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15 September, 2006

the real story behind Naomi Robson's mission

I mentioned Naomi Robson on the other day about her disappearance from Today Tonight. She and her four crews were on an assignment to West Papua to save a boy Channel Nine's 60 Minutes covered four months ago but the network decided against rescuing the boy, Wa Wa.

Wa Wa

Robson and four colleagues were trying to save a Papuan orphan from being eaten by his cannibal tribe when they were detained by authorities in the troubled Indonesian province of Papua.

The five journalists have been deported from Indonesia after entering Papua on tourist visas. Foreign journalists require special permits to work in the province.

Channel Seven yesterday accused Channel Nine of sabotaging the rescue mission by tipping off authorities to the visa breach. Nine has denied the "scurrilous" claim and threatened legal action.

Last night (14 Sept), Today Tonight said:

We can't be certain, but do know the Nine Network somehow found out we were going and trying to sabotage the trip. Threatening and cajoling and intimidating.
One offer from Ben Fordham to Paul Raffaele was to name your own price to do a documentary and a guarantee to return and to save Wawa. Anything as he didn't go with Channel Seven.

Raffaele said No. He can't trust Fordham nor 60 Minutes.

Nine last night threatened legal action against Seven over its allegations, which Nine news chief Garry Linnell says are "false and reprehensible".

Mr Linnell said:
I can tell you now that no-one here at Nine has tried to sabotage their trip. There's no way that any of us have been in contact with anyone in Indonesia saying, 'You've got to stop this trip'.

Raffaele and Robson
But the truth was not as Mr Linnell said. Paul Raffaele was interviewed in tonight's (15 Sept) Today Tonight.

Naomi Robson said,
I'm going to be criticised for trying to help in the situation - well, I'll wear it.

Writer Paul Raffaele who took 60 Minutes crew into the cannibal area, he and 60 Minutes crew were approached a man and the boy Wa Wa, begging them to take Wa Wa to a safe place. Channel Nine turned it down. Raffaele also mentioned that he was contacted by Ben Fordham on Tuesday last week, saying he (Fordham) knew Channel Seven crew was going in. He called Raffaele again on Thursday with more detail on Channel Seven crew's schedule. Fordham also told Raffaele that Channel Nine Senior News and Current Affair Executives realised what Channel Seven's story would stain 60 Minutes' reputation because of the way they dumped Wa Wa. ...
Raffaele saw Channel Nine do not care about Wa Wa, Nine just want to stop him going with Channel Seven.

Raffaele's initial plea to save Wa Wa was rejected by Channel Nine.

Nine Network issued following statement.

Nine Network Statement on Seven's Today Tonight
by Nine Network

The Nine Network tonight said it will take legal action following claims by Channel Seven that it had deliberately sabotaged an aborted trip by a Seven news crew to West Papua.

Nine’s Director of News and Current Affairs, Garry Linnell, said: “Any suggestion Nine has contacted or alerted Indonesian authorities about Seven’s proposed journey are absolutely false and reprehensible.”

“We have become accustomed to Seven following up our stories. Unfortunately they are now unable to even follow in our footsteps.”

Linnell said claims by Seven’s Peter Meakin, that Nine had participated in bullying and standover tactics, and had offered money to prevent the proposed story from taking place are deeply offensive and demonstrably wrong.

“These claims smack of absolute desperation in a climate where Seven’s news and current affairs ratings are on the decline.”

“As well, claims by Today Tonight are a farrago of lies and misinformation and are littered with factual errors too numerous to count.” Linnell said.

Too bad, Raffaele and Channel Seven's mission were destroyed by Nine Network.

Related links:
Paul Raffaele's article Sleeping with Cannibals.
Rivals fight over cannibal 'myth' (News.com.au, 15 Sept 2006)

Posted by Antony on 15 September 2006 9:11 PM | newstalk

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