July 31, 2018, BANGALOW, NSW, AUSTRALIA. Press Dispensary.
It seems that the award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Joan Shenton is being refused permission to enter Australia this week, following the news that she was to front a screenings tour of her award-winning film Sacrificial Virgins in early August.
Sacrificial Virgins probes the controversies surrounding Gardasil HPV vaccination programs – associated with many cases of severe neurological damage and also deaths in girls and young women – and presents new scientific evidence that questions these programs’ ability even to deliver the cervical cancer prevention that is the chief rationale for their existence. A very high proportion of 12-13 year old girls and boys in Australia are routinely administered Gardasil free of charge in school as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
Joan Shenton was to have appeared in person for a panel discussion at each of the seven screenings, joined by international scientists and people directly affected by neurological damage following HPV vaccination. However, after a statement in several newspapers (2) that “Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would not rule out denying entry to British filmmaker Joan Shenton when she flies in for the screenings” Ms Shenton was told by a Department of Home Affairs representative on Friday that her visa application had been taken out of the automated procedure and was being “manually assessed”. At the time of writing, visa confirmation has not been provided and the deadline has passed for Ms Shenton’s flight from the UK.
The tour is arranged by the Australian Vaccination-risks Network (AVN), whose president Tasha David said today: “It is an affront to Australian families if our government is refusing Joan Shenton a visa just because her film challenges government policy with some ‘inconvenient’ scientific facts. I did not think we lived in that sort of country.
“It also achieves nothing other than a childish stamp of the foot, as the screenings will be going ahead and Joan will still be appearing live – but on screen instead of in the room.”
Joan Shenton said: “I’m very disappointed not to be able to meet in person the parents across Eastern Australia who want to know more about the risks and supposed benefits of HPV vaccinations, as well as the families who’ll be there to share stories of their loved one’s death or permanent disability. But I look forward to the screenings of Sacrificial Virgins and to having the same conversations over the air.”
The screenings tour will visit locations in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria from 2 August. Tickets at http://bit.ly/SV-OzTickets
Notes for editors
(1) Data at Australia’s National HPV Vaccination Program register shows that by 2016 around 79% of girls and 73% of boys aged 15 and under had been vaccinated as part of the NIP, under which Gardasil is available free of charge to girls and boys over the age of 10:
(2) Sydney Morning Herald, 25 July 2018, and The Age:
More information about the screenings tour dates, panel members and the film Sacrificial Virgins may be found at http://bit.ly/SV-OzTour
Joan Shenton is a British journalist, writer and film-maker with extensive experience of producing and presenting peak time television and radio programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, Central TV, and Thames TV. Her production company, Meditel Productions, was the first independent ever to win a Royal Television Society Award for an episode of Channel 4’s Dispatches. It has produced eight network documentaries for UK Channel 4, Sky News and M-Net, South Africa on the AIDS debate. AIDS – The Unheard Voices won the Royal Television Society Award for Current Affairs.
Sacrificial Virgins is a 30 minute documentary which has won awards at the Watchdog Film Festival, Brisbane, Australia, and the Queens World Film Festival in Queens, New York.
For further information please contact
Meryl Dorey, AVN founder
Tel: 0414 872 032
Tasha David, AVN president
Tel: 0431 339 449