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An update: Is Native Title worth the paper it’s written on?

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by: Bakchos
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Following is the text of an press release from the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation regarding the relocation of the video of the March 16 meeting.

Roebourne, WA
13 APRIL 2011

Vimeo forced to delete “FMG’s Great Native Title Swindle” video after legal threats from FMG and CEO Andrew Forrest

A video exposing the interference of Fortescue Metals Group and its CEO Andrew Forrest at an illegitimate, FMG-sponsored native title meeting in Roebourne on 16 March, has been deleted from the video hosting site Vimeo after Vimeo got a lawyer’s letter from FMG threatening legal action.

The meeting shown in the video was staged to try and strong-arm the Yindjibarndi community into removing all its objections to FMG’s Solomon Hub development in the Hamersley Ranges, and into expelling the majority (four out of seven) Claim Applicants who rejected FMG’s deal as a rip-off.

The video, “FMG’s Great Native Title Swindle”, received 12,000 plays in just nine days on the Vimeo site before being shut down, and has spurred intense online response across global social media sites, Face Book, GetUp, twitter and so on.

“They say a picture tells a thousand words,” said Michael Woodley, CEO of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, “but this video, it puts you right in the room with us, lets you get an idea of how it feels to be bullied and abused by Twiggy Forrest and FMG .”

Michael Cheah, Legal Counsel representing Vimeo, informed the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC), “Vimeo removed this video after receiving correspondence from lawyers for Fortescue Metals Group and its CEO alleging that the video contained defamatory and misleading statements about them. […] Please note that we take no position on whether any of the statements in the video are true or not. Rather, we have merely determined that the video could be subject of a defamation claim and, under Australian law, could subject Vimeo to liability.”

It appears that FMG did not want to be identified for its role in gagging the video because this correspondence from Vimeo directly contradicts a statement made to Crikey by Fortescue spokesman, Cameron Morse, who said FMG has had no contact with Vimeo about the video.

FMG public relations people have also been busy trying to delete critical public comments on FMG’s Wikipedia site and the Generation One FaceBook page, which was flooded with dozens of complaints about FMG’s and Andrew Forrest’s conduct in the meeting.

“If he wants to fight us online, he is going to get a shock. Money can’t buy the sort of help we are getting from people around the world,” said Woodley, “and all these people want to take the stick to Twiggy and Fortescue Metals.”

The video has been re-hosted on Youtube until such a time as YAC can find a secure streaming platform immune from outside interference. The video is now hosted in two parts on: http://yindjibarndi.org.au/yindjibarndi/

Michael Woodley, CEO Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation
0419 097 130

For background & research materials please visit: www.yindjibarndi.org.au
NB: Stills and video available on request.

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