Australians told 'be alert but not alarmed'

Australian government launches counter-terrorism ad campaign asking people to report suspicious behaviour

The Australian government has launched a new counter-terrorism campaign, asking people to watch out for suspicious behaviour.

The government has been worried about security since Oct. 12 when a bomb ripped through a nightclub on the island of Bali, killing about 190 people, including 88 Australian tourists.

The blast was blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic group linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

An opinion poll published by a Sydney newspaper on the weekend suggests almost 80 per cent of Australians now believe their country is a legitimate terrorist target.

For the next three months, Canberra will run television commercials and place newspaper ads in its "Look out for Australia" campaign. The message is for Australians to be "alert but not alarmed."

One of the ads begins with the presenter saying, "Terrorism has changed the world and Australia is not immune. But the way of life that we value so highly must go on."

A booklet on terror prevention available in 28 languages will be distributed to households in late January.

The public awareness blitz gives out a phone number, but it doesn't list what kind of behaviours or scenarios might be considered suspicious.

The ads show scenes of people surfing, having a barbecue and playing sports. In other scenes, there's a bomb disposal expert and a dog sniffing luggage at an airport.

People from different ethnic backgrounds are shown in the ads in a positive light. But critics say the campaign may foster an atmosphere of fear that will be directed at the Muslim community.