Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our Question to Discovery Channel

From today's dive - bravo Lill!

WhySharksMatter has landed quite a coup.

He has managed to convince Mr. Paul Gasek, an Executive of Discovery Channel, to answer 10 questions relating to Discovery's Shark Week. Here is the background to that serendipitous opportunity.

So there - here's our question.
David, my heartfelt thanks for the chance of hearing it directly from the horse's mouth!

Dear Mr. Gasek

As you may know, one of your forthcoming programs, “Deadly Waters” has caused quite a controversy here in Fiji.

We are one of Fiji's pre-eminent Shark diving operators and were contacted by Joshua Puga of Gurney Productions who wanted to come and film our Bull Sharks for the aforementioned show.
After having seen the program's "Experiment List", we declined their request, this based on the following aspects of the planned show.
  • The depiction of Sharks as man-killing monsters
  • The untrue allegation that Fiji is a hot spot for Shark Attacks
  • Above all, the damage such an allegation would cause to the fragile tourism industry of a small island country
Gurney then tried coming back via the "back door", by having a local live-aboard vessel contact us asking whether we would host them and a video team shooting for Discovery's Shark Week.
Having asked for further clarifications, we were told that the show "hadn't yet been named" - but we soon noticed that the producer and the host, Les Stroud, were the same as in January . Once again, we declined to cooperate and informed the vessel about the production team's true intentions.

The shoot was finally hosted by our local competitors who however claim that they had no idea about its true nature as they were told by Gurney that it was a scientific program for Animal Planet.

If true, this would mean that after having unsuccessfully tried to mislead us, Gurney Productions only succeeded in filming the show's Fiji segment by deceiving the Shark diving operator who would have otherwise opposed the production like we did.

I assume Discovery Channel care about their reputation for being factually and scientifically accurate and thus credible. I also assume they they pride themselves in following impeccable ethical standards.

With that in mind - and assuming that your own independent verification would lead you to conclude
  • That the allegation that Fiji is a "high-fatality hot spot" is a complete fabrication and that there are no data whatsoever supporting it
  • That such an allegation would cause substantial damage to Fiji's tourism industry
  • That Gurney Productions used deceit in order to film the Fiji segment of "Deadly Waters"
Would you then be willing to completely scrap "Deadly Waters", or at least remove the segment that was filmed in Fiji?

We look forward to your reply and would be happy to provide you with copies of all correspondence and corroborating evidence if so wished. You can reach the dive shop's manager, Andrew Cumming at Beqa Adventure Divers.

Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

2 comments:

Shark Diver said...

This is a well laid out time line of events and one hopefully they listen to.

Kudos to you folks for breaking the story and sticking by your guns with GP.

DaShark said...

Thank you!

Lemme tell you that we are impressed and really appreciate your unwavering support throughout this pathetic mess guys!

Honestly, as always, I'm not very hopeful that Discovery will really listen. It's difficult for a big corporation to bow to public protest.

But hey, it's an attempt to rectify what is blatantly wrong - and at least, we will have tried all conceivable avenues.