No, Minister….

Craig Reucassel questions laws that prevent networks from using parliamentary broadcasts state for satire or ridicule.

The Chaser‘s Craig Reucassel raises some interesting arguments in an article today about laws that prevent television programmes from using parliamentary broadcasts state for satire or ridicule.

It’s ok to ridicule politicians in other forms, just not via television -unless it falls under News….

“The law does not prevent the news, current affairs programs and breakfast television from playing embarrassing moments in Parliament. We have all seen vision of Kevin Rudd eating his ear wax. We have seen vision of politicians sleeping. And when clips such as these are played on Sunrise, Today or Insiders, it is unlikely that the commentators’ response is one of deferential respect for the dignity of the house,” he writes.

“We were faced with the ridiculous situation during the filming of The Hamster Wheel of having to ask permission from politicians whose words in Parliament we were seeking to satirise. They politely declined. In the age of television, restricting the footage available can be an effective way of controlling a story.

“The law has also not been enforced against the growing number of mash-ups and satirical edits of Parliament that are being posted on YouTube and similar sites. It is unlikely that many of the people making these clips are even aware that such a law exists.

“What the law does prevent is satirical TV programs from critiquing politicians using the actual words they have said in the Parliament. This is a method that has been used to withering effect in the US by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, both of whom received Peabody Awards for their journalism, despite presenting such journalism using satire.”

You can read more at smh.com.au

8 Responses

  1. @ perth tiger – LOL and too true.

    @ jezza – you are correct about them doing enough outside of parliament for the laughs. I am surprised they do not have members in their staff whose sole job it is to insert shoes into oral cavities!

    While I feel for the Craig and the boys, and have no wish to protect the pollies (they get everything they deserve), I have to wonder how we would feel if a video of us, in our workplace, was used in such a way. I highly doubt many of us would be laughing.

    On the other hand, does the protection provided by this law extend to other workplaces? I say if it doesn’t, then the law is garbage. What is good for them is good for any of us.

  2. Leave Parliament alone, gotta allow pollies some respite and a bit of santuary. They do more than enough daft stuff away from Canberra and if Craig can not find sufficient material there, I would suggest he is not looking hard enough.

  3. They can complain. But they also have the option to mount a case stated in the High Court that law impinges the implied right to speech in matters of political or governmental affairs and is thus unconstitutional (and it probably is).

  4. The problem is that satire tends to skew the context of the content being manipulated, especially to pursue certain political agendas and biases. It’s important that parliamentary proceedings are shown in their correct context as it is important in having people make informed decisions when it comes to voting.

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