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….