Muslim staffer quits Sky News Australia, says channel 'helps legitimise radical views'

Rashna Farrukh says news outlet was 'increasing polarisation and paranoia' by criticising 'every minority group'

News Desk March 19, 2019
Rashna Farrukh says news outlet was 'increasing polarisation and paranoia' by criticising 'every minority group'.PHOTO COURTESY: ABC

A young Muslim employee has stepped down from her job at Australia's Sky News following the Christchurch mosque attack, accusing the channel of helping to “legitimise radical views,” The Independent reported.

Rashna Farrukh said she submitted her resignation to her junior liaison role because she felt the broadcaster’s commentators were “increasing polarisation and paranoia” by maligning “every minority group in the country”.

“As a young Muslim woman, I had many crises of conscience working there, but the events of March 15 snapped me out of the endless cycle of justifying my job to myself,” she wrote.

Farrukh began working for the news agency three years ago at the age of 19.

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Her role involved helping to arrange guests at the channel’s parliamentary studio in Canberra.

"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," she said.

“I compromised my values and beliefs to stand idly by as I watched commentators and pundits instil more and more fear into their viewers," Farrukh added.

“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,” the former employee said.

Interviews which Farrukh said had disturbed her included Australian Conservative senator Cory Bernardi calling for a burqa ban and One Nation Party founder Pauline Hanson proposing an “It’s OK to be white” motion, a slogan which has been linked to white supremacy.

She added she had answered calls from viewers “who yelled about immigrants and Muslims ruining Australia” and “did not realise that the person on the other end of the phone was both of those things”.

“Some nights I felt physically sick, others I even shed tears in my car on the way home,” Farrukh wrote.

She added: “Over the past few years, I was playing a role — no matter how small — in a network whose tone I knew would help legitimise radical views present in the fringes of our society.

“Now, I am done being a part of something I do not stand for, and I urge other young journalists to do the same.”



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