At the end of August, a Student from the University of New South Wales was arrested and accused of being a terrorist. Articles like this ‘REVEALED: Lone wolf’s terror hit list‘ and ‘Malcolm Turnbull ‘included on uni staffer terror accused’s hit list’‘ were published and Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen’s name was plastered all over TVs and Newspapers as well as photos of the Sri Lankan Student being everywhere.
He was imprisoned in a high-security prison for a month. The charges were then dropped as the sole piece of evidence, a notebook containing terror plot(s) was found to not have been written by Nizamdeen. However, he still spent four weeks in a high-security prison. He had been wrongfully accused, and unlawfully imprisoned. However, not only was he imprisoned, his reputation was destroyed by the media. Does this come back to the old saying “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story?”
Since it was released that Nizamdeen is innocent, it has been nearly 2 months and there has been an occasional news story online. Where is the media’s apology, where is the sensationalization of “Young Student Wrongly accused and unlawfully imprisoned.” Again, as I seem to keep on saying on my little blog, where is the outrage? Furthermore, I only just discovered that Nizamdeen had even been cleared of all charges through stumbling across an article on the ABC website. The media’s portrayal of Nizamdeen is problematic for multiple reasons; it boosts fear within society, by telling us that there is an extreme terrorist who wants to kill high up members of cabinet, when this may not be the case, as Nizamdeen is claiming to have been framed, therefore this implies that there is no threat to the Australian people; furthermore, as Nizamdeen is an international student, it again creates the ‘us and them’ dynamic that divides Australia further. Regardless, Nizamdeen has been labelled a terrorist, which it has been shown that he isn’t; this tarnishes his reputation, and diminishes his future opportunities, as accusations never wash away completely. This is not okay, and the Australian media that have slandered Nizamdeen need to clearly articulate that he has been cleared of all charges and that he is an innocent man. Furthermore, I personally believe that apologies are in order from the various media outlets.
Nizamdeen also believes that he has been mistreated by the media and is suing specific media outlets for defamation, which he rightfully should. Police have said that they will pay for the legal costs for this whole incident. However, Nizamdeen still plans to sue Police over his arrest.
This situation should have been avoided. This unlawful detention shouldn’t have occurred. The media should have and in the future should approach their techniques of reporting on accusations differently and remember that people are innocent until proven guilty.