COMMENT: by Quan DinhNews Weekly
SBS programming questioned by Vietnamese community
, November 1, 2003
The decision to broadcast news in the morning daily from Hanoi by SBS-TV from October 6 is a despicable decision.
It was taken without consultation with the vast community of Vietnamese Australians, which SBS-TV is supposedly meant to represent in its philosophy of representing a multicultural Australia.
Probably greater than 99% of Vietnamese Australians would be opposed to the broadcast of this program, so one can only assume that the decision SBS-TV has taken was made for other reasons than representing multicultural Australia.Propaganda
To the Vietnamese Community in Australia, and indeed abroad, the Vietnamese Communist Government along with their propagandist policy is a painful and torturous reminder of the repression of free speech and free will that was the underlying reason for their migration to Australia.
To the majority of Vietnamese abroad, it is no better than broadcasting a program advocating for the virtues of the Nazi regime and its dictator Hitler, which would not be heard of in any civilised, democratic country.
The sign of the Communist flag evokes painful memories to many Vietnamese abroad, akin to what the Nazi flag would instigate in many generations of Jews now. The constant reference to Ho Chi Minh during the program is no less painful to Vietnamese than the reference to Hitler would be to Jews the world over.
By taking this decision, SBS-TV is not only guilty of totally disregarding the opinion of a significant ethnic group in Australia, but also of being an accomplice to the propagandist schemes of a cruel, repressive government, that covers up daily stories of people being convicted for their courage to speak out for democracy and freedom in Vietnam.
Elements of distortion of these stories will no doubt surface within future programs if the broadcast is allowed to continue.
In reaction to this decision, the Australia Vietnam Human Rights Committee will exhaust all possible avenues to rid our community of the plague that is communist propaganda.
Our committee is made of prominent academics, politicians, judges, and lawyers, who will all be called upon to react vociferously to SBS's decision.
We are determined that the free speech confiscated from Vietnamese when communism took over in Vietnam in 1975 - and only regained by many Vietnamese when they found refuge on the shores of Australia - will not now be reconfiscated by a sinister government, assisted and abetted by a naive and ignorant television station.
- Quan Dinh, General Secretary, Australia Vietnam Human Rights Committee