Under Investigation with Liz Hayes on Channel 9 – Under Investigation with Liz Hayes will reveal the shocking true story of the Balibo Five and the dreadful cover-up, much of which has remained untold for nearly 50 years, tomorrow night at 8.40pm on Channel 9 and 9Now.
In October 1975, five Australian newsmen from Channel 7 and Channel 9 were sent to East Timor, to report on the conflict there and investigate evidence that Indonesia had plans to invade the tiny nation. But the journalists did not live to tell their story and the circumstances of their deaths have been mired in secrecy, denial and cover-up, until now.
In this special edition of Under Investigation, Liz Hayes is joined by a distinguished team of experts, uncovering and analysing top-secret documents, exposing what the Australian government knew and didn’t do when the Balibo Five were murdered by Indonesian special forces. Those responsible have never faced justice.
Hayes’ gripping exposé reveals the dramatic and deadly countdown playing out behind the scenes between top Indonesian and Australian officials, as the Balibo Five filed their news reports from East Timor.
Secret cables and communiques chillingly tell of what was known as the journalists’ lives were edging closer to danger, and what experts on UI’s special investigation describe as “the greatest cover-up in Australian political history” that followed.
“Even now,” says host Liz Hayes, “there are still secrets about what happened to the Balibo Five being kept from the Australian people.”
“The Secrets of Balibo” features footage of the journalists’ final reports, including from Channel 7 reporter Greg Shackleton who was moved to tears by the plight of the East Timorese, just days before they were executed.
Joining Hayes at the War Table are Professor Clinton Fernandes, a former Army intelligence analyst and historian; Amanda Vanstone AO, a former Ambassador and Federal Minister with special insight into how governments operate behind closed doors; Lurdes Pires, a fierce activist for East Timor who met the journalists before she fled the violence, escaping to Australia; and John Milkins, the son of Gary Cunningham, one of the Balibo Five, and Chair of the memorial Balibo House Trust.
“I was left at times in disbelief by what I heard,” says Hayes. “I can only imagine how devastated the families of the Balibo Five must have been, particularly when it became clear the newsmen could have been saved.”
“The Secrets of Balibo”: a special edition of Under Investigation with Liz Hayes, tomorrow at 8.40pm on Channel 9 & 9Now
Media Release – Nine
Under Investigation with Liz Hayes on Channel 9
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