60 Minutes crew detained in Beirut

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Nine’s Tara Brown and a 60 Minutes crew have been detained in Beirut whilst filming a story on a family at the centre of a custody tug of war.

Fairfax Media reports two Australian children, aged 2 and 5, were taken to Lebanon for a holiday by their father. But the father did not return the children to their mother in Australia as promised.

60 Minutes was reportedly with the mother during a recovery operation, involving a European-based agency. But after the children’s mother and the children escaped to a safe house, Beirut police located the crew and the employees of the recovery agency and local security and sought to interview them. The mother and her children are said to have avoided interception by police.

A Nine spokesperson said, “We can confirm a crew from 60 Minutes has been detained in Beirut. We won’t be giving out any more details, other than to say we are working with authorities to get them released and back home ASAP.”

The incident again highlights the dangers of filming volatile stories in foreign territories. Earlier this year a 60 Minutes crew was attacked whilst filming a story in Stockholm, Sweden and a Four Corners crew was detained in Malaysia last month after quizzing Prime Minister Najib Razak about a corruption scandal.

UPDATED: Local Lebanese media reported the recovery agents fixers were “gunmen” and that there had been an altercation involving a grandmother when the children were snatched at a bus stop. These claims have been denied by 60 Minutes, which was not involved in arranging the operation.  

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that DFAT is seeking to confirm the whereabouts and welfare of the crew and have offered the consular assistance.

9 Comments:

  1. This story will milked dry by channel 9, but I suppose getting detained will be getting a bigger response than the story they started out doing.

  2. Knowing what journalists are like, if they refuse to co-operate with authorities 100% over there, then jail them until they do. No one is above the law.

  3. Secret Squïrrel

    This case is a little different from the other two recent situations. While we can all probably agree that the father was wrong to take the children away (or retain them) without notice, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the right thing to do is to snatch them back again.

    Aside from the wishes and welfare of the children, the actions carried out in Lebanon are, on the face of it, illegal – kidnapping is a crime irrespective of the kidnapper’s reasons for doing it. The police would very likely be interested in interviewing the 60 Minutes crew as witnesses, let alone whether they might have assisted with the kidnapping itself.

  4. Proper journalists doing proper journalism – good work 60 Minutes for rocking the boat. These are the unfortunate dangers you face, but when those dangers happen, they know they are on the right track of a good story

    News Limited – take notice about what real journalism looks like

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