How to Defame a Dead Woman in One Short Article
Some newspapers really aren’t fit to line your shoes. I’ve just posted a slightly different version of the following message on A Death in Hong Kong, the blog covering reactions to the disappearance and death of Vicenta Flores in Hong Kong. Today the South China Morning Post undertook an exercise in childish smearing – reporting unsubstantiated allegations about Vicenta that could only have been motivated by sensationalism. I haven’t named the reporter in case any legal complications arise, but it won’t be hard to figure out who wrote the piece if you check back through my earlier posts on the case.
Allegations Without Evidence
The South China Morning Post today, Sunday 4 May, published unsubstantiated allegations about Vicenta Flores under the headline “Occult link to drowned maid”.
An article on page 3 (full online text for subscribers only) mentioned police asking Vicenta’s sister Irene about:
an “occult-like” paper written in Latin that was found among her dead sister’s belongings.
Members of the Justice for Vicky Flores support group, of which I’m a member, were aware of the paper more than a week ago, but had not commented on it because it’s still in police custody as part of an ongoing investigation.
The article goes on to say that Irene was asked by police
whether her sister knew a man who could have exerted some “cult-like” influence.
That is certainly the case, but the article then quotes an un-named source as describing
the paper and text messages between Flores and the man as “occult references” and “weird messages that sounded like mantras”.
Reporting this unsubstantiated claim without providing any reasonable evidence is the worst possible journalism.
James Rice, a Hong Kong academic who has been aiding Vicenta’s sister Irene in her dealings with the police and the Coroner’s office, pointed out earlier tonight that Vicky had been a respected leader of the local Catholic bible fellowship. The allegations, he added, were “an insult to the Catholic faith and the Christian religion”.
The Justice for Vicky Flores support group will follow up these allegations to ensure that the Latin text on the paper, at least, is made public as soon as possible. I’ll cross-post any details here.
Again, this is the worst possible journalism – it is unprofessional and irresponsible.
I should add for readers of Greetings Earthlings that the entire article was pointless, because nothing in it was up-to-date news. As I mentioned yesterday, there is little mainstream media interest in all four currently unexplained Filipino deaths in Hong Kong. Now we have baseless allegations surrounding the one case that is being covered. Is the traditional media capable of reporting without creating a sensation out of tragedy? One outlet is not.