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Canada, 1988 (MIFF 1989)

Director: Peter Raymont

An enormous amount of news and current affairs media is never analysed on film, and the public is left to wonder how events actually happened to get reported.

In this brilliant film on reporting from Nicaragua, we have an opportunity to see how American television news in particular is constructed Ricking from the head office of the ABC news in New York to Managua and back, the filmmakers provide an insight into the lives and styles of the reporters in the field, the decision-makers back in USA media office* and the politicians who try to influence the media.

Ronald Reagan was especially active in this latter respect with Nicaragua, and his blatant attempts to intimidate American journalists into promoting his anti-Sandimsta angle fell on deaf ears Indeed, the independence of American television journalists ' in the field' is a refreshing aspect of this film and serves to undermine some prejudices against them that can be easily maintained when we see a version of an American-sourced story on Australian television (Or to put it more bluntly, our television news seems even more conservative than some American versions).

It is a simply constructed film, relying on voice overs to explain the endless judgements that have to be made in piecing together the daily tragedy of an unnecessary war

That much of the news information is conveyed to television audiences in less than two minute stories, is an indictment of our news services and the public who tolerate scanty forms of information instead of detailed analysis

This is an absolutely necessary film and one which should be essential viewing for media watchers. Films that follow the example of the accessible form of this film would certainly go a long way to challenging the appalling standards.

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