Media Release: Monday, 27 February, 2006

Jim Wallace, Executive Chairman of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), is angered by SBS plans to broadcast an episode of South Park, which is highly offensive and insensitive to the Christian faith. ACL calls for SBS to show respect and tolerance to Christian members of the Australian community and rethink playing it at all.

The episode, entitled Bloody Mary, has caused great concern with insensitive and crude depictions of the Virgin Mary and Pope Benedict. “We support the right to freedom of speech,” Mr Wallace said, “but this is irreverent.”

SBS, as a publicly funded organisation, should be even more sensitive to community concerns. Screening this episode will cause offense as demonstrated by strong community reactions in New Zealand and the United States where it has been screened.

Free speech is important in critiquing ideas and beliefs of other religions, but to blatantly disrespect symbols sacred to a religion with a clear intention to offend must be discouraged.

SBS has deferred the screening of the episode, which was due to be broadcast on Monday 6th March. The episode has not yet been rescheduled. “This episode should be discouraged from being played in a country that respects tolerance,” concluded Jim Wallace.

Contact: Jim Wallac