Bali Nine drug smuggler Renae Lawrence has been confronted by a huge press pack on her arrival home.Freed Bali Nine drug smuggler Renae Lawrence has garnered sympathy from some ns after being hounded by the media as she touched down on home soil for the first time in more than 13 years.
Dozens of reporters, photographers and camera crews were waiting as the 41-year-old flew in to Brisbane airport early on Thursday morning after being released from a Bali prison overnight.
TV morning shows crossed live to the airport as an anxious looking Lawrence, her mother and step-brother, dodged the media pack as they made their way from the international arrivals hall to the domestic terminal so they could board a flight to Newcastle.
The media coverage left many viewers less than impressed and sparked calls for Lawrence to be left alone as she had already served more than 13 years in jail for her role in a 2005 plot to import more than 8kg of heroin to from Indonesia.
Many took to social media to accuse the media of harassing Lawrence and question whether there was actually any public interest in the return of a convicted drug smuggler.
“Given Renae has completed her sentence of 13 years which is substantially more than she would receive in and has made it clear she does not want to speak to the media, at what point does that behaviour from the media become bullying and abuse,” Peter Bax tweeted.
Former broadcaster Mike Carlton blasted the media scrum.
“Hey gang ! Let’s all pile on to Renae Lawrence. Stick microphones and cameras in her face, chase her down the street, camp outside her house. Not because there’s any news in it … but just because WE CAN !” Carlton tweeted.
Former Greens leader Christine Milne called on the media to leave Lawrence alone and cover other more worthy stories.
“Leave Renae Lawrence alone #auspol. Decent people don’t want her subjected to media scrums and stake outs. Earth is burning, that is news.”
Another woman, @Kylie80933023 tweeted: “It really is vile watching the media molest Renae Lawrence. They’re like mozzies at a bbq.”
While Nine’s Today Show and Seven’s Sunrise programs attracted plenty of outrage on Twitter for their coverage of Lawrence, several viewers of the ABC’s News Breakfast program attacked the public broadcaster for “hounding” Lawrence.
“@abcnews @BreakfastNews Instead of insisting Renae Lawrence have some ‘dignity’ why don’t your reporters display it and stop hounding her like the commercial networks?” Diana Gaye tweeted.
Linda Betts added: “Shame on the ABC for harassing Renae Lawrence and her family at the airport. As Bad as Current Affair style journalism Not up to your standards surely.”