Oops. FreeTV apologises for errors on SBS list.

EXCLUSIVE: FreeTV has apologised for errors over its list of SBS shows it claims are not aligned with the broadcaster’s Charter.

Last week FreeTV Australia, which represents Seven, Nine, TEN and regional commercial broadcasters, made a submission to the government’s Competitive Neutrality Inquiry Panel into ABC & SBS.

Amongst 150 titles which screened on SBS, SBS VICELAND & SBS Food Network, Media Development and Regulatory Adviser Dr Murray Green listed multiple shows claimed to be out of step with its multicultural Charter.

But it has since been forced to concede at least two of the shows are actually on Charter: Gourmet Farmer, with host Matthew Evans in Tasmania, and Destination Food Japan, hosted by Adam Liaw.

A FreeTV Australia spokesperson said, “Dr. Green has advised that Gourmet Farmer, No 39 in the SBS Top 50, was assessed as being charter aligned, but that this was wrongly tabulated. Our apologies for the confusion that this created.

“Murray has advised that all of the Destination Flavour series was assessed as being within charter – again there has been a tabulation error.”

In order to asses a truckload of content across May and June 2018 Dr. Green’s methodology included establishing a program’s country of origin, and reviewing the program’s synopsis as published by SBS online. Where there “appeared ambiguity” the titles was reviewed on SBS On Demand, if available.

FreeTV maintains that despite errors on its list it is confident a trend of non-charter material is increasing.

But SBS has rejected the broadside by the commercial networks.

An SBS Spokesperson told TV Tonight, “Free TV clearly doesn’t understand the role of SBS or the SBS Charter, or indeed the fundamental principles of public broadcasting. This is no more evident than in its so-called ‘list’ of programs, but it’s unsurprising that Free TV is attacking SBS in this way.

“SBS is confident in the integrity of its services which have served Australian communities well for more than 40 years and looks forward to demonstrating its value to contemporary multicultural Australia through the review process.

“We’ve provided our submission to the Inquiry and understand the Department will publish submissions in due course.”

FreeTV is now going over its list with a magnifying glass to check for any other errors….


  1. eastwest101

    Great Continental Railway Journeys duplicate entries in their list at No 7 and No 9

    Perhaps if FTA commercial TV wasted less time and money creating amateurish snarky lists riddled with errors then they could have replaced the expensive locally produced wall to wall rubbish of Dating ninja renovating cooking weight-loss singing dancing reality with some actual content that people wanted to watch. Its not like there is a shortage of TV being made either, there are more hours of scripted and factual content television being produced worldwide than ever before, its just that the commercial FTA tv networks refuse to pay for it.

  2. Murray Green, an expert with years of experience in public broadcasting, compiled the list. Whoever typed it up made 2 errors which have been corrected. The fact remains that the majority of SBS TV’s content doesn’t meet it charter which states that it’s primary function is to promote multiculturalism in Australia through multicultural and multilingual programming (in people’s prefered languages) and that it must take into account what Commercial media and the ABC are doing. SBS radio does that, but SBS TV blatantly ignores it. And unable to argue that the shows do meet their Charter they resort to technicalities and ad hominem abuse to try and distract and fool people.

    • “… that it must take into account what Commercial media and the ABC are doing”.

      But the SBS charter doesn’t say that at all. It says “taking into account the contribution of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the community broadcasting sector”. Nothing about ‘commercial media’ in it at all.

      Though I guess that counts as one of those “technicalities” you mention 😉

      (On your last sentence: there’s an interesting discussion to be had over what the Right really means by ‘civility’ & ‘abuse’. Put simply, it boils down to ‘civility’ means ‘not disagreeing with them’, & ‘abuse’ means ‘anything that bothers them’.

      To put that into local context: while here, of all places, we could expect to have a normal discussion between Left and Right about the ABC/SBS, because we disagree one side sees it as ‘uncivil’. And because that bothers them, it’s taken…

  3. Australian Commercial broadcasters; a late 20th century / early 21st century enterprise that didn’t make it past 2050. See also, laughing stock.

  4. Maev....Sydney

    FTA should just offer a blanket apology and back off…as should people who criticise these channels/networks but never actually watch any of them….I do!

  5. Harshreality

    Government money should not be wasted by the ABC/SBS (with the exception of kids programming) to provide an alternative to Foxtel.

    SBS is the worst offender with two channels Viceland and Food Network followed by the ABC News 24.

    NITV actually offers something unique for which there is no Foxtel equivalent and we should be seeing more of that from our public broadcasters. Tax payers should not be picking up the tab for overseas trash or a news channel when Pay TV offers identical content.

    • “Government money should not be wasted by the ABC/SBS … to provide an alternative to Foxtel.”

      But the ABC & SBS aren’t providing an alternative to Foxtel – they’re providing an alternative to the commercial networks.

      The same commercial networks who have just published a big list of programmes they weren’t smart enough to grab when they were offered, or innovative enough to go out & find in the first place.

      Are those the sort of business you really want to defend? _That’s_ the real ‘harsh reality”…

    • Government money shouldn’t be used to prop up foxtel’s loss making endeavours, supporting less than 30% of the population who have pay TV, but here we are.

      The money spent on ABC & SBS is well spent and we get incredible value and choice.

  6. There’s an even longer list of garbage shows FreeTV calls “entertainment” and should be taken off air because they are dumbing down Australian society.

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