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POV: Fully vaxxed Melbourne reporter in the centre of chaos | ticker VIEWS

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Sunglasses to protect my eyes from pepper spray, trench coat to hide my microphone, and a helmet to protect my head from flares.

A face mask isn’t the only covering I need as a news reporter in Melbourne, Australia

Isn’t it funny how Melbourne was voted top 10 safest city in the world on Sunday.

Two days later, I’ve never felt more scared to be at work.

On scene

I could feel thousands of eyes glare towards me as I pulled my microphone out, to show our global audience what it feels like to be in the city experiencing the longest lockdown in the world.

To my left, hundreds of the Victoria’s top authorities. Riot police were sent to control the protesters, who first gathered outside the CFMEU—Australia’s main trade union headquarters.

To my right, hundreds of protesters shouting anti-vaccination messages.

And I was standing in the centre—fuelled by adrenalin, waiting for movement from either side.

I was scared of the unknown, standing in the middle of passionate Melburnians who were chanting for their freedom from months of stay at home orders

Thousands of construction workers in metropolitan Melbourne and some parts of regional Victoria were stood down after the state government shutdown was announced last night.

Some held a banner reading “freedom”, while others chanted “f*** the jab”.

I feel their anger, I too want to live a life free of government mandated restrictions and emerge from lockdown in Melbourne—a grim reality we’ve lived for too long.

I understand that I’m extremely privileged to be classified as an essential worker. I attend my shifts at the newsroom and can rely on a steady income.

For many, we don’t know what it’s like to be at breaking point. There were protestors in the CBD today who have been out of work for months, struggling to put food on the table and just want their voices heard—because that’s all they have left.

In a shared sense of frustration and anger, some protestors turned violent, with some participants throwing objects, including bottles, at police.

It’s my job to inform people. Rolling coverage on the scene is authenticity

Yet I was shoved and screamed at by angry protestors for standing outside Queen Victoria Market with a microphone.

This is a similar experience for many who work in media.

For giving protestors a voice. For reporting fairly and accurately.

Some argue it’s media who “paint a bad picture” or “write a bad narrative” – but how can you make up the narrative of journalists getting attacked whilst on the job – who are there on scene to hear, report and share their opinions, feelings, and actions.

One identified and unmasked woman approached me so close to the point of touching noses.

“You are FAKE NEWS” she spat into my face. I felt like a targeted villain in a sea of vigilantes

Standing alongside other Australian media outlets, I experienced the first hand hate and disgust towards reporters.

My heart was pounding a million miles a second. I gripped my umbrella tight, in case a protestor launched on me.

I was glad I was wearing a long sleeve jacket, shielding my microphone when off camera to avoid being a target.

A fellow reporter told me to keep sunglasses on my head to use for eye protection from pepper spray and flares.

Many female reporters stayed close to cameramen, as another layer of protection.

We stayed close behind police, who were getting many more profanities sprayed at them. I’m sure they were just as anxious to the unfolding events playing out before our eyes as we were.

Running to keep up with protestors barging through the streets of the City of Melbourne, I witnessed Channel 7 reporter Paul Dowsley get physically attacked.

A protestor approached his camerman and shook him to the ground.

Shortly later, Dowsley had a can of drink thrown at the back of his head while he was presenting live on camera.

“I’ve been grabbed around the neck today, I’ve had urine tipped on me, and now I’ve had a can of energy drink thrown on me,” he said.

Dowsley’s bleeding head was shown on camera. This shakes me. It actually makes me sick to my stomach.

If you can protest against a jab, no matter what industry you’re in, you’re privileged

I’m a fully vaccinated young adult, but it was stressful being amongst unmasked anti-vaxxers parading their hatred towards the Covid-19 vaccination.

Several protesters identified themselves as construction workers and CFMEU members who opposed mandatory vaccinations.

I understand the hesitation towards receiving a Covid-19 vaccine, but it’s an answer to being at work safe and having a ‘normal’ life beyond these life shattering lockdowns.

Just metres down the road from protestors chanting against the effectiveness of COVID vaccines, frontline health workers are treating Covid-19 patients on ventilators in the intensive care unit at the state’s best hospitals.

My dad is frequently in and out of Royal Melbourne Hospital, and visitors are currently banned.

My dad and I receiving a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from Royal Exhibition Centre in August.

He has a rare airways disease as a result of cancer, and I’m vaccinated to protect him.

It’s one thing seeing images of people the government calls “[people of] appalling behaviour on site and on our streets” but being in the centre of them, I see the pain in their eyes.

They’ve simply had enough, and it’s not just tradespeople. People of all professions joined the protest to support construction workers today and these scenes will only continue to make headlines.

Their emotions were raw. Their message was clear.

And as I write my own headlines and tell their stories. I just wish to be safe and respected.

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“Woman. Life. Freedom,” Iran protests now on the world’s stadium

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Protests are engulfing Iran as a revolution against oppression spills onto the global stage, with the world unable to turn a blind eye

In Iran, protests are engulfing the country as thousands take to the streets in a revolution against oppression. 

Women are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, demanding some form of change to the strict rules that impact their ultimate freedom.

“Woman. Life. Freedom”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

From the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the nation’s residents have witnessed their fair share of turmoil.

Many insist that religion, like Islam, is being used as a reason to violate basic human rights in Iran.

Women in the country and around the world, are now lifting the veil on Iran’s corruption.

“What is happening in Iran fills me with both fear and hope… Hope that there might be some meaningful change.”

Donna miles, writer, & Columnist

Pure desperation

For nearly forty years, women in Iran have faced a life of control and oppression. Subject to the strict Islamic Republic rules, bound by religion.

There have been protests in Iran before, but nothing like what we see today.

Women and men are filling the streets of the entire country, in a show of solidarity against the regime, putting their lives on the line.

Footage of Iranian women burning the hijabs and cutting their hair has encapsulated social media.

“People are risking their lives… The regime is very brutal. It significant that this time round that there is international focus and attention on Iran.

One thing is clear…The revolution is taking place, at least in people’s hearts and minds.”

Donna miles, writer, & Columnist

Spilling onto the global stage

The uprising against the regime in Iran and its treatment of women is openly and loudly spilling onto the global stage.

Its voice is so powerful it is even flooding into the sporting arena. In Qatar, Iranian soccer players refused to sing their national anthem before their World Cup game.

Credit: Al Jazeera

While the move from the sporting stars was seen by a global audience, a cloud of fear now looms over the safety and wellbeing of the players returning to their homeland.

“The players have been extremely brave. This is a significant issue for them. Enough to take a political stand to refuse to sing the national anthem.”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

As history shows us, sport has often been used as an avenue to express a political stance.

At the 1968 Mexico Olympics, U.S. athlete Tommie Smith raised his black-gloved fist, in defiance of racial segregation.

This is perhaps one of the most iconic moments, illustrating the blurred line between politics and sport.

Credit: The New York Times

UN finally calls out Iran

During the Iran protests, footage of authorities using brutal force against protestors sparked global attention and outrage.

Now, the United Nation has called out Iran’s actions.

At its 35th special session, the UN Human Rights Council launched a new investigation. It will independently investigate alleged human rights violations during the protests.

“It will be independently investigated.”

DONNA MILES, WRITEr, & COLUMNIST

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Is Musk flushing Twitter down the drain?

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Elon Musk

Elon Musk has made plenty of changes to Twitter, but will it make or break the social media platform?

When Elon Musk walked into Twitter with a sink you knew things were about to get interesting. 

It’s been a chaotic few weeks of change for the social media platform. Musk quickly showed thousands of employees the door.

Noticeably, he also upended the iconic ‘blue tick’ hierarchy. 

The new boss is adamant in making the platform a place of free speech, often using public Twitter polls to dictate his next move.

It’s not very often you have a billionaire and CEO of a tech giant communicate with people everyday via a tweet thread.

“As far as communicating with people, that is something we haven’t seen. You don’t see Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates out there communicating like this or any other billionaire.”

greg nibler, tech expert

While people have been quick to judge Musk’s changes, he remains one of the most successful businessmen in history.

He lead the charge on flying to space with his SpaceX empire and was ahead of the game in the electric vehicle market.

Perhaps, the changes to the platform are a smart move for the company to succeed, despite the abruptness of them.

Proof is in the pudding because the numbers show Twitter has added 1.6 million daily users this week alone, which is an all-time high.

“It is a reality show on Twitter and people want to see it…
Is that going to turn into profitability, I don’t know.”

Greg nibler, tech expert

Plus World Cup traffic hit almost 20,000 tweets per second today, breaking another record. 

It’s likely Twitter may be more successful in private hands. Financially though, the company has declined, causing widespread concern about its economic stability.

Musk wants to vastly increase the revenue the company makes through subscriptions, but a question mark looms over its ability to triumph.

“The way in which Twitter has lost so much money in value so quickly must also be a concern to people who have lent money to Musk… Wondering has it been a good investment for them.”

KEITH SUTER, international affairs commentator

Suspended accounts debate

Previously, Twitter had banned the accounts of many users, particularly those prone to far-right rhetorics.

Former President Donald Trump’s account had been suspended for nearly a year, alongside conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and controversial Andrew Tate.

Musk asked his followers in a poll if Twitter should “offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts? As Musk says, they haven’t broken the law?”

It all follows a turbulent economic time for the social media giant as it finds its place in the ever changing cyber sphere. 

Whether or not Twitter goes down the drain, remains to be seen. 

But love him or hate him, Musk has created an entertaining platform, with millions flocking to get a taste of what is the Twitter saga.

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Does Donald Trump need Twitter to win in 2024?

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Donald Trump is making a political comeback in 2024, but can he gain relevance without Twitter?

Donald Trump is making his political comeback, and Twitter boss Elon Musk has welcomed the former President back to the platform with open arms.

It was only a matter of weeks after taking over that Musk decided to lift Trump’s nearly year-long suspension.

Many expected Trump to jump at the offer and begin flooding our Twitter feeds again.

However, the former President may not want to return to Twitter, but why?

U.S. Commentator Susan Tehrani believes Trump’s decision to withhold his return to Twitter comes back to money.

“It might have to do with millions of dollars… [If he returns to Twitter] He may stand to lose a lot of money…

If Trump’s company goes public and only for him to go back on Twitter, start Tweeting and devalue Truth Social… He’s going to give his followers a reason to abandon Truth Social.”

Susan Tehrani, u.s. commentator

Twitter was Trump’s favourite app when he was President. He used the platform to drum up support and create buzz. Love him or hate him, Trump undeniably had people right around the world speaking about his latest thought.

In today’s society, people consume news via social media, in particular via Twitter.

With Trump absent from Twitter, it raises question about how he will maintain relevance in social media sphere in the lead up to his 2024 return.

Trump heads his own social media platform ‘Truth Social’, but it has just four million users, opposed to Twitter’s more than 200 million.

“With El on Musk at the helm it encourages a health debate…Then it going to be a place where Donald Trump can once again bypass even the mainstream media…And communicate directly with a wide audience.

Donald Trump would stand winning if he came back on Twitter.”

Susan Tehrani, u.s. commentator

Does Twitter need Trump, more than Trump needs Twitter?

With Musk at the reigns of Twitter, the social media giant is shifting its direction. Musk has made it clear he doesn’t believe in the previous ‘blue tick’ hierarchy, quickly scrapping the process.

He has been vocal about his desire for free speech on the platform. However, many are concerned that the changes may have a negative impact.

Although, change isn’t always a bad thing and perhaps Twitter needed a makeover, to keep up with today’s evolving society and array of opinions.

While Twitter is still popular, Musk’s move to reinstate Donald Trump’s account might have been strategic.

Trump is a bold politician, and regardless of his Twitter status, many are wondering what his next move will be.

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