I feel desperately sorry for Caster Semenya, and outraged at the way the IAAF and Athletics South Africa have handled this matter. But I fail to understand why everybody seems to be lambasting the “Australian media” for breaking the story that she has internal male sex organs, as if there is some giant media conpsiracy afoot to deny South Africa’s star athlete the glory due to her. News24.com’s Victoria Guedes goes so far as to apologise for being a journalist! “I would hope,” Guedes writes, “that if I were a news hound in an office in Australia who got hold of the information about Caster’s ambiguous gender, I would think twice about leaking a sensational story that could ruin someone’s life through no fault of their own.”
Oh come on! The Australian journalist who obtained the information and published it was doing his (or her?) job. Any journalist worth her salt would have run the story. It is of immense public interest, given the speculation and politicisation surrounding the case. The IAAF official who leaked the information to an Australian journalist, however, was committing a serious breach of confidentiality, and should bear all the blame for ruining her life, if that in fact transpires. Athletics South Africa should take a long, hard, look at itself too, because it simply hasn’t done enough to prepare Semenya for the storm that awaits. If some media reports are to be believed, ASA has refused to put the IAAF in contact with Semenya to discuss the results of her “gender tests”.
The media are not to blame this time, I’m afraid.