SST defends mock terrorists

The Press reports:

It is understood the newspaper had a reporter carrying fake explosives in a backpack and a dummy detonator on his body. It is believed the “bomber” was able to achieve access to restricted areas at the ground.

Of course he could. It was a provincial rugby match. I could probably do the same if you gave me five minutes with a colour printer and a laminating machine.

Sunday Star-Times managing editor Mitchell Murphy said critics should withhold judgment about the newspaper’s actions until the results of its investigation were revealed.

“Our investigation, which is a matter of significant public interest, was well planned and carefully considered,” he said.

There is little public interest in the fact that someone with a fake bomb could sneak into a rugby game. We don’t have armed guards and metal detectors at the grounds. The main purpose of security is to check for alcohol, not to x-ray and body frisk people.

Security should be proportional to the threat. For the Rugby World Cup one would expect higher security, as it is a potential target. Quite frankly with the aviation industry hysterically over-reacting with security, it’s nice to not have that same paranoia at our local rugby matches.

“We sought legal advice prior to commencing our investigation, and the journalists involved worked under strict protocols.”

He said the reporter carrying fake explosives had a letter outlining the investigation in case he was stopped, which would have prevented evacuation.

A letter!!! For fucks sake.  So does the SST believe that if Police come across someone in a restricted area, with what appears to be explosives, they should take no action because they have a letter with them, saying there is no threat.

I’d love to see the SST try that stunt at an airport!

“At no stage was the public at risk; nor did we break the law,” Murphy said.

It seems no law was broken, but the stunt was still moronic. Of course there was a public risk if their mock bombers had been discovered.

With the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year, stadium security needed to be first-rate, and the investigation had exposed flaws.

Oh what self serving crap. As I said, I have no doubt I could infiltrate a restricted area of a stadium with a bit of effort. Our stadiums are not designed to be like the Pentagon.

For the World Cup, you do expect a higher level of security, but even then, some common sense. Frankly terrorism related paranoia should not overcome common sense.

Associate Professor Jim Tully, who is the head of the Canterbury University journalism course, said the alleged action was “a silly piece of journalism”.

“It’s one thing to potentially test security measures pretty close to the World Cup, but doing it now seems pretty dumb because they’re unlikely to be in place,” he said.

The story could backfire on the newspaper by damaging its credibility, he said.

A story focused on security is quite valid. But giving people fake bombs just reeks of a PR stunt.

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