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The Forum > Article Comments > Dumbing down SBS > Comments

Dumbing down SBS : Comments

By Peter West, published 5/9/2007

What is happening at SBS TV? Where is the diversity that SBS is supposed to provide? And why do we have advertising?

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What a ridiculous and stupid opening to a supposedly intelligent article.
I'm referring to this nonsense: "Gerald Stone (deputy Chairman of the SBS Board) and Shaun Brown (SBS managing director) have denied that SBS is being dumbed down and vigorously defended the station in a National Press Club discussion.
Now thatís interesting. How come these two are so outspoken in defending SBS? One seems to be an Anglo Australian. The other is an American resident in Australia. Where is the diversity that SBS is supposed to provide?"
What is this all about? A spot the wog contest? A survey on such a small base coming to the conclusion that these two people cannot represent diversity is just so ludicrous it's laughable.
And in fact there is diversity within these two people: anglo/australian/american.
This argument and most of the rest of the article is simply specious
Piotr Olszewski (Polish/German Australian and SBS viewer.)
Posted by piotr, Wednesday, 5 September 2007 9:42:12 AM
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SBS is no longer relevant. The concept of multiculturalism which underpinned its formation is divisive and dying. As SBS becomes more and more like 'just another TV station' with commercials, personality feuds etc, the question must be asked: does it deserve taxpayer funding?
I believe the answer is no. The options are: (1) put it on the market, or (2) abolish it. What would change if there were no SBS? Very little.
Posted by analyst, Wednesday, 5 September 2007 9:57:47 AM
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Get out, don,t we have enough utter and total rubbish on TV now on what passes for TV on 9 10 7,please just leave 2 and SBS alone.
Hopefully if we change Govt then Labour will clean out all the Howard placements,Stone, the NZ twats, one C Pearson,and get some one in there to get SBS back on track.
Posted by j5o6hn, Wednesday, 5 September 2007 10:15:34 AM
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Excellent article. I agree, we should all be very concerned at the dumbing down of SBS and doubly so as the ABC is on the same slippery slope even though it might not be quite as far down at this stage.

Most of the advertising on SBS used to be reasonably subtle (well, as subtle as advertising can ever be) and the fact that it only ever appeared between programs meant it could be avoided. Now, as pointed out by Peter, most of it is so crass and so intrusive that the whole SBS experience has been completely ruined. Fortunately, programs like Cutting Edge, Dateline and Insight are still hanging in there, but on present trends their future has to be uncertain.

Multiculturalism is not dead. And it does not divide, as claimed by a poster here. It is still a powerfully unifying force in a society such as ours where so many of us have come from somewhere else. In fact, apart from the indigenous population, we are all boat people. We have all come, or at least our ancestors did, from across the water somewhere. We might not have agreed with all the programming choices, but SBS played a unique role in celebrating and informing our diversity. It is very sad to see this great pioneer of global education and entertainment being diminished to just another commercial channel.

I agree with every word you said Peter but I feel you should have sheeted home the blame more strongly and more precisely to where it belongs, that is to the Howard Government. It has deliberately starved our public broadcasters of funds and forced them into corporate subservience. Their independent and critical voice, crucial to any well functioning democracy, has been intentionally silenced as Howard has sought to recast our once proudly diverse and tolerant society into his own narrow and ideologically conservative mould. If he's given another term, the ABC will soon end up in the same place SBS is now. That's his long term plan and one of the few he is yet to realise.
Posted by Bronwyn, Wednesday, 5 September 2007 2:02:46 PM
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Hey j5o6hn: I agree that we have more than enough drivel on channels 7,9 & 10.

I think that the dumbing down of media is part of a general malaise that is affecting Australian society.

Whether intentional or not, this has the effect of creating a non-critical (non-thinking) populace. (in effect keep 'em dumb, stupid and ignorant). This will provide a compliant voting (or non voting!) citizenry who will maintain the status quo.

NOTE: "Kath & Kim" is a documentary, not a comedy program.
Posted by Iluvatar, Wednesday, 5 September 2007 2:05:57 PM
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I depend on the availability of good international news to do my job as efficiently as possible.
I am not interested in advertisements, nor the current affairs style of the new format SBS news service.
The ABC is likely to give you sports first and news afterwards. At times I am reduced to watching the foreign language news services in an effort to get some understanding of what is going on in the world, particularly in relation to complex humanitarian emergencies. My foreign languages are likely to improve rapidly if we don't get a better news service...which might be useful if I had the time to spend. I don't. It infuriates me that the ABC and SBS can get away with so much drivel and use taxpayer money to produce rubbish like "Kath & Kim" or programmes which glorify violence or put kids under pressure (Hotspell was a disgrace)or put winning before clean sport (of which there is far too much.)
The best programme on SBS is Global Village - thanks Silvio Rivier.
Posted by Communicat, Wednesday, 5 September 2007 2:37:21 PM
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