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Unacceptable coercion: SBS

"A ‘threat’ by the SBS Board to sack staff and axe local programs unless Federal Parliament accepted a fully commercial future for the multicultural broadcaster was unacceptable coercion", says Save Our SBS.

"The Abbott government has no mandate to turn SBS into Australia’s fourth commercial TV network."

Save Our SBS President Steve Aujard said, "It is distressing to see both the SBS Board and apparently FECCA (Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia) roll over on a strategy that can only destroy SBS’ raison d’être.

"There seems to be a hidden agenda here. A fully commercial SBS can be privatised in future years. The legacy of the late Malcolm Fraser to build SBS as an inclusive media for all ethnicities in our now polyglot country would be destroyed with such an eventuality.

"We’re urging all senators to hold the line against this coercion by a compliant SBS Board and FECCA – and note that SBS was a ‘main sponsor’ of FECCA[1]

"More than 61,000 people signed a petition[2] opposing the government’s Bill to increase ads on SBS and in two studies of 3,777 viewers[3],[4], 93% said they would rather restrict advertising on SBS even if at the cost of services than continue the commercial path that SBS has pursued. Most people do not want this.

"The principle upon which SBS was established should not be sold out.

"SBS has already delivered to government the so-called efficiency savings it seeks.

"It should not be further penalised.

"Remember Tony Abbott’s commitment that there would be no cuts to SBS.

"We now know there is no real commitment from this government to public multicultural broadcasting.

"By rejecting the SBS advertising and product placement Bill now before the Parliament, senators will send a clear signal that SBS should have a non-commercial future and get back to its Charter obligations.

"SBS is a creature of an Act of the Federal Parliament. Parliament is the guardian on this unique Australian multicultural institution."

The Save Our SBS submission to the Senate Communications Committee opposing any increases in advertising on SBS is here.

[1] SBS Annual Report 2014, page 64 (66)
Pomeranz, M; Dempster, Q, Preserve its Integrity! Don’t Increase Ads on SBS
[3] SOSBS: A study of 2044 viewers of SBS television on advertising, Charter, relevance and other matters
[4] SOSBS: One Minute Survey

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