ABC Accepts Hope in a Slingshot!

In April 2009, Ian Taylor – acquiring editor for the ABC – made an offer to broadcast Hope in a Slingshot.

The terms of the contract were agreed upon through an exchange of emails between the ABC Acquisitions Department and Ronin Films the distributor.

The ABC had asked for the a license to broadcast the documentary three times over a period of three years starting December 2009


ABC Self Censors Itself for The Holy Land

kim dalton abc palerstine israelIn December 2009 Kim Dalton, the Head of the ABC TV, personally intervened and revoked the film’s offer. In a letter written in February of 2010 Kim Dalton finally gives the official reason for the revocation. Click here to view the letter.

Dalton writes that Hope in a Slingshot is “an o*p*i*n*i*o*n program” about a “contentious” subject and that it conflicted with the ABC’s policy of “impartiality”, as r*e*q*uired by Clause 6.6.3 of the ABC’s Editorial Policy.

Kim Dalton claimed that a counter balancing documentary could not be secured by the ABC.

Anonymous ABC sources c*o*n*f*i*r*m that The ABC’s Acquiring Department who had followed the rigorous ABC protocol before making the offer (which included Kim Dalton’s acceptance signature) did not support the revocation subjecting Kim Dalton to handle it personally.

Andrew Pike, Director of Ronin Films, and an Australian film industry professional for 35 years verifies that he has never experienced such a  revocation happening to any other film maker or company.

One could only speculate as to what would motivate such a move.


Counter-Balance is Provided and Ignored

During the challenge that ensued in the Senate E*s*t*i*m*a*t*e*s it was communicated to Ronin Films and Senator Ludlam that the ABC would re consider the revocation and seek a film to counter balance the perceived point of v*i*e*w of Hope in a Slingshot. We were encouraged by this.

Without looking back and asking some obvious questions, Ronin Films and Inka Stafrace in good sportsmanship found two other documentaries (and validated their availability with their producers) which show aspects of the war which are not covered in Hope in a Slingshot.

to see if I am smiling palestine israel israeli military IDF girl soldiersOne was To See If I Am Smiling, showing the psychological affect that the Israeli military experience has on some women soldiers.

The Case for Israel Israel Palestine



The other was The Case for Israel which is a purely Zionist film. It defends the military occupation as a security necessity. Ronin Films and Inka Stafrace suggestions were never responded to.


“……. there has been deafening silence from the ABC.  Ronin Films has not been advised by the ABC that it will reinstate it original offer to acquire and broadcast Hope In A Slingshot; or the ABC’s v*i*e*w as to the suitability of either suggested films to provide ‘balance’............The  ABC’s requirement for balance was always spurious . The film (Hope in a Slingshot) is an exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and makes a pro-peace statement, strongly and refreshingly expressed.” - Andrew Pike - Director of Ronin Films


Hope in the Senate Estimates

Friends of the ABC The Friends of the ABC got to work to re-instate the contract for broadcast and their first move was to inform Senator Ludlam of the Greens Party about the situation. He made the decision to challenge the Managing Director of the ABC Mark Scott in the coming Senate Estimates of May 2010.

The transcript of can be read here

Scott Ludlam The greens palestine Israel

Senator Scott Ludlam: “During the May Senate Estimates session, Mark Scott did not know about the curious decision taken by ABC TV to accept and then reject the documentary Hope In A Slingshot.  It would be absurd if ABC editorial guidelines require the broadcaster to procure a pro-war documentary to provide 'balance'.  This film is about aspirations for peace on both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict and should be broadcast.”

Educational Sector

Inka Stafrace ABC tv

"The Educational Sector tends to purchase films which have been broadcast.

This page is to highlight that Hope in a Slingshot very suspiciously lost broadcast and that the Educational Sector should not lose out too.

It is clear for anyone who cares to read between the lines that a coveted political agenda in the ABC over rode the ABC's own acquisitions procedures" - Inka Stafrace Filmmaker



Between June – October 2010 screenings of the updated 2010 Hope in a Slingshot were conducted throughout Australia in independent venues by the Friends of Palestine groups and by activist groups such as the Socialist Alliance and Green Left



The Integrity of Hope

In August 2010 The ABC publish there response to Senator Ludlam. They resort to an unsubstantiated attack on the editorial integrity of the film.

Office of Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs The United Nations Office of Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, B'tselem The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, The Israeli Statistic Bureau are some of the organizations the filmmaker gathered her information from. Doctor Noah Bassil, Acting Director of the Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, was consulted on the film's accuracy in regards to historical data.

The documentary was presented at the International Peace Research Conference 2010 held in Sydney. Jake Lynch the Director of Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney said that Hope in a Slingshot was "a signal contribution to peaceful media representation of this conflict.

All the resources used to research the film's maps and statistics are transparently stipulated and dated in the final credits of the film.

Tracey Mair palestine israelDespite having one of Australia's finest publicity agents on the job - Tracey Mair - not one interview or story was generated in the main stream media. The unverified attack of the editorial integrity of a film once accepted by the ABC and curiously rejected 7 months later was not considered interesting enough to publicize. No journalist in the main stream media was willing to touch this topic. Although the independent media and dedicated truth seekers were loyal supporters there simply was not enough of them.


Although what was at stack was the broadcast of a film that addresses the gaping hole in information in the main stream media about the Israeli - Palestinian conflict (which is the military occupation of the Palestinian people in that region), the Arabic Australian community was notably silent during this important battle with the ABC.

arabic australian community

When using the term 'Arabic Australian Community' what is being addressed here is generically the community as a whole. Leaders of this community did not utter a word of support. One can assume that they did not care enough to support it for some reason or another. Maybe the community as a whole had no faith that success was possible. Whether is was apathy, an off shoot of racism (the film maker is not Arabic) or intellectualized non action because the film does not not support the Palestinian narrative holistically, their input was sorely missed in this battle. Their input especially in the form of formal complaints to the ABC seen right through the three gruelling steps to the independent over seers, could have made all the difference.

palestine israel land theft IDF

ABC responds

The ABC’s official response to Senator Ludlam’s challenge was delivered on the 27th August 2010.

Full Response


James longley iraq in fragmentsJames Longley Academy Award Nominee for Iraq in Fragments

"This documentary is a useful primer for anyone trying to understand the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West bank. The more people who see this film, the better"

jake lynch centre of peace and conflict studiesJAKE LYNCH - Director: Center of Middle East and North African Studies, Macquarie University

".......... it was extremely impressive. ...... You got close to the action and came back with dramatic pictures, and they are sensitively deployed and narrated in the film............. In the multi-layered context you provide, we can indeed differentiate explanation from justification, and, in the current political context, there is no more important distinction........(HOPE IN A SLING SHOT) is therefore a signal contribution to peaceful media representation of this conflict"


The statistics of the main Hope in a Slingshot promo is regularly updated.

Updated 3 min Promo

Older version 6 min trailer

Truth in Journalism

Inka Stafrace says "Honesty and transparency are the my most powerful weapons! I cannot afford to exaggerate or make silly mistakes. With work as provocative as this, one needs to be shackled to the truth because any indication of an untruth and you are giving the powers that promote war an opportunity to credibly undermine your work. It is indicative of the power imbalance between myself and (unfortunately) an institution as strong as the ABC that the ABC can simply make a statement like that (regarding the integrity of the film) without any supporting evidence and get away with it. I cannot make Senator Ludlam keep challenging Mark Scott. He needed the public behind him not just me and a couple of my buddies.


Death of Credibitlity

Death in the med collision course gaza oren roezenburg flotillan September 2010 the ABC aired an investigation conducted by Panorama of the BBC called Collision Course – Gaza. (Its European name was Death in the Med). This investigation was supposed to uncover the truth behind the Flotilla Aid ships bound for Gaza in May 2010 when Israel stunned the international community by boarding the ship in International waters and killing 9 activists armed with bits of Iron railings and make shift weapons from the ships structure.  This 48 minute program was so outrageously one sided that it caused a demonstration outside of the London BBC studios when it first aired in England. Nevertheless the ABC did not seem to consider it ‘contentious’ according to Clause 6.3.3. The timing of the airing of this program killed any credibility that the ABC may have been courting about their cancellation of Hope in a Slingshot for ‘contentious’ reasons.


Panorama Analyzed

Part 1 and 2 of the full Panorama program of Death in the Med also titled Collision Course- Gaza.



A brilliant analysis of the Panorama program can be found here

Watch 15 minutes

abc bbc death in the med collision course gaza

ABC Changes its Editorial Policy!!

In April 2011 the staff of the ABC were introduced to a new editorial policy.

An anonymous source informs us

The change I mentioned is a relaxation of the policy around balance and
bias. It is now not so specific about balance. Supposedly you can now
get documentaries that present a particular point of view as long as the ABC can show that across all of its platforms, radio, TV, online a mix of views are shown. So it isn't that a TV doco of the same duration has to show the opposite point of view anymore, just that there is a range
of views over longer period of time across all platforms. They
overhauled all of the editorial policies recently and this was the big change.. may not sound like much but senior acquisitions people are less hamstrung than they were by the rules now.. ……….

Hope may well have had a role for sure, kudos to you and your distributor.. deputy programmer Ian Taylor was the one who wanted it...