Armenian Genocide 1915-23: 43 distinguished Australians call on SBS to change its approach to this historic humanitarian disaster

Honest History has provided many resources on the Armenian Genocide (use our Search engine with term ‘Armenian’). The Honest History Book includes a chapter by Vicken Babkenian and Judith Crispin on Australian involvement with Armenians after the Genocide, which is traditionally dated as commencing on 24 April 1915. Vicken Babkenian and Honest History’s past president, Peter Stanley, co-authored Armenia, Australia and the Great War.

Recently, we have reported the controversy over the refusal by broadcaster SBS to refer to the Genocide without simultaneously noting that the Turkish government denies there was genocide. SBS claims it is constrained by Australian government policy, which recognises that mass killings occurred but also eschews the term ‘genocide’.

In a further development, ’43 Australian-based experts in the Holocaust, genocide and human rights’ have signed a statement to ‘reaffirm the historical reality of the Armenian genocide and urge SBS to candidly report on it’. The statement, organised by the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, says the signatories

are seriously concerned by the Special Broadcasting Service’s (SBS’s) editorial policy on the Armenian genocide. SBS reporters are instructed to refer to the event not as the Armenian genocide but as “the mass killing of Armenians, considered by many to have been a genocide, which Turkey denies”. In always coupling references to the Armenian genocide with Turkey’s denial, SBS treats historians’ findings and the views of deniers as if they had equal weight. This is misguided and wrong.

The statement looks at overseas precedents, including from media organisations, regarding treatment of the Genocide, and concludes:

SBS should follow the lead of its international counterparts on the Armenian genocide. That means using no caveats or qualifiers in reporting on what is an indisputable historical fact.

The signatories include Avril Alba, Vicken Babkenian, Brian Burdekin, Judith Crispin, Joy Damousi, Daniella Doron, John Dowd, Gareth Evans, Konrad Kwiet, Robert Manne, Nikki Marczak, Sev Ozdowski, Peter Stanley and Colin Tatz.

3 July 2017 updated

Update 4 July 2017: there is also a petition for greater recognition of the Greek Genocide, the killing of Greeks in the Ottoman Empire.

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