Papers apologise to Australia's Hanson over raunchy

MELBOURNE, (AFP) - Australia's largest newspaper group apologised to far-right politician Pauline Hanson Sunday for publishing photos it incorrectly claimed showed her in a series of raunchy poses.
Admitting the woman in the pictures was not Hanson, editors from News Limited's stable of Sunday newspapers claimed they had been conned over the images, which have prompted a defamation lawsuit from the politician.

Papers apologise to Australia's Hanson over raunchy
They were published in News Limited Sunday newspapers around Australia on March 15, along with claims they were taken by an ex-boyfriend in the 1970s when Hanson was about 19.
Hanson, who sparked international outrage with a campaign against Asian immigration in the 1990s, denied any knowledge of the pictures and said she had never heard of her supposed ex-boyfriend, a Sydney man named Jack Johnson.
The newspapers, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation media empire, published apologies on Sunday.
"I have said all week I'd be the first person in Australia to apologise to Pauline Hanson if it were proven the photographs were not of her," Neil Breen, the editor of Sydney's Sunday Telegraph wrote.
"We've proven it ourselves, so Pauline, I'm sorry."
Damon Johnston, the editor of Melbourne's Sunday Herald Sun said it was now clear the pictures were not of Hanson and the newspaper had made a mistake in publishing them.
"We acknowledge that Ms Hanson was right all along -- and we were wrong," he said in an editorial.
Hanson, who on Saturday failed to revive her political career when she lost her bid for a Queensland state seat, said she believed the pictures may have been a factor in the loss.
"I don't think it did me any good whatsoever... it has had an impact," she told Sky News.
Hanson was elected to the lower house of the federal parliament in 1996 and in her maiden speech warned that Australia was in danger of being swamped by Asians.
Hanson's racial views drew international criticism, but her One Nation party briefly enjoyed strong support in Australia on issues such as immigration and trade protectionism before she lost her seat in 1998.
She was briefly jailed in 2003 for fraudulently spending electoral funds before the judgement was overturned.
In 2007, she ran for a seat in the federal senate and switched her target from Asians to Islam, calling for an end to immigration by Muslims to protect "Australian culture."
Hanson also complained that African immigrants spread disease. But she was soundly defeated in the election, which she contested on behalf of Pauline's United Australia Party.

Sunday, March 22nd 2009

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