Activists winning PR ‘war’

The anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd is clearly winning the PR ‘war’ in the Antarctic.


With access to satellite technology, a PR person in Melbourne to update material on line, and a media-accessible ship’s captain, the organisation is doing everything to textbook perfection. Or is it?


Horrific as whaling is, could it be possible we are being presented with too much of a one-sided story in this saga?


There are no journalists from Australian media organisations in the Antarctic. That would be impractical. So the media depends on images from Sea Shepherd. 


We saw two activists crew members being held by the Japanese after they boarded a Japanese whaler. But little mention was made of the fact it is illegal to board foreign vessels. In fact, it amounts to piracy. This is no way to excuse the whaling activity; merely to highlight the reporting imbalance that’s occurring.


The Japanese PR effort is being run by a New Zealander, a Maori, who also represents some Maori fishing interests. With many Maori opposing whaling, he’s starting to run into PR problems of his own. Some Maori want to dump him.


It’s interesting the Japanese hired a Kiwi to do their talking. Far better for their credibility to have one of their own. Their effort has been lacklustre. Then again, it’s pretty hard to compete against bloodied whale corpses.


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