SBS’ Luke Waters picks up Logie nomination for exclusive with Syrian president

SBS World News Reporter Luke Waters has picked up a Logie Awards nomination for ‘Most Outstanding New Coverage’.

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He secured the nomination for an Australian first – ‘Inside Syria’, an exclusive interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who claims Western nations, including Australia, were doing deals with his country in secret.

The interview was filmed in Damascus after two years of negotiations. It came with restrictions: SBS provided topic areas for questions and was asked to play the interview in full.

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In the interview, President Assad said Western countries had double standards – openly criticising his government, in public, but contining to deal with him in private.

“They attack us politically and then they send officials to deal with us under the table, especially the security, including your [the Australian] government,” he said.

“They don’t want to upset the United States. Actually most of the western officials they only repeat what the United States want them to say. This is the reality.”

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Waters also interviewed former Australian Ambassador to Syria, Bob Bowker, for the program that screened on July 1 last year.

He cast doubt on President Assad’s claims of double standards.

“The reality is that Assad is seen in the west as an unfit leader to be dealt with”, Mr Bowker said.

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“In the rest of the Arab world as well, he has lost the credibility that he enjoyed early in his period as president, through a series of miscalculations on his part, rather than through the behaviour of those other Gulf states to which he was constantly referring in that interview.”

The 59th annual Logies ceremony is on April 23 at Melbourne’s Crown’s Palladium Room.

Other nominations include Love Child and Wrong Girl actress Jessica Marais, who will vie for television’s top prize, the Gold Logie, against last year’s winner Waleed Aly, and four other men.

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