A channel 9 reporter who posted a photo of herself to social media holding a grossly offensive sign at Melbourne protest has kept her job despite widespread calls for her sacking.
Crime reporter Lana Murphy and the Nine network yesterday apologised for the image posted to her instagram account from a pro-choice demonstration in Melbourne where she was assigned to report on the event, which was in response to the US Supreme Court's recent decision on "Roe v. Wade".
The picture showed Murphy and a cameraman gleefully grinning as a protester handed her a sign that read: “Mary (The Virgin) should’ve had an abortion.”
The social media post was shared on Twitter by Catholic writer Joel Agius who branded it as a 'disgusting message of Christian hate' while others pointed out the importance of Mary as a religious figure in other faiths.
But it wasn't just religious circles upset by the shocking post as many online pointed out Murphy's lack of journalistic integrity by displaying her personal bias at a news event she was meant to be attending to report on impartially for network viewers.
Commenters online stated it showed a lack of self awareness to, not just pose with such an offensive sign at a protest, but to then upload the image to her instagram account to give it further validation.
The huge backlash to the incident highlights the growing divide between Australia's progressive-dominated mainstream media and those concerned the media has lost touch with traditional community values.
The network issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon apologising to "some" members of the community.
The statement, which came only after hundreds of enraged social media users posted online and emailed complaints directly to the network, read:
Statement from 9News Melbourne
On the weekend a 9News journalist posted an image to her personal social media account that caused offence to some members of the community.
The journalist did not mean to cause any offence, but has been counselled on why the post was not appropriate.
9News apologises to anyone offended by the post.
We respect all sides of this sensitive issue and pride ourselves on reporting with impartiality.
Statement from Lana Murphy
In my role as a journalist I always strive to remain impartial and respectful to either side of rational debate.
On Saturday, while reporting on the pro-choice rally, I was photographed being passed a sign made by one of the attendees.
The words on the sign and my subsequent posting of that image on my personal social media account has caused offence to some in the religious community.
This was not my intention, and I wholeheartedly apologise to those that were hurt.
I acknowledge that in my professional role, it was not the appropriate time to appear to have chosen any side.
Murphy temporarily deactivated her social media accounts after the incident went viral but returned after gaining support from Nine's management.