01 May 2016
by Atreyee Chowdhury

Waleed Aly vents his ire on Port Arthur filmmaker

Waleed Aly

Waleed Aly, an Australian writer, academic, lawyer, media presenter, musician and co-host of Network Ten’s news and current affairs television program, The Project, has criticised a film maker for allegedly spreading false information in his film, ‘Bryant – The Port Arthur Massacre.’

In his show, Aly hinted that the film maker could be making a film on the assassin, Martin Bryant, to garner sympathy or raise conspiracy theories.

Aly accused director Paul Moder of encouraging conspiracy theories. He criticised the film on Port Arthur massacre killer Martin Bryant and said that the film spreads false and potentially upsetting conspiracy theories. He also said that the timing to release such a film is inappropriate because the anniversary of the massacre is drawing close.

He made the comments in his show, where he also questioned Moder’s motives. The film has already been criticised by families of the victims. Moder said that he would cast an internationally renowned actor to play Bryant, who was responsible for murdering 35 people and wounding 23 others in the Tasmanian massacre. He was later sent to jail and is serving time for the massacre.

Moder, who claims that he had a tough time writing the script of the film without the support of the survivors and victims’ families, also said, “It’s very, very difficult. I’ve written a few scripts in my time but I have to say writing this script was the most toruturous thing I’ve ever done. Principally, because there is so much misinformation, so much controversy, conspiracy, and spurious agenda that it is very hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

When Moder said that Bryant was the alleged killer in the massacre, Aly interrupted him saying that Bryant confessed and was subsequently convicted and imprisoned for the crime. However, Moder persisted and said that lack of an open trial and evidences pointing to the involvement of Bryant put his role under a cloud of suspicion.

After the interview, Moder took to Facebook to express his anger over how the show treated him.

He wrote, “Well, a predictable butchering by these biased, agenda driven moral ‘gatekeepers’ and the saddest part is, I expected it going into the interview. The Project, long ago lost its integrity, objectivity and fairness, but it was worth it to see the crestfallen look on their faces after the interview and trust me, I gave as good as I got.”

He said that ‘Bryant – The Port Arthur Massacre,’ is not a conspiracy-theory or a film that would eulogise Bryant. He said that it would be a study of the people and events based on hard facts.

However, industry critics siding with Moder have also said, “If there is nothing to hide about the Port Arthur massacre, then why are they so keen to shut down any debate? Why isn’t there an open and proper investigation rather than the closed investigation, which has caused conspiracy theories to thrive?

“People deserve to know the facts about this disaster considering it was the catalyst that was used to remove guns from law abiding citizens”, he said.