Yaara currently in: Sydney
e-mail: info@yaara.tv
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LIBYA: Long Way From Home
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JORD: Greening the Desert
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LEB: Rocking the Mid East
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INDO: Mangrove Rebirth
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LEB: Who Killed Hariri?
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USA: Cricket Therapy
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AUS: Pricing Pollution
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USA: LA Laid Bare
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MEX: Poetic Justice
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Yaara Bou Melhem - Reporter / Producer / Filmmaker

kazakhstan’s hard sell (al jazeera)

Fancy visiting a lake that is famous for now being a dry ship cemetery? Or how about visiting the world’s largest tent?

Welcome to Kazakhstan, the former closed Soviet state that promises tourists a bewildering array of attractions unlikely to be found elsewhere.

Poised strategically between Europe and Asia, Kazakhstan has long been largely ignored by the West or parodied in Hollywood.

Now it is putting out the welcome mat for foreign tourists and seeking to reinvent itself as a player on the international diplomatic stage.

But with a poor human rights record, restrictions on the press, and an authoritarian government, 101 East asks if Kazakhstan is too hard a sell.

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State Library Media Talks

I was a panelist on the Walkley 30 Days of Press Freedom State Library Media Talk
Media On The Frontline: What it’s like to be a foreign correspondent?
Here’s a podcast from the night and more info below.
If journalism is the first draft of history, the people reporting the news are often on the frontline of conflict, disaster and tragedy. Journalists, photographers, artists, camera operators and fixers are our eyes and ears in dangerous parts of the world. As part the #30DaysPF campaign, our panel explores the risks – physical, psychological, political – for foreign correspondents and the local fixers who work with them. As international bureaux are increasingly depleted and more foreign correspondence falls to freelancers, what measures are in place to protect and support them, particularly as journalists become high profile targets in terror campaigns? Hear from industry greats as they discuss the whole process from landing in a war zone, publishing their stories and then returning home.
With Brian Thomson, SBS, Peter Stefanovic, Nine Network, Yaara Bou Melhem, independent broadcast journalist, Cait McMahon, DART Center for Journalism and Trauma, and moderated by Eric Campbell, ABC.
AUDIO KINDLY PROVIDED BY: The Seventh Field Trip, Tesslesstess @tesslesstess

Speaking Events

I’ll be a panelist on the Sydney Asialink business series of talks which promotes greater engagement between Australian and Asian markets. The topic is: Next Generation Series: Conversations with Australia’s Next Generation of Asia Capable Leaders

I’m also joining a World Press Freedom discussion hosted by the United Nations Association of Australia via videolink.

 

Meet Lebanon’s cannabis farmers joining the fight against IS (SBS)

EXCLUSIVE: They are unlikely first responders to Islamic militants, but heavily armed cannabis farmers who once fought against the Lebanese army are now turning their weapons elsewhere.

Watch the story on SBS World News.

Lagos Rising (SBS)

Known as the ‘London of Africa’, Lagos in Nigeria is the world’s fastest growing megacity, riding on the back of a lucrative oil industry and rapidly expanding economy.

A huge new high-rise city is being built on land reclaimed from the sea and it’s set to become one of the world’s most populous cities in the next decade.

But millions of residents live in the city’s slums with little access to proper sanitation and infrastructure, and they wonder if they’ll see any benefit from the boom.

Yaara Bou Melhem looks at both sides of life in Lagos and asks what’s being done to ensure that no one is left behind in the race for progress.

See more on the SBS Dateline website.

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Fun Fearless Female Awards

Honoured to be nominated alongside some inspirational Australian females for Cosmopolitan Australia’s Fun Fearless Female Awards.

I’m in the role model category. Get voting now!

Gift of Sight (Al Jazeera)

–A Nepalese doctor takes an Indonesian woman under his tutelage and brings the gift of sight to the world’s destitute.–

Nepal’s Himalayan mountain range is one of the most picturesque places in the world. But its stunning beauty is fading from view for many of the villagers who call the region home. Exposure to ultraviolet rays at such high altitudes is causing many to lose their sight.

Ophthalmologist Dr Sanduk Ruit has made it his life mission to bring sight to everyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay. Known in Nepal as the “God of Sight”, Ruit has helped more than 100,000 people blinded by cataracts see again. His surgeries often take him into the remote mountains, where patients are too poor and weak to travel to his clinic in the capital, Kathmandu.

In such isolated landscapes, the doctor and his team set up eye camps, performing free, astonishingly fast surgeries using a stitch-free simple surgical technique called ‘Ruitectomy’, which he pioneered. The procedure is now replicated across the developing world.

His assembly line-like surgeries are astonishingly fast. During his time in the Bamti district, he aims to complete 50 surgeries each day while doctors in the West only do 10 to 15 on a busy day.

Now, a young female doctor from a remote Indonesian island is travelling to the Himalayas for a month-long boot-camp with Dr Ruit, hoping to acquire the skills to bring back the gift of sight to her people.

From Nepal to Indonesia, 101 East visits communities paralysed by preventable blindness and meets the doctors whose mission is to restore sight, and more importantly hope.

See more on the 101 East website or watch on vimeo

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Gift of Sight Trailer

Coming up on the 101 East program of Al Jazeera English, one Nepalese doctors mission to restore sight to the world’s destitute.

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Lebanon’s Hip Hop Revolution (SBS)

Growing up in Tripoli isn’t easy. In one of Lebanon’s most volatile fault lines, the conflict passes from generation to generation.

This Tuesday, Dateline’s Yaara Bou Melhem tells a story on an unlikely friendship between two boys from warring neighbourhoods in Lebanon’s troubled north.

The boys, one Sunni and one Shia, are both rappers, and have found hip hop to be a way to overcome the sectarian divide.

See more on the SBS Dateline website.

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The Greste Verdict (SBS)

Detained Australian journalist Peter Greste has been sentenced to seven years in jail in Egypt.

Greste and two other Al Jazeera journalists were detained for falsely portraying Egypt as being in a state of “civil war” since president Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow by the army last July.

Egyptian prosecutors have demanded the maximum penalty of 15 to 25 years in jail for all defendants.

Greste’s family say they will remain strong and hopeful “for Peter’s sake’ in the lead up to the decision.

SBS Correspondent Yaara Bou Melhem, was in Cairo with Peter’s brother, Andrew as the verdict was handed down.

You can send messages of support to Peter Greste via this email address:freepetergreste@gmail.com

See more on the Dateline website.

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© 2011 Yaara Bou Melhem