Muslim staff at Sky News Australia quits after claiming channel spreads fear

A Muslim studio staff at Sky News Australia quit her job after the Christchurch mosque massacres because she felt the pundits were increasing fear and polarisation.

Writing for the ABC online, Rashna Farrukh, said: “Some nights I felt physically sick, others I even shed tears in my car on the way home.

“I continued to compromise my values. Not only my values as a member of a religious group who was continuously being blamed and alienated by the rhetoric on these shows, but also as an aspiring journalist.

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

Ms Farrukh resigned after working for Sky News for three years as a studio support staff.

Rashna Farrukh

In her piece, she cited interviews that had deeply troubled her, which included Pauline Hanson talking about her “It’s OK to Be White” motion, Bronwyn Bishop stating that a “war” had been waged against western culture and Cory Bernardi pushing for a niqab ban.

She said: “I answered calls from viewers who yelled about immigrants and Muslims ruining Australia.

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“They did not realise that the person on the other end of the phone was both of those things.

“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.”

Ms Farrukh was based at Sky’s Canberra studio, where she would assist studio guests and helped in the office.

She said she hoped to get a fulltime job at the channel after graduating from university.

She went on to write: “Even as young journalists, we should act on our morals now rather than at some point in the future where we assume that we will have more of a say.

“As we saw in Christchurch, what happens in our media can have real life consequences.”

A spokesperson for Sky News Australia said: “We respect Rashna’s decision and wish her well with her future endeavours.

“As a news and national affairs broadcaster Sky News is committed to debate and discussion which is vital to a healthy democracy.”

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