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Issue #1737      June 29, 2016

Nine’s twisted tale

The Nine Network’s A Current Affair (ACA) has broadcast a very selective, superficial and sanitised view of Nauru, according to spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul.

According to program host, Tracey Grimshaw, ACA has been preparing the program for five months but it is obvious they have not done their homework.

They interviewed a Tamil refugee woman who clearly raised the vulnerability of refugee women to sexual assault and rape – but did not pursue “the real story of Nauru.” They could have interviewed assaulted women who are too afraid to come out of their rooms, but they didn’t.

They didn’t interview the victims of the robberies or bashings.

They showed TVs and microwaves, but not the blackouts and water shortages.

ACA did not broadcast pictures of the hospital that would have put the lie to Australian government claims about the standard of health care on the island. Viewers were left with the impression that there were very nice schools on Nauru – they did not show the run-down schools where refugee children go.

ACA showed the mould on the roof of the tents in the single-men’s camp, but not the mouldy conditions in the family camp. The tents in the family camp are not air-conditioned; they are insufferably hot, and leak in the rain. However, ACA allowed a Nauruan official to give the impression that there was air-conditioning, although it is only in the infants’ area.

They showed pictures of a burnt-out unit in Anuijo camp, which we were told was “suspicious” when it is well known that this was the place where a desperate Iranian refugee attempted suicide.

Perhaps most disgracefully, ACA deceptively portrayed the daily protests on Nauru as being orchestrated to take place behind fences. If ACA had done their homework, they would know that protests outside the fences are banned.

Nauruan police have forced the protests inside the fences by confiscating phones and arresting refugees who attempt to protest or photograph the protests from outside the fences.

ACA could have asked why people are imprisoned without charge, but they didn’t. “Tracey Grimshaw said we would see ‘exactly how the detainees live’, but we didn’t,” said Ian Rintoul. “That story is being told in the on-going resistance of the asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru who have been protesting every day since 20 March.”

Next article – Driving Medicare to privatisation

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