PNG needs Channel 7 publicity machine

Channel 7 publicity machine more needed in PNGChannel 7's recent action in sending its current affairs host, Naomi Robson, to Papua to try to save a young boy from ritual killing, was nothing if it was not bizarre. But it achieved what many believe was its real intention, which was to secure publicity for Robson and her program Today Tonight.

If the station really cared about the plight of young people in our neighbourhood, it would have given priority to coverage of Papua New Guinea's AIDS crisis. Peter Cronau, of ABC TV's Four Corners, writes in this issue of Eureka Street that recent estimates put the number infected by the virus to be as high as 100,000. He says AusAID research points to a collapse of the country's economy, and consequent suffering at a catastrophic level. There has been little coverage of the impact of AIDS in Papua New Guinea, which needs Australia's attention much more urgently than the Papuan boy Wa-Wa.

Channel 7 publicity machine more needed in PNGThat's not to say that the reality of children exploited by adults is not a serious and significant problem. In this issue of Eureka Street, we report that it continues to occur in large numbers in Uganda, despite a peace agreement between the Government and the LRA rebels. Many Ugandan children, living in fear that they will be kidnapped and used as child soldiers or sex slaves, face the likely closure of the Government shelters that offer them safety, and the ability to live at least some of their childhood.

In another article, titled "Boys need not be boys forever", Tim Martyn writes that the childhood of men in western countries is extended by their refusal to face adversity head on. Tim, who has just left Jesuit Social Services in Melbourne to study at the London School of Economics, recently witnessed tribal initiation rituals in western Kenya. While not supporting their brutality, he does believe the young men of the Bukusu tribe are better equipped to face life challenges than their counterparts in the West.



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