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The newspaper front page we can't quite believe is real.

The Daily Telegraph has printed a special 2pm edition covering the horrifying siege underway at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe at Sydney’s Martin Place. The edition was rushed out this morning, and it’s already drawing concerns from readers and commentators.

The headline attributes the chilling hostage situation to Islamic State, when that’s not been confirmed (in fact, it’s being widely reported the black flag hanging in the window is not that of IS, but the Shahadah flag, or testimony of faith symbol.)

The coverage does not heed any of the multiple warnings from police and law enforcement for media agencies to be careful and measured in their reporting and not to incise fear, hatred or violence amongst the community.

The front page also reports that 13 hostages are being held in the shop, which was what we widely understood to be the case earlier today. However subsequent reports suggest the number may be as high as 50.

There’s also the matter of the hostages’ identities.

Media outlets only published blurred versions of the hostage images from mid morning to early evening, to protect the hostages’ family and friends from finding out about the horrific situation through the media. However the Daily Telegraph front cover went to print with one hostage’s face fully visible (we’ve blurred it out in the image below):

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There are a lot of things Australia needs today: peace, security, authorities calmly doing their jobs, and responsible decisions by those in positions of power are among them. Scare-mongering — as well as finger-pointing, hyperbole and speculation — are not.

Our thoughts remain with the hostages and their families.

If you have any information about the situation, please do not call 000, instead ring the National Security Hotline on 1800 227 228

Read Mamamia’s rolling coveraget of the Martin Place siege here.

Read our wish for the frightened hostages trapped inside the Lindt store here.

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