Australia: Channel Seven loses legal battle after ‘racist portrayal’ of Brazilian tribe

Suruwaha tribe

Channel Seven has lost a three-year legal battle with broadcasting authorities over a current affairs program it aired in 2011 which was deemed to be an inaccurate and racist portrayal of a Brazilian tribe who lived in the Amazon.

The battle to overturn the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s original ruling was lost last week when the full federal court dismissed Channel Seven’s appeal and ordered it to pay Acma’s costs.

The segment featured Seven video journalist Tim Noonan and writer and adventurer Paul Raffaele travelling through the Amazon jungle and meeting with the Suruwaha people, who Noonan described as having “disturbing practices”. “These lost tribes encourage the murder of disabled children,” he said.

Raffaele claimed that the Suruwaha believe that children born with birth defects or born to a single mother “are evil spirits and should be killed in the most gruesome way possible”.

“They take these poor little innocent babes out into the jungle to be eaten alive by the wild beasts or jaguars or they bury them alive, this is one of the worst human rights violations in the world,” he said.

In his federal court judgement Justice Buchanan backed Acma’s original report when he said he found the statements made by Noonan and Raffaele “would be likely to provoke or perpetuate intense dislike and serious contempt of and for the Suruwaha tribe and its members on account of their practices and beliefs”…

…The original complaint about the network’s Sunday Night program was made by Survival International, a lobby group for tribal peoples around the world. Survival’s director Stephen Corry described the Sunday Night segment as “freakshow TV at its very worst”.

“The Indians are made out to be cruel and inhuman monsters, in the spirit of 19th-century colonialist scorn for ‘primitive savages’,” Corry said in 2012. “It’s clearly designed to have the same effect – to suggest that they don’t deserve any rights. The idea that such nonsense is supposed to help tribal children is breathtaking”…

Score another one for the groups in denial about human nature. Anyone who has read ancient history knows that “exposing” unwanted children was perfectly acceptable at the time.

This is not something that is restricted to remote Brazilian tribes.  Other places and peoples have merely changed over the centuries. Early Christians and Jews opposed it.  One thing that Mohammed was said to have done was to put a stop to the infanticide of unwanted girls.  

Cultures can change, albeit slowly, and culture also influences people’s behaviour.  

Read more about it at Wikipedia. Indeed, some groups were even ritually sacrificing children.

  • eMan14

    This court would accept the murder of disabled children if this tribe did it in Australia? I highly doubt it.
    It’s the same logic that enables Muslim’s from getting off free having raped non Muslim women.
    It’s their culture. They don’t know any better. It’s pure BS.

    • Murder of disabled children is already allowed in the West but because it is sanitised and done behind closed doors, it’s alright.

  • ntt1

    Savages, I am proud of our culture, and the enlightened way pregnant women are sent to warm homey clinics to have their unwanted children vacuumed out in pieces.
    Imagine the unwholesome mess if women were discarding their unwanted on any suitable ice flow in any urban area or stashing the infants to die slowly in a fern bar green space. Exciting new reasearch using fetal stem cells might well add a welcome financial boost to faltering economies and provide a sound rationalization for the huge numbers of deaths.

  • The Goat

    Since when is truth a defense?

    • Alain

      According to our Supremes it isn’t and the same sickness seems to have migrated to Australia where the truth is considered racist.

    • Clausewitz

      It’s not any longer. Australia has become the moral and legal equivalent of Canada, and that is not a good thing.

  • Just a thought


    So, pointing out how evil the Holocaust was, for the torture and massacre of 12 million “would be likely to provoke or perpetuate intense dislike and serious
    contempt of and for the [Nazi Party] and its members on account of
    their practices and belief…

    Is that what you’re saying, “justice” Puke Canon? (Is he related to Pat?)

    • Frau Katze

      Naziphobia is getting out of hand!

  • Brett_McS

    I represent the last surviving members of the Spartan tribe, and I have a bone to pick with the makers of “300”.

  • Rosenmops

    One thing that Mohammed was said to have done was to put a stop to the infanticide of unwanted girls.

    Probably wanted to save them so he could marry them when they were 9.

    • Frau Katze

      Likely copying the Jews and Christians.

  • “Tribal peoples” are the – got to have – chia pets of the liberal elite. They can do no wrong. And must not be slandered.

    • Frau Katze

      They’re very in vogue now.

  • Pete_Brewster

    Survival International, whose mission it is to “protect” allegedly noble savages from civilization, are convinced that the program is part of a plot by “fundamentalist” missionaries to (heaven avert) take the tribe’s children to civilization and teach them the rudiments of Christianity.

    Fates worse than being murdered by your own parents, obviously.

    • The path to hell is paved with good intentions. “Survival International” is a good example.

      A “lost tribe” living in the forest may sound like a good deal to Western liberals. Some of these liberals may fantasize about some sort of idealistic no stress lifestyle.

      The reality. Nothing of modern society – no sanitation, refrigerators, schools for the young, no medicines, short painful lives, needless early deaths, and the list could go on.

      What right do “liberals” have to “protect” these “lost tribes” from the 21st century? In reality the liberals are condemning these “lost tribes” and their children into lives that the liberals would not sent their own children too.

      Let Western liberals put a pile of ferns on their own child’s stomach to deal with a burst appendix. Maybe then, they will have a different view.

  • G

    Perhaps the Suruwaha were very upset when they watched the program.

    Really, WTF is it with judges? They are like King Canute ordering the tides to cease. The arrogance of these assholes is astonishing. They live in this legal dreamworld where they can decree anything, influence anything, overrule any mere mortal or even God.

    What the hell gives these dickhead judges the idea that this tribe of bone-through-the-nose primates even know about the existence of Australia?
    This is ridiculous.

  • Miss Mouse

    Australian Aborigines did exactly the same type of thing, well into the twentieth century, including infant cannibalism. It’s the dirty little secret of the activists.

    • Yes. I mean I’ve never heard about the cannibalism thing, but when I spent two weeks in Arnhem land I remember meeting a guy who, our very lefty anthropologist explained, would have been killed because he was a twin. IIRC Anglican missionaries rescued him.

      This is actually about the Aboriginals.

  • ed

    in Africa albinos are hunted and killed daily, for there body parts to used in ju-ju and witchcraft potions , [fact`s not opinions]

  • Blither box

    There are hospitals in Chernobyl and elsewhere that would scare the savages into thinking the white man is the devil. Why does Brazil leave them in such a primitive and miserable state instead of educating them and giving them cell phones and TVs? They aren’t even employable. Whats the point of just gawking at them in documentaries like zoo animals if they aren’t ever going to contribute to the economy? Its racist to leave them out in the jungle like that. At least give them bibles and guns so they can catch up with everybody else.