World Bulletin / News Desk
The Australian government is to spend 4 million Australian dollars ($3.1 million) of taxpayers’ money on a TV movie to deter asylum seekers, local media reported Friday.
The initiative, which will see the film screened on televisions in conflict zones such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, was denounced as "propaganda" by opponents.
Referring to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the movie was "more Abbott government propaganda" and a "shameless abuse of taxpayer funds."
Refugee Council of Australia President Phil Glendenning told The Anadolu Agency he doubted the drama-documentary would have any impact on potential asylum seekers, describing it as a "further example of the government trying to appeal to Australian voters."
He added: "The reality is if you’re fleeing from the horrors of ISIL or the Taliban, I doubt you'd have the time to stop and watch television and even if you did, the message is not going to deter you.
"I don't think the government understands why people are on the move if they think a TV drama will be a deterrent."
ABC News reported the planned film, which will be screened in 'source' countries as well as 'transit' countries such as Indonesia, is part of the federal government’s anti-people-smuggling strategy.
Scheduled to be broadcast later this year, it will carry the message that asylum seekers should not trust people smugglers and depict people drowning at sea.
In a statement, the Immigration Department said: "Soap operas and telemovies are proven media to reach the target audience when seeking to deliver a complex message."
Hanson-Young said in a statement released Friday: "With the brutal conflicts in Syria and Iraq the only message we are sending refugee families caught up in the violence is ‘Bugger off, Australia does not care about your suffering.’"
The movie has been commissioned by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service from Sydney-based production company Put It Out There Pictures.
"Operation Sovereign Borders has stopped the boats coming to Australia and in the process saved countless lives," Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said, according to ABC. "But Australia must remain vigilant."Last Mod: 11 Nisan 2015, 13:24