Spin & Secrecy – Refugees & the Media

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Date(s) - Tue 16 Feb 2016

Manning Clarke Lecture Theatre


– First Dog on the Moon
– Ben Doherty
– Paul Bongiorno
– Michelle Dunne Breen

Australia’s brutal treatment of refugees and asylum seekers is notorious. To gain public support consecutive governments have engineered and militarised the language. Asylum seekers have become “illegals” or “queue jumpers” – even potential terrorists. Boat turn-backs are “operations” protecting our “Sovereign Borders.”

The issue frequently makes front-page news, even as the government refuses to comment about “on-water matters” and has passed laws to silence whistleblowers. It has even pursued various media outlets for their critical coverage, referring a number of journalists to the federal police for investigation. The veil of secrecy over Australia’s refugee policy makes the role of journalists, particularly those trying to report on the conditions in offshore detention centres, extremely difficult.

This free public forum aims to shed light on how the culture of spin and secrecy surrounding this very politicised issue has impacted on the ability of journalists to provide accurate and impartial information. The forum is organised by the Refugee Action Committee.