Dateline: March 14

Dateline investigates President Obama's staying power and returns to Bali for a follow up on a story about the mentally ill.

This Sunday night SBS current affairs show Dateline investigates President Obama’s staying power ahead of an Australian visit while reporter David O’Shea returns to Bali for a follow up on a story about mentally ill people being kept in chains.

Aaron Lewis reports that 10% unemployment and a shrinking US economy have taken their toll on Obama’s popularity. In New York, for example, times are tough: one fifth of the population has needed food aid in the past year, while watching their president bail out the banks and pour trillions into stimulating the economy.

Now, a grass roots campaign known as the Tea Party movement is playing a critical role in derailing Obama’s health care reform, despite the Administration’s best efforts.

“They [Obama’s team] have missed the game because they’re not great communicators,” explains Democratic strategist Michael Goldman. But other political commentators predict that Obama’s popularity will rise as soon as unemployment falls.

Instead of focussing on job creation, however, Obama is concentrating on healthcare.

Will he keep his own job once America’s economic prospects improve?

Last May David O’Shea uncovered a horrible situation in Bali – mentally ill people kept in chains for years, because their relatives lacked the medicine and the know-how to treat them.

One woman was treating the wretched, and O’Shea recorded Dr Suriyani’s attempts to medicate and release her patients, despite scepticism from relatives and peers.

O’Shea returns to report on the psychiatrist’s progress. And it’s so amazing, he doesn’t even recognise one of her charges, a man who’d been chained up for eight years. But Dr Suriyani’s work is in jeopardy. Bali’s governor has withdrawn vital funds, asking her to work more closely with existing hospitals. She says those services don’t work.

If Dr Suriyani can’t buy critical anti-psychotic drugs, will the mentally ill be put back in chains?

It airs 8:30pm Sunday on SBS ONE.

2 Responses

  1. “Obama’s staying power” Say whaaa? His polls are slumping due to his no substance approach just talking about hope and change. The US people woke up to this guy long before most Australian’s woke up to kevUN!

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