, revealed a cultural divide between Australia and Indonesia. Amrozi' s smiling created confusion and anger throughout the Australian community. Confusion also occurred during the reporting of the Bali bombing, with some members of the Australian Muslim community being mistreated by Australians who wrongly believed that Islam has an inherent connection to terrorism.


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