Sunday, June 28, 2009

Watch this Blog

I was just made aware of a new blog, AJN Watch, which has been setup to counter the perceived anti-orthodox bias of the Australian Jewish News.

As an observant Jew I must agree that the AJN certainly seems to do its best to highlight any negative issues that the community has and appears to emphasise stories when a frum individual is accused of doing something wrong. Case in point was the disgusting front page in last week's paper of a Rabbi who has been accused of wrongdoing. Despite a one's personal feelings this rabbi has not been tried and found guilty yet. Maybe the Jewish News and others know something we don't but I always thought that one needs to be found guilty by a judge before he is sentenced.

I also find it frustrating that the AJN journalists know very little about the frum community and often have incorrect reports, quotes etc in articles that pertain to us. I put this down to the fact that there do not appear to be any frum journalists (except for Yossi Aron who seems to be confined to one particular area of the paper) and also that the paper does not seem to care about our segment of the community. Until the Jewish News editors and management make a concerted effort to understand the frum section of the community I cannot see this changing.

The solution the writers of the blog propose is to purchase the Hamodia. While I do like this paper it has nothing to do with our local community. I certainly enjoy reading news about frum communities overseas but I would also like to know what is going on in our community. I know that there is a segment of frum Melbourne who care nothing for the less frum but most of us want to know what is happening in the Jewish community. Until there is someone who wants to invest in another newspaper for the Jewish community of Melbourne (or Australia) I cannot see the Hamodia taking the place of the AJN.

If I can offer a defence of the Jewish News (at my peril)...I am sure that we understand that the orthodox community is only a small section of the Melbourne Jewish community. The fact that the overwhelming majority of the journalists are not frum, the owners affiliate strongly with the Liberal/Progressive/Reform (whatever it is being called today) movement and the prevailing culture is extremely secular leads to articles in that paper which have very little Jewish content apart from the fact that they are about Jews or written by Jews. I cannot see this changing.

In any case I am looking forward to reading future posts on this new blog and honestly hope that the owner(s) can encourage a positive change to the Jewish News which will satisfy the majority of the Orthodox community.