Over the last three nights SBS, Australia have aired a TV show called Go Back To Where You Came From.
It has been described by the producers as a social experiment.
Here is a description of the format.
“Go Back To Where You Came from is a world first, three day television event following six ordinary Australians who agree to challenge their preconceived notions about refugees and asylum seekers by embarking on a confronting 25 day journey. Tracing in reverse the journeys that refugees have taken to reach Australia, they travel to some of the most dangerous and desperate corners of the world, with no idea what’s in store for them along the way.”
SBS is Australia’s multicultural TV channel so the audience would have a positive bias towards the subject. However what has been interesting is that over the last three nights the ratings of SBS have skyrocketed, culminating in over 600,000 viewers tuning in last night.
It wasn’t to everyone’s taste, as Channel Ten’s MasterChef Australia had an audience of over 1.5 million.
What is amazing is the interest and sympathy it has created in the subject of asylum seekers.
By placing these six people in the shoes of the refugees they have also opened the eyes of the average viewer to their plight.
So much so that the interest in the program went way beyond our shores and became the most tweeted subject in the world for several hours last night.
Empathy is a very powerful communications tool.