Sydney production house Put It Out There Pictures has been given a contract by the Department of Immigration to create a telemovie to deter asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat.
Lateline reported the government would spend $4m on the production and associated marketing, which will broadcast in countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The telemovie will realistically portray the journeys of people looking to travel illegally by boat to Australia,” an Immigration Department spokesman told Mumbrella. “It will highlight their personal situations and the challenges they face.
“One of the main aims of the telemovie is to present Australian Government messaging in a different way to reinforce messaging delivered by other communication channels.”
The Department of Immigration did not specify which countries the production would be broadcast in but did note:”The telemovie is scheduled to be broadcast later this year across four key source and transit countries for people smuggling activity in five different languages.
“It will cover the messages delivered as part of the Australian Government’s No Way anti-people smuggling communication campaign. This includes the risks and dangers of travelling illegally by boat, the lies of people smugglers, and Australia’s border protection measures.
“Each broadcast will be accompanied by a major awareness campaign across television and social media.”
In 2013, The Federal Government’s ‘No Visa’ campaign drew from criticism for what was seen as a politically motivated campaign for Labor funded by taxpayers close to the federal election.
Refugee Council of Australia president Phil Glendenning told Lateline the drama was unlikely to deter asylum seekers.
“We know that more people are on the move out of countries like Afghanistan and Syria than there have been for well over 50 years,” said Glendenning.
“A TV show isn’t going to stop people who are running from the Taliban.”
Put It Out There Pictures’ website describes how its “team has spent several years making hundreds of hours of television for local audiences in post-Taliban Afghanistan. We work with clients to develop concepts that encompass objectives within the framework of strong storytelling and high quality production values”.
“Put It Out There Pictures has successfully delivered productions of this type for the US State Department, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), United Nations, British Embassy, USAID, World Health Organisation (WHO), and US Department of Defence,” said the department spokesman.
“The Joint Agency Task Force Operation Sovereign Borders will work with the production company throughout all stages of production.”