Following the government’s announcement last week that it is establishing an inquiry into the future of ABC and SBS, the lobby group Save our SBS had issued a statement with some impressive signatories, calling on the broadcaster to drop its advertising.
One of them is former PM, Malcolm Fraser, whose government established SBS.
The statement says “big money” was going into the locally produced motoring series Top Gear while coverage of community events and customs had declined.
“Since the introduction of sponsorship and advertising to SBS in the 1990s, the service has steadily become more generalist and less specialist and multicultural,” says the statement.
“English-language lesson programs, greatly valued by new arrivals, have been phased out of the TV schedule. SBS should focus on the special needs of viewers rather than on selling consumers to advertisers.”
A spokeswoman for SBS, however, said the balance between English and foreign-language content had been 50-50 for the past decade. “Save Our SBS is a single-issue lobby group opposed to advertising on SBS, but that decision was made almost 20 years ago and every single dollar of the modest revenue it raises is invested back into content.”
Source: The Age