For years Nimbin radio producer Phil Bromley watched in growing frustration as his town was subjected to a media-driven police crackdown on recreational drug use.
First came the constant police patrols, then the tough sentences for juvenile drug dealers, and then the near-constant presence of Roadside Drug Testing (RDT) units on the main roads into and out of town.
‘They’re prosecuting people with minute traces of THC in their systems – people are losing their jobs over it,’ Bromley says of the RDT operations in and around the town.
Finally, Bromley and his mates from Nimbin’s community radio station 2NimFM decided it was time to speak up.
The result was an eight-part radio documentary series entitled ‘Exposing the War on Drugs’.
Funded by a grant from the Community Broadcasting Foundation, the series explores some of the key drug-related issues facing the Northern Rivers and the country more broadly, including drug prohibition, medicinal cannabis and addiction.
‘The key idea was ‘how do we change people’s mindsets?’,’ Bromley says.
‘We get so badly portrayed by the mainstream media that the sad reality is the town has a reputation as a bunch of lazy stoners.’
‘We just thought maybe we can do something ourselves.’
Not only did Bromley and his four colleagues succeed in getting the the series on the air, they have now received three nominations for the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s annual awards to be held on the Gold Coast on November 10.
The president of NimFM, Bob Tissot, said he was proud of the team and ‘happy to put them up in a nearly-swish hotel for the evening’.
‘It just goes to show that you don’t have to be working professional to produce a professional result. It’s a great example of the diversity and quality of community broadcasting.’
The series is about to receive its third airing on NimFM and is available in a four-CD set thanks to funding support from the Nimbin Hemp Embassy.
For more info or to stream the series go here.