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Government backs down on SBS advertising Bill

Former SBS World News Australia presenter, Mary Kostakidis and Save Our SBS today thanked thousands of ordinary people who opposed a government Bill to further commercialise SBS.

Save Our SBS President, Steve Aujard said, "The government has killed the Bill. The Minister’s Office phoned me a short while ago."

Ms Kostakidis said, "We are pleased the government has listened to SBS viewers; all were strongly opposed to the Bill.

"We now call on the custodians of SBS to also take note of viewer concerns and wipe out in-program commercial breaks. The idea that a public broadcaster should

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Advertising bill will manoeuvre SBS away from its Charter obligations

by Mary Kostakidis

The relentless push to further commercialise SBS has been ramped up yet again with SBS management and government set on increasing advertising within programs. This destructive policy will ultimately make the public broadcaster – SBS – indistinguishable from mainstream commercial television.

Not only will advertising be more intrusive, it will also increasingly become the driver of programming decisions and the public broadcaster will continue to be manoeuvred away from its Charter obligations.

When SBS first accepted limited advertising between programs, both the Managing Director and then Communications Minister told me this would not result in

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Preserve our media diversity: Don’t turn SBS into Australia’s fourth commercial TV network

SURVEY: Is SBS doing it right?

This comprehensive survey seeks your views on SBS advertising, Charter, programming, relevance, and more. It will take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Your participation in this survey may help shape the future and your thoughtfulness in completing the survey and informing your friends to take part is much appreciated.

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Preserve its Integrity! Don’t Increase Advertising on SBS

PETITION The Australian Parliament: Members & Senators, SBS Board & CAC

Do not amend the SBS Act 1991 to permit advertiser-averaging, which will see a doubling of ads and commercial breaks on SBS. This will mean that during primetime & sports broadcasts, SBS will look no different from the commercial networks.

Increasing ads will seriously threaten SBS’s ability to comply with its Charter obligations.

If the law is amended, eventually SBS will broadcast 14 minutes of disruptive commercial breaks per hour in peak viewing – 6pm to midnight and in sport (10 minutes of ads plus 4

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Why SBS should not be further commercialised

by Margaret Pomeranz and Quentin Dempster

Now is the time for all good Australians to stand up to fight for a sustainable public broadcasting system in our country, in particular SBS.

There are forces at work out to further commercialise SBS through an amendment to the SBS Act and through the dishonouring or an election commitment not to cut funding to SBS (and the ABC).

SBS is unique. It emerged in 1978 as an initiative of the Fraser Government because of the perceived deficiency of the ABC in servicing the needs of increasing numbers of non-English speaking newcomers.

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Petition opposes more ads

Margaret Pomeranz & Quentin Dempster with Save Our SBS and GetUp! have launched a petition opposing the government’s proposal to increase advertising on SBS. The online petition is on GetUp’s community campaigning website, CommunityRun getup.org.au/saveoursbs

Late last year the communications Minister announced the government will introduce a bill in 2015 that effectively doubles advertising on SBS through a system known as ad-averaging.

Campaign spokesperson, journalist and public broadcasting advocate, Quentin Dempster said, “Margaret and I join this campaign to try to save SBS from forces and strategies which can only destroy it. More

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Stop the cuts

Despite Tony Abbott’s election promise not to cut funding to SBS, it seems highly likely our poorest broadcaster will be severely cut beyond the bone.

SBS has no fat to trim and although sketchy, the list of speculated cuts is frightening:-

SBS Melbourne studios and offices to go. SBS and ABC to share technical facilities where possible. SBS and ABC to join back house operations such as one pay office for both. Anticipated effective cuts in the order of $40m to $60m p.a. to SBS. SBS advertising quota to increase beyond the currently legislated cap of 5

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Survey: Should SBS have ads?

This single-screen survey asks for your views on SBS advertising, SBS Charter adherence, and public funding. The information collected may help better SBS and your viewing experience. All identifying personal details remain private and will not be published nor passed onto anyone.

Your views are important.

Five years after SBS began to disrupt all TV programs for commercial breaks, the Parliament has not required SBS stop the practice, allowing SBS to determine that matter themselves. Last year SBS was granted a 27% increase in base government funding over four years, the biggest

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End of ads on SBS: when?

You may be wondering what happened to the Bill introduced in the Senate last year to phase out disruptive breaks on SBS-TV. Following the campaign in April last year, organised by SaveOurSBS.org in which a confirmed 9,171 messages were sent from ordinary people like you, the government granted SBS the biggest increase in base government funding ever (27%) and decided advertising is a matter for SBS to now determine. Additionally, SBS will be granted three year funding this May but has no plans to move ads out of programs, believing that advertising and in-program disruptions are a non issue.

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Petition to SBS

Veteran activist Mannie De Saxe has launched an on-line petition to SBS requesting the broadcaster voluntarily cease in-program commercial breaks. The petition is independent of Save Our SBS and is the initiative of Mr De Saxe.

In a statement De Saxe said, "after years of frustration it seemed it was about time to try [a petition] because, we have all been complaining about this for so many years without any breakthrough". He said that in 2006 he put a petition on his blog together with some email exchanges between SBS and himself. He described

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Why SBS received a funding increase

In the month before the May Budget some 9,171 messages were sent from people in every State and Territory to selected politicians urging government to steeply increase public funding for SBS and remove the disruptive commercial breaks from SBS television. The general public sent emails to the finance and communications ministers, some members of Cabinet, and other politicians according to a preset method. SaveOurSBS.org provided background material about SBS’s finances and links to the Special Broadcasting Service Amendment (Natural Program Breaks and Disruptive Advertising) Bill 2012. 

Here we publish a representative sample of all emails sent.

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Campaign statistics

In the month leading up to the May Budget, Save Our SBS ran a campaign where supporters were given the opportunity to send a personal email to the finance and communications ministers and other politicians in the Make SBS Special Again campaign published on the SaveOurSBS.org website. The purpose was to press government for a steep increase in funding for SBS with the removal of in-program commercial breaks from SBS television.

On the campaign webpage visitors were presented with an example of an email text and asked to compose an email in their own words. Most did.

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Make SBS special

SBS needs your support before early May to secure increased funding and ensure the Special Broadcasting Service Amendment (Natural Program Breaks and Disruptive Advertising) Bill 2012 becomes law. The Bill has now been introduced to the Senate. If passed, this Bill will phase out in-program commercial breaks on SBS-TV by 2016 and establish a scheme for increased funding for SBS. SBS will be better off and so will you.

If the Bill fails to become law, the future of SBS will be uncertain but commercially driven and no longer special.

Funding for the next three years

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Email Minister before 8 May here

Government is to decide SBS’s funding fate for the next three years on 8 May. SBS needs more funding and your support for the Bill * now before the Senate to become law. If passed, the Bill will phase out in-program commercial breaks on SBS-TV by 2016 and establish a scheme for increased funding for SBS.

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