Why is Schapelle Corby treated like a hero?

Convicted drug smuggler now back down under

Schapelle Corby and mother Rosleigh (Image Source : abc.net), crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au, crowd ink, crowdink
Schapelle Corby and mother Rosleigh (Image Source : abc.net)

Innocent or not, convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has certainly polarized the nation and divided opinion over her innocence or guilt, so unless you were living under a rock over the weekend, you would have heard that she returned to Australia.

Add with her return, a new question arises: does she deserve the amount of media attention she has received upon returning to Australia?

But first, some background. Back in 2005, Corby went on trip to Bali with her brothers, a country she had visited several times since she was sixteen, and while going through customs, was caught with 4.2 kilos of cannabis in her body-board bag—a possession she denied was hers and claimed was put there by baggage handlers.

Later that year, while still in Bali, she was put on trial, convicted, and sentence to twenty years in jail, nine of which she served before being paroled in 2014 and then sent home this past weekend, arriving in Brisbane early Sunday morning.

But back to the question: does she deserve the amount of media attention she has received upon returning to Australia?

I have my doubts.

If it were someone else, convicted of the same or similar crime, they certainly wouldn’t have received THIS much attention and, perhaps, barely been mentioned in the news at all.

The coverage of Corby’s return to Australia has been a circus and, although she does have supporters to encourage her going forward, there are those who are not and seem to agree that the excessive media coverage is, well, excessive.

On Twitter, for example, some people made the following comments: “Journalists agonise about their collapsing credibility. Then they cover Schapelle Corby like the Second Coming of Christ. Hopeless.”– @MikeCarlton01

“The only people who ‪#schapellecorby needs protection from is the media. Leave her alone and let her live in peace.”– @StephenMonro

Today Show Australia co-host Lisa Wilkinson tweeting, “Is it just me or is the parade of police vehicles around ‪#SchapelleCorby‘s Bali deportation a tad excessive? What’s she going to do, escape?”– @Lisa_Wilkinson

And, while hosting the Today Show, Wilkinson’s co-host Karl Stefanovic said: “I realise there’s interest but why oh why oh why? Schapelle Corby — rightly or wrongly — has been convicted of drug smuggling,

“She’s done her time”, he continued, “and has the right to live her life in relative peace”.

But despite the media circus surrounding her return, one group of people who are undoubtedly happy to see Corby’s return is her family, as demonstrated by her Aunt Jenny who, after being interviewed by a 7 News crewmember, said she would give her “a peck on the cheek and a massive hug!”. A sentiment the rest of her family shares, as shown through a statement from the family.

On the other side of the coin, however, the Tyrrell family were not impressed by Corby’s use of William Tyrrell’s image on her handbag while leaving her Bali residence.

The photo also featured the words “Where’s William Tyrrell?” and, although I’m sure well intentioned on Corby’s part to keep the search going for the young boy and other missing persons, was not appreciated by the Tyrrell family, who released a statement saying:

“While the Where’s William campaign appreciates that Schapelle Corby has shown concern regarding little William’s disappearance … in using her release as a convicted offender from Bali as a media opportunity to increase awareness that William is still missing, we are not happy”, said Where’s William? campaign director Clare Collins.

“William’s family and their campaign to support the NSW Police in their investigation in the search for William have absolutely no association with Schapelle Corby, her supporters or her family…”

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Rowena Nagy is a graduate of The University of Tasmania and has over three years of experience as a writer and journalist and brings that knowledge and skill to all tasks she approaches. She has also worked in radio, co-hosting and co-producing a news and current affairs program during her Bachelor of Arts Degree and received a second-class lower division score for her Honours thesis on celebrity, media, and privacy. Rowena aims to gain experience in all areas of media and has high career aspirations.