Man about town: 16 May 2014

Man about town: 16 May 2014

If words could kill, the killing fields of Washington, Bangkok and Siem Reap would be awash with corpses in the wake of the recent discovery of the body of Canadian journalist-filmmaker Dave Walker near the Angkor Thom Victory Gate, not the Gates of Death as has been widely reported.

An online war of words has broken out between a trio of people – one based in the US, one in Thailand and one here in Temple Town who have involved themselves in various degrees in the investigation into Walker’s death. The parties have hurled accusations at each other and at other parties connected to those parties, and some parties have either been proven to be, or described as, killers, torturers, fraudsters, washed up hacks, alcoholics, plagiarists, heroin addicts, glory seekers, ego maniacs and possibly the worst of all insults – tedious repetitive writers and bad spellers.

Not much more can be said, nor perhaps even needs to be said, because it seems that a Canadian libel lawyer has been enlisted into the war of words, which will then presumably be battled out in a courtroom where possibly even more amazing allegations and revelations will emerge.

But perhaps more interestingly, among all the mud that’s been slung via Facebook etc this week, some pay dirt has been unearthed that has shed light on some parts of the investigation hitherto widely unknown, while at the same time showing that some putative experts are putatively not so expert.

But perhaps – wounded pride and injured reputations aside – this week’s mendacious online verbiage is really only a sideshow, while the real show – the painstaking investigation and gathering of meaningful insight leading to meaningful evidence of who may have really dunnit and why – is slowly, surely and secretly taking place outside the glare of the social network limelight.

Australian expats living in Siem Reap have been plunged into despair in the wake of the conservative Australian government’s grim new budget released this week.

Conservative s Aussie governments always pick on the public broadcaster, the ABC, which is said by some to be left-leaning. And this week not only has the government stuck it to the broadcaster, but it has also axed the ABC’s contract to produce Australian Network, a broadcasting network that delivers some of the best (and some of the worst) Australian entertainment programming, news and current affairs, and sport into expats homes right here in Cambodia and throughout the region.

The network is particularly loved by sports nuts because its broadcasts several games a week featuring the bizarre and unique Down Under football code, known as Australian Rules Football.

As one Aussie expat footy lover said on Tuesday night at the Hot Stone Café, “I came here to get away from the Australian government – but they still get me.”

Meanwhile the managing director of the ABC said its Board would now have to examine how the ABC delivers its international Charter obligation, which requires it to broadcast programs that, among other things, “encourage awareness of Australia and an international understanding of Australian attitudes on world affairs”.

Scott said the decision to cut the funding for Australia Network was very disappointing, given the ABC was only one year into a 10-year contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“Countries around the world are expanding their international broadcasting services as key instruments of public diplomacy. The ABC had negotiated a detailed strategy with DFAT to develop relationships with major broadcasters in the region and to target locals likely to trade, study in or travel to Australia.

“This decision runs counter to the approach adopted by the vast majority of G-20 countries who are putting media at the centre of public diplomacy strategies.”


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