Australia attempts scaring off boat people with YouTube


Video of a mock drowning is hoped to scare asylum seekers from boarding boats bound for Australian shores. The country's immigration officials will soon release video of actual refugees arriving on shabby boats and being deported to Malaysia, which has agreed to take asylum seekers for $95 per head.

Australia is using YouTube to help scare any potential seafaring asylum seekers with hopes of arriving on its shores.

The country hopes unsettling footage will frighten would-be refugees thinking of boarding a leaky vessel and sailing towards Australian turf. The YouTube campaign follows a somewhat controversial plan to pay Malaysia $95,000 per head to take refugees seeking asylum in Australia.

The marquee video? A mock drowning through a dying man's eyes. It's complete with gurgling, choking and gasping sounds.

The message is, essentially, do you want to risk that only to end up getting bounced to Malaysia?

But that's just the beginning. According to Reuters, Australia will soon begin filming actual refugees arriving in shabby condition and then deported by plane to Malaysia.

"It will be a very potent message that demonstrates the futility of engaging with the people smugglers...risking your life at sea, only to be put on a plane to be flown back to Malaysia," an immigration department spokeswoman told Reuters.

It's a powerful and concise message.

But will it reach the intended target? Is there much YouTube access among people desperate enough to pay a coyote for a risky trip across choppy seas? 

Sri Lankan asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia en route to Australia's Christmas Island in 2009.