Plainly Egregious? Not In Our Media Training Workshops

Now I’ve seen it all – as far as Plain English is concerned (or not).

The Gillard government’s hand-picked human rights commissioner, Gillian Triggs has hit out at the detention of asylum seekers on Nauru, saying the indefinite detention of asylum seekers on Nauru is ”an egregious breach of international human rights law”.

But here’s the good quote from Professor Triggs: ”I have made my view really plain to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in saying that to detain people on this remote island, and delaying by at least six months their processing, and where they’re advised that they will be kept there for five years, is an egregious breach of international human rights law.”

I’m so glad she made it “really plain”.

If you apply my media training rule of “stop 10 people” and ask them what “egregious” means I don’t believe you’d find two out of the 10 who could tell you – the rule says therefore don’t use the word when speaking to the public via the news media.

For those other eight people,” egregious” means “extremely bad”. I would have thought “really bad” might have done the trick for an Aussie audience.

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