5 December 2014
Danny Ben-Moshe, Manny Waks and Dan Goldberg
Dan Goldberg and Danny Ben-Moshe have won a Walkley for their documentary on child sexual abuse at Melbourne’s Yeshivah, Mark Solomons for an ABC story in Jihadists…and The Australian’s John Lyons and Fairfax Media’s Ruth Pollard have each won a Walkley for reports on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Dan Goldberg told J-Wire: “It’s a little bittersweet to win this prestigious award; we wish we never had to tell this story. Credit to the ABC, who backed us from the jump, and to Manny and Zephaniah Waks, who had the courage to blow the whistle despite the consequences.”
The director of the documentary Danny Ben-Moshe told J-Wire: “It a privilege to win the Walkley Award for best documentary, but an even greater privilege is to be entrusted to tell intimate and sensitive stories. Manny Waks went public with his story of sex abuse to raise the profile of this issue and help bring justice for the victims. I hope the recognition that the Walkley brings will help raise further awareness about this important and often hidden subject. In this age of social media and reality television it is important to remind ourselves that meaningful observational documentaries still have an important place in the media landscape, and broadcasters like the ABC and programs such as Compass are pivotal in enabling this.”
Goldberg and Ben-Moshe won the Walkley for best documentary.
Walkley on the program: Code of Silence is the story of a fight for an investigation into allegations of child sex abuse at an Orthodox Jewish boys’ school in Melbourne. As the case against the abusers continues to make news, the documentary is timely and groundbreaking. Danny Ben-Moshe and Dan Goldberg followed the story for a year from July 2013, the only TV crew to gain access to courtrooms. Manny Waks, the former pupil of the boys’ school who blew the whistle on the rabbis he claimed covered up abuse, left his religion as a result of his abuse, and his orthodox father was shut out by his community. Waks’ perpetrator was jailed, but Waks hopes a royal commission may yet bring to account the rabbis he alleged covered up the abuse.
Judges’ comments: “Code of Silence is a documentary exposure of an Orthodox Jewish family’s distressing struggle to tell the truth about child sexual abuse within a well-known Melbourne boys’ school. The work is exceptional because of the access negotiated with key players as the drama unfolded. It contributes to public understanding of the magnitude of the failure across institutions, both religious and secular, to protect children because of a more dominant reputational defensiveness. Through actuality and interview, the documentary effectively breaks the “code of silence” which had prevailed to cover up abuse in this close-knit community.”
Originally published at J-Wire.