Letter to the Courier Mail: Do Journalists no longer have a Responsibility?

by Sandhya Mistry, manager, mother, partner, daughter, sister, woman, Brisbane, Australia

I am writing in response to your article published September 8th, pages 6-7: “New age ‘medicine’ of Serge Benhayon leaves trail of broken families”.

I was disappointed that the story your reporters decided to tell was nothing but a re-hash of what other papers have already reported, with a few extra points to add to the sensationalism of the piece. The story was full of mistruths – such as suggesting that Universal Medicine practitioners offer treatments to ward off cancer, that ‘followers’ (of which there are none) avoid certain foods, alcohol, drugs and modern music as it has negative energy etc. The report is full of ‘allegations’ and ‘claims’, but has no hard facts to support what has been written.

Why is it that your reporters aren’t asking more questions and investigating the truth for themselves?

For example: it states in the piece that the Brisbane Universal Medicine clinic receives referrals via eye and lung specialists, rheumatologists and GPs; why is that? Surely these health care professionals have confidence in what these practitioners have to offer their clients, as they would not refer if this was not the case.

Have they seen a difference in their patients since referring for treatment?

Has there been any improvement to their health and wellbeing? If so, how has this impacted on their lives?

Surely the answers to these questions are what your readers need to hear.

I am also appalled at the way in which you have depicted women in this article. Not only do you state that Universal Medicine “has 2000 mainly female followers”, as though it is only women who actually attend these events and that they cannot think for themselves, but you compound it by labelling Dr Rachel Hall a “follower”, when nothing could be further from the truth. There are many women from all walks of life who attend Universal Medicine events; doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, solicitors, CEO’s, managers, teachers and mothers; women who are single, married and widowed, young women, to women in their 80’s. They are intelligent, confident, vibrant no-nonsense women who are far from followers. As for Dr. Hall,  I have known her for 30 years and never in those years have I ever known her to “follow” anything – in fact the complete opposite is true – I have  seen school rules change due to her questioning ‘why?’;  I’ve seen her challenge University protocols, and never seen her follow anyone else’s idea of what is the latest fashion, music or trend. She is and has always been a free thinking, intelligent, strong and caring individual who takes that into everything she does.

I was party to the interview conducted by Josh Robertson in which I heard Dr Hall give a detailed one hour interview about dentistry, health and self-care supported by much research and statistics – he never asked once what her involvement with Universal Medicine was, he just made an assumption based on the fact that she knew Serge Benhayon “personally and professionally”. Instead of using the wealth of knowledge, proven facts and figures, he decided to use less than 1% of this interview to label her with a word that he could not substantiate.

If, as your article claims, 42 relationships have ended due to Universal Medicine, then why have you only talked to one man about his marriage breakdown? Would you not speak to several of these people to see if there were similarities in their experiences?

And what of the women… why is it that you have only spoken to the men when there are two people in a relationship?

Why have the women’s stories not been told? Or would this reveal that the men might have to take responsibility for their part in this breakup, and thus have no third party to blame?

Do journalists no longer have the responsibility to provide the facts for their readers by presenting an unbiased article that provides more than one point of view? Do they not have a responsibility to portray women as strong, educated and independent individuals, able to think for themselves – rather than as submissive, feeble minded, “followers”, which is insulting to all women everywhere.

You had the opportunity and still do have the possibility to report some great stories here. You could choose to use some of the amazing information you have already been given – and maybe investigate even further into what Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine, the health professionals like Dr Rachel Hall and all those associated with them represent.

47 thoughts on “Letter to the Courier Mail: Do Journalists no longer have a Responsibility?

  1. In you normal gentle way you have exposed the truth so lovingly and with a candor that cannot and should not be denied. If either of the reporter had truly reported on their meeting with Dr. Rachel Hall they would have stated that she is no one’s follower but an individual totally in control of her own actions.

  2. How is it that respected members of the community who are great role models, like Rachel Hall can be victimised by the media for their next ‘flash in the pan’ sensationalised story? Especially when this story leaves a trail of its own destruction by falsely accusing people associated with Universal Medicine as being in a cult. This has ongoing ramifications with children having to go to school and adults having to go to work in the face of these widespread media lies. What if the next story uncovering an actual (not fabricated) cult goes unnoticed or gets ignored because journalists are having fun playing ‘boy who cried wolf’ to get cheap ratings? What if?

  3. Sandhya – I love how you have spotted the assumptions and allegations (which the piece was based on) where there were little if any at all facts in the whole piece. Equally, some great questions you pose here in this piece. It is indeed our responsibility to observe society and express ‘common sense’, however the best ‘research’ comes from our daily lives….

  4. We have come to live in a world where somehow, slowly, slowly, a biased, unprofessional and unscrupulous attitude by certain press members, has crept in, almost unnoticed. It feels now as if humanity is again slowly, but surely, beginning to wake up to this fact and people are beginning to voice their disapproval and disgust at such behaviour by the media. It is then only a matter of time until this highly unethical, unprofessional and disreputable practice will be brought to a standstill; each and every one of us has a responsibility to help this happen.

  5. Great blog Sandhya, and great questions too. How is it possible for journalists to write this trash and then have it approved by their editors? Where have the facts and integrity gone? Will the true, professional journalists please stand up!!

  6. Just re-reading this blog Sandhya. You raise some great points here. Its interesting isn’t it that if it was true (and it isn’t) that 42 relationships have ended due to Universal Medicine, why have those many people not been writing about it or contacting journalists such as Josh Robertson? Probably because what Josh Robertson purports is not true – and there is no story to tell about broken relationships. There is only a true story to tell of a remarkable man Serge Benhayon, who has the deepest integrity and dedication to humanity, and, who offers inspiration to many 1000s of people in his daily life – wherever he goes.

  7. Great blog Sandhya, its a sad reflection that great stories are not what journalists seem to want, they want sensationalism to sell papers – is this what humanity really wants to read? If it is true that 42 relationships have ended how many more have improved dramatically due to both partners being willing to take responsibility for their behaviours and how they care for themselves and others?

  8. Thank you Sandhya for this great article which asks some common sense questions. What about writing about the many relationships which have been formed during the participation in the Universal Medicine presentations and how about writing about the quality of those relationships, and how do they differ from the 42 supposed ended relationships. Wouldn’t that be far more interesting to write and read about.

  9. “They are intelligent, confident, vibrant no-nonsense women who are far from followers” I couldn’t agree with this sentence more. Firstly I would use those exact words to describe myself, anyone who knows me absolutely knows I never have been and never will be a “follower” of any kind. I have always thought for myself with no influence from others at all. If anything I am more of a leader than a follower. Secondly after meeting/ knowing many of the women involved with Universal Medicine I would say these words describe us all. I have not met one person who seemed to be a follower. Thank you for exposing the biased nature of this article.

  10. Great questions, Sandhya! It is obvious that the media had an preconceived angle for their story & only interviewed students of Universal Medicine to pretend they had investigated fully. Interesting that they interviewed a number of professional people & then chose to only report the revengeful story of one jilted man.

    1. That is a great point Carmin. The journalists had many professional people well respected by their community and the clients they serve (such as Dr Hall) to report from, but instead chose their source of information to be a man known as a cyber bully who scares his community members.

  11. Thankyou Sandhya for highlighting and questioning the biased way the media have presented Universal Medicine and all those associated with it. In truth this whole media misrepresentation of Universal Medicine saga has rather been like chinese whispers. One journalist prints a lie and then the next prints the same lie plus a little extra sensationalism to add more flavour to the piece. It is just plain wrong on so many levels.

    1. Further… As you point out Sandya, there are always 2 sides to every story. If only one man was interviewed to voice his personal opinion of why his relationship ended, and this is the only perspective the reader is getting, how can the reader be sure this version is actually reliable, honest and true or is simply coming from the mentality of one man’s inability to be responsible for his part and his intense desire to blame others for why his relationship failed?? What of the female partner in this relationship, what did they have to say? For fair and true reporting to occur and in order to give a balanced view, both people in that failed relationship should have been interviewed. Why did this not happen? Further, the article stated that 42 relationships have ended due to Universal Medicine. As there are 2 people in each of those relationships that means there are 84 individuals who are available to be interviewed regarding their version of why their relationship ended. (Even more when you consider the fact many of those relationships have children who may be over the age of 18 and also would be available for comment). How many of these people were approached and allowed to state their own experience and share why their relationship failed? When you consider all these facts it is clear that the article in question is not credible or reliable and it is a disgrace to consider all the consumers who read this article in the newspaper believe it to be true when it clearly is not, would now have judged Universal Medicine from only this article. The media wield a power that can be incredibly damaging if wielded without integrity and this is a clear example of this with Universal Medicines’ reputation bearing the brunt of this misused power.

  12. It only takes some common sense that comes from truth and seeks truth to set the record straight or to write an article that is sincere, solid and balanced to present to the reader all the facts that make the whole picture. That is not too much being asked for from a profession that claims to be responsible for delivering information to people and the right people have to receive all available information.

  13. Sandya you ask so many great questions. When I read your question asking why the journalists don’t use the amazing information that they already have I couldn’t help but think it’s because they don’t know that they have it. They were only able to write such an article because of the biased glasses that they are already wearing. Their glasses will distort absolutely everything that they see and hear. I however wonder if the truth that they will have felt will remain unchanged in their bodies even though they have re interpreted it.

  14. Well said Sandya. Your article shows a questioning and looking for the truth that is lacking in so much of what is written by the media today. Serge Benhayon presents the truth and it is the wisdom of this truth that those who attend the presentations are feeling. It seems that many journalists are no longer interested in truth but whatever sensational slant on a story that will sell.

  15. Thank you Sandhya for highlighting the truth in how interviews by journalists can be conducted. It’s offensive to think that they can spend all their time interviewing someone and then use information, not included in an interview to tarnish someones reputation. I call that cowardly journalism. Actually it’s not journalism at all.

  16. Since all the false and misleading articles written about Universal Medicine have surfaced I have come to the realisation that everything the media publishes has to be thoroughly discerned

  17. The irony of what happened with the press rests upon the word ‘follower’. Universal Medicine students are accused by the press to be followers of a cult leader when in truth they are not followers of anything that is external to them and there is no cult and no leader, while newspapers are following each other in their trail of falsities. These are plain facts.

    1. Well said Eduardo, the newspapers are indeed followers of the trail of lies published in articles of a sensationalist intent, such as the one published about Universal Medicine. Who is following who?

  18. Thank you Sandhya for your article, they are great questions that you have proposed and if asked by the journalists the truth could have been told. So many wonderful stories that could inspire others to change their lives to a more self caring and self loving way.

  19. Journalism today is a poor example of ‘truth’. I can imagine back when journalism first began how much the spoken word would have been honoured and the true truth found and documented. These days it is a wish washy story that circulates based on peoples perception and a tainted picture of mainly what they want to report based on their angle of story line. The research for true truth is lost and mis-interpretation is everywhere.

  20. Really powerful blog Sandhya, that poses many great questions that perhaps if considered by the journalists of “The Courier Mail” may have more truthly represented what Universal Medicine is all about. Thankfully blogs like yours and many amazing stories are being published on sites like this one that expose the truth for all to see.

  21. Question to the Courier Mail “Why is it that your reporters aren’t asking more questions and investigating the truth for themselves”. Journalists need to be held accountable and responsible for the uninformed ridiculous claims they make. Why some might come to even think that their views might be biased and from my association with Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine I most definitely think this is the case.

  22. Wow, how corrupt to interview Dr Hall and only use 1% of that interview. It sounds like it was a set up from the start to twist any information received to fit an already decided story angle. I read once about a family that was interviewed by a news style program. The journalists did the same thing, spent hours listening to them acting as if they wanted to support the truth this family expressed, only to print a story of absolute rubbish to further harm this family. They were essentially set up with a journalistic team who had already decided on the story angle. How terribly dishonest. How can we trust such organisations delivering “news?”

  23. You make some great points Sandhya. “Do journalists no longer have the responsibility to provide the facts for their readers by presenting an unbiased article that provides more than one point of view?” it would seem not – especially when such journalists are keen to set their own agenda and leave out anything that would smack of truth.

  24. I love that you are calling the media to account for what they have written about Universal Medicine and those associated – it is clear that somebody needs to… for what they are currently doing is a great disservice to everyone who reads and believes the inaccuracies reported without knowing of the amazing truths being intentionally omitted that could actually support them like it has for so many.

  25. Thank you Sandhya for this article, you ask some great questions. Being accountable should be top priority for any business but it seems the Media industry has lost all knowledge of the word.

  26. As a journalist you have a deep responsibility to “shoulder” your choice of vocation because you are dealing with people. If the journalist has difficulties understanding this then how will he or she be able to do their job properly? As of now it seems that you can write whatever and get away with it but when the time comes and you cannot then reporters that delivers untruths will lose their job very fast or they can choose to shape themselves up.

  27. Well said Sandhya. It seems the truth doesn’t sell newspapers these days. Not sensational enough I guess. That said, perhaps those that still buy these publications need to look at why they need such sensationalism in their lives. To me, the demand is as much the problem as the supply.

  28. Journalists such as Josh Robertson have the power to change or challenge a person’s thinking around a certain subject through their misrepresentation and reporting around a subject. Unfortunately many choose to ignore the level of integrity and code of ethics that journalists should abide by and instead chose to concoct a fictitious story to suit the angle of the story they want to print and get credit for. This type of cheap journalism in favour of truth is sad to see, that’s why more than ever it is time for us all to stand up and speak up about the abuse in the media and how they have been allowed free reign without any consequences for their actions that too often harms many innocent people through their irresponsible false reporting and often blatant lies.

  29. Thank you Sandhya for sharing your personal experience of the unsavory behaviour of these journalists. When you heard all that Dr.Hall presented at interview and how 1% was then lifted to give a totally different slant, seeing now that they knew all along when they took the interview what their intentions were, that leaves a pretty bad after taste I’m sure to see someone “played” like that, as so many have. You raise some excellent points here about how any honest journalist would go about talking to – in short – all parties supposedly affected, such as the marriage break ups.
    Doesn’t it make more sense to appreciate that lots of people are in unfulfilling marriages actually, but just don’t leave until they find their own self-worth enough to do so? Doesn’t that support already one amazingly great benefit of Universal Medicine; that people (men and women) find themselves, wake up and get some perspective on life and their relationships? How many people have better relationships as a result? how many single people are now in relationships as a result of their own self-development? How many people are really enjoying being single?

  30. To all journalists: “You had the opportunity and still do have the possibility to report some great stories here.” Ask yourself again, why did you become a journalist? What was your call? And finally: what is truly needed for mankind in the moment? Come on, and show some true courage. Write about something that will be not a sensationalist article but will offer a true change towards more harmony and love on this planet.

  31. I can attest to the same treatment by Josh Robinson when he came to interview me at the UniMed Brisbane Clinic prior to these articles being published. I was shocked and appalled by the omission of any facts, openly and freely offered in response to his questions. It was very clear the story was already written in his view and an interview a mere formality, bearing no consequence to the final print story.

  32. The women I have met through Universal Medicine are indeed ‘intelligent, confident, vibrant, no nonsense women who are far from followers’, to label or insinuate that they are any less is as ignorant to reality as it is insulting to women. It is clear that from the onset of the interview, their agenda was already in play and sadly no truth ever intended to be reported… a disservice for all.

  33. I notice that in most places in life, can be work, private, sport, people prefer to look at what is wrong. Can it be that we do not want to see the love there is for all of us? Do we win something, gain something from keeping the negative attitude?

  34. When you read or hear something that you know from your own experience is a pack of intentionally misinterpreted lies and deliberate denigration of the truth then this causes you to lose trust in anything that that source puts out.

  35. It says a lot about the students of Universal Medicine that people need to lie and publish the exact opposite. It’s actually a compliment to how they live.
    Four years on and the same students are living more claimed and responsible lives. I am one of them.

  36. It is shocking and really sad, looking at the state of our world, when people like Dr. Rachel Hall, who are so dedicated to the well-being of humanity, are defamed like that and are not appreciated and honoured for what they do, which is making a real difference in the world for everyone.

  37. I am seeing and reading a lot of articles around this topic and report. There is a similarity in what they are all saying and there is a lot of detail in what they are saying. That what was reported didn’t match what was said to the ‘reporters’ and that the reporters didn’t do their homework. This is keeping it simple but by the fact of the numbers involved here why hasn’t there been an investigation into this? I maybe wrong but I’ve seen nothing come from this, no retraction or apology or anything. With the way I have seen the complaints system currently work in this world it only takes one anonymous complaint these days to trigger all manner of investigations and yet here nothing? I am a little bemused or do we have a media system here that thinks it’s above us all. Does it hide itself in a journalistic right to print the news? From what I see a lot of people say more and more people are turning away from the news because there is no news, it’s just gossip. I used to love the conversations and meetings that were there around the real stories that used to be in the papers. Nowadays and as the saying goes for the newspaper, “it’s not worth the paper it’s written on” and that saying has been around a while and it appears we are now in a worse position.

  38. It is difficult to trust what is reported in Newspapers especially in the light of what has been reported on the one person whom I would say I could trust more than any other to tell the truth, no matter what the question. It is a shame that the true story has not been told, such as the wonderful changes people of all walks of life and all nationalities have experienced from drug addictions to serious ill health issues! Shame on you for reporting such mistruths.

  39. The media, as one source of information that many people in the world rely upon, does indeed have a responsibility to be accurate and unbiased in how they communicate. The harm that is caused by misleading and incorrect information is far reaching and has great consequences for all of society.

  40. “Why is it that your reporters aren’t asking more questions and investigating the truth for themselves?” I would love an answer to this question.

  41. A great article Sandhya, so many common sense questions to ask that a journalists would normally ask if they were indeed wanting to present truth, instead lies and mis information seem to be the way the media choose to communicate to the public, this makes us much more wary as to how much truth is being reported when we read or hear stories of other events.

  42. Sandy you raised some great points here, if a journalist is prepared to interview someone for a hour or more it makes no sense to report only on a small percentage of what has been shared when there would have been a wealth of information to share with the rest of humanity.

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