The Australian Asylum

The Rudd government’s new PNG solution to the asylum seekers problem is aimed at shutting down a filthy trade run by cynical and low-rent opportunists who exploit the hopes and fears of the most marginalised for commercial gain. Yes, we’re talking about tabloid editors.

There are two dimensions to the refugees issue. One is managing the problem itself – a relatively marginal oneĀ for a rich economy that leads the developed world on most economic metrics. The second dimension – and the trickier one – is the theatrics around the issue, a charade kept alive by attention-seeking sections of the news media and the frightened politicians they goad into one piece of policy knee-jerkery after another. Continue reading

That’s Entertainment?

Sometimes, even in journalism, words are superfluous. Simple images and the unmediated experiences of those at the centre of newsworthy events are all that is required to communicate to viewers and readers the magnitude of those events.
So why does Australian commercial television continue to ignore this principle? Instead of simply showing what has happened – in a flood, in a cyclone, in an earthquake – we are told what we can see for ourselves on screen.

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Review: ‘Inside Story’

On holiday, I’ve been reading ‘Inside Story’ – ABC foreign correspondent Peter Lloyd’s honest and compelling tale of his humiliating arrest and imprisonment in Singapore in 2008 for drug possession (a trafficking charge was later dropped).

Lloyd was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of his arrest, a personal legacy of his work over the previous six years covering a succession of disasters – including the Bali bombing, the Boxing Day tsunami and the carnage around Bhutto’s return to Pakistan and her subsequent assassination. Continue reading