A former SKY News employee, Rashna Farrukh, has written a breathtaking editorial on the emotions she battled whilst working for the news broadcaster.
Farrukh, writing for ABC News, describes herself as a young Muslim woman working in a junior role in Canberra.
She details the conflicts she experienced whilst news programmes and guests took hardline stances on issues, including her religion.
Here are a few excerpts:
I realised pretty quickly though that the Sky News I worked on wasn’t focused on reporting facts and informing the public. Rather, conservative media commentators came together with current and former right-wing politicians, disseminating misinformation which bordered on conspiracies.
I compromised my values and beliefs to stand idly by as I watched commentators and pundits instil more and more fear into their viewers.
I stood on the other side of the studio doors while they slammed every minority group in the country — mine included — increasing polarisation and paranoia among their viewers.
I’d walk commentators to the studio where after some very polite chit chat — “how are you?”, “how’s uni going?”— they’d go on air and talk about my community.
I was there when Cory Bernardi advocated for banning the burqa, and when he called on the government to remove “offend” and “insult” from 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act under the guise of free speech.
I was there when Pauline Hanson proudly talked about how she would, the following day, put forward the “It’s OK to Be White” motion to counter the rise of so-called anti-white racism.
I watched as Bronwyn Bishop, following the “terror raids” in Sydney, insisting that “war” had been declared against western culture.
I answered calls from viewers who yelled about immigrants and Muslims ruining Australia. They did not realise that the person on the other end of the phone was both of those things.
And in the aftermath of Friday’s terror attack, Sky’s coverage was among Australian media outlets who played parts of the gunman’s live stream.Some nights I felt physically sick, others I even shed tears in my car on the way home.
But Farrukh resigned following incidents on the weekend, concerned at the media’s role in the wider scheme of things.
…I felt like I compromised the very reason I went into journalism — a search for truth — for a foot in the door.
When I reflected on who I work for and whether I could justify going into work this weekend, I knew what I had to do. Even as young journalists, we should act on our morals now rather than at some point in the future where we assume that we will have more of a say.
A SKY News told TV Tonight, “We respect Rashna’s decision and wish her well with her future endeavours.
“As a news and national affairs broadcaster SKY News is committed to debate and discussion which is vital to a healthy democracy.
“We feature a broader range of views and counterviews that are challenged and held to account than anywhere else on Australian television.”
The full article is a brilliant read at abc.net.au.