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The Forum > Article Comments > Reality TV - SBS style > Comments

Reality TV - SBS style : Comments

By Branko Miletic, published 8/5/2007

SBS, the multicultural broadcaster, has been locked in a dark game of undermining some of the very people it was created to represent.

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Of course SBS has never been far from controversy. Controversy and discontent, whingeing and whining, are the obvious outcomes when politicians seeking votes try to toady to ethnic minorities instead of giving them the chance to become Australian.

With the plethora of different ethnic groups here, it would be impossible to satisfy all of them. Some group is always going to be under-served or left out altogether.

SBS, like the bone-headed and failed policy of multiculturalism, simply should not exist. If immigrants are so interested in countries they left and there is no real evidence that most of them are they should consider returning to those wonderful and interesting countries.

Pandering to minorities via SBS and multiculturalism at the expense of majority Australians was only ever in the best interests of the landed gentry like Malcolm Fraser who,in his remoteness and arrogance was never personally affected by his sell-off of Australian culture and national identity
Posted by Leigh, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 10:14:38 AM
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Firstly, a declaration. I am an immigrant from the UK, who arrived in Australia from Northern England at the age of 3. I consider myself Australian-British. I worked at SBS for three years until July 2003 in the projects and communications division of SBS Radio. I am now in the process of completing my PhD on the public policy influence and development of SBS. I have spent the last 2.5 years researching the creation and development of SBS, and the policies which inform it.

This article contains no evidence to support its claims. The author clearly has a vested interest in a certain ethno-political position. To support his claims, he cites the opinions of others with similar vested interests. Few facts are presented, and those that are are incorrect or wilfully obfuscated. For example, the Vietnamese news program he refers to was indeed removed from the schedule following community protest. This occurred before Shaun Brown's tenure as MD, during the time that former MD Nigel Milan was in charge. Milan was apologetic to the community, and responded quickly to remove the offending program from the SBS schedule. This fact is conveniently blurred within this article to support the author's position, when the facts clearly undermine his argument.

I am familiar with Sasha Uzanov's complaints about SBS, which again are not informed by any research or demonstrated fact, and are also made from the point of view of a vested, and disgruntled, interest.

The kind of inter-ethnic dispute this author apparently disdains are in fact the basis of his own article. Where is your evidence, Mr Miletic? Other than the complaints of similarly disgruntled people from similar ethnic backgrounds, where are your facts?

This sort of argument invariably leads to the kind of xenophobic and ignorant response provided so helpfully here by Leigh in the first comment. There is no place in Australia for these inter-ethnic and, yes, racist arguments that are imported from the "old countries".

Emma Dawson.
Posted by Emma Dawson, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 10:49:57 AM
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Further, while those such as this author and Mr Uzanov look at SBS through biased eyes - seeing evidence of their old inter-ethnic disagreements too easily - those at SBS strive to operate free of such prejudices. SBS is not perfect, but the claims made in this article are informed by, perhaps unwitting, prejudice.

As to the idea that SBS is concerned with the views of "overseas governments", this is patent nonsense. SBS's role is to provide news and entertainment that is Australian based in content, but presented in languages other than English, as well as to provide a multicultural view of the world in the English language.

Those that assess SBS's impartiality must be uninterested in the issues they examine. Therefore, a complaint from someone of Jewish background who identifies as a Zionist about bias towards the Palestinian point of view , for example, should not be cited as evidence of bias at SBS, but recognised as a prejudiced perspective in itself.

The claims in this article are unsupported by any impartial research, and are unhelpful to the debate about the future of SBS. SBS has been highly successful, as has the Australian experience of multiculturalism. The shift in understanding of what it is to be Australian that has been fostered by multiculturalism, and in large part through the work of SBS, means that Australia has moved on from its colonial past and embraced a new, pluralist but uniquely Australian identity, rather than continuing as an outpost of the old British empire. It is this that people such as Leigh cannot abide, and that people such as I celebrate about modern Australia. This achievement has been under sustained attack since 1996. It must be defended. Articles such as this play right into the hands of racists.

SBS does need to be reviewed. Its role in modern Australia needs to be reconsidered. But this must be done impartially and without the interference of anyone who would seek to push one particular ethnic world view, whether that be Greek, Macedonian, Jewish, Arabic, Vietnamese, Chinese or British.

Emma Dawson.
Posted by Emma Dawson, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 10:59:17 AM
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When I read the article I was horrified to think that my beloved SBS could be run by a mysterious cabal of foreign propaganda spinners. SBS will never make everyone happy - where ever there is ethnic divisions, one (or both) side(s) will feel like they are getting a bad rap. SBS is the only source of international news on Australian television that ever goes beyond coarse stereotypes to investigate the background of events unfolding overseas.

The accusations made in the article are very serious, and if there is evidence to substantiate them I will be extremely disappointed and angry. I hope that Emma is right in saying they are completely unfounded. Its bad enough that the ABC Board has been stacked with political appointees and right-wing cultural warriors, but to think that there may be nefarious influences at work in the SBS to the extent suggested in the article is really disheartening.
Posted by 1340, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 1:08:52 PM
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Emma

you would have to be a one-eyed lefty doing their PhD on public policy influence to not be able to see the blatant anti-Israel, anti-US bias in the SBS news coverage.

People who point this plain-as-day fact out are not necessarily blinded by their ethnic background, nor need they be racist, or xenophobic, or deserving of cheap name calling.

And before you ask, no I am not Jewish or Greek etc.

Go home, watch the news on SBS and pretend you are not yourself today and voted for Howard, a lot of people did.
Posted by DJ1, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 3:34:58 PM
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The ultimate umpire in these matters is the Australian Broadcasting Authority, toothless tiger though it is. I thought I'd have a look at the ABA's website to see what complaints had been lodged about SBS World News and what findings were made. The only one I could find concerned an allegation of anti-Israeli bias http://www.aba.gov.au/newspubs/radio_TV/investigations/broadcast_operations/documents/television/2003/1247.pdf And what did the ABA find? "The ABA accepts the explanation provided by the broadcaster that SBS broadcast a range of views which were balanced over time and across programs." (Mind you they did find SBS was tardy in answering the original complaint)

Seems to me that allegations of systematic bias are easy to make, especially if you hold strong views. If bias on SBS is a "plain-as-day fact" DJ1, perhaps you might put a complaint in?
Posted by Johnj, Tuesday, 8 May 2007 6:49:03 PM
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