Media Release: Monday, October 19, 2009

The start of a new series on ABC television this Wednesday night which features underpants sniffing, masturbation, sperm donation and other offensive material should be another nail in the coffin for a system of television self-regulation which clearly isn’t working, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

“John Safran’s Race Relations series is just the latest in a long line of programs which each try to push the boundaries of acceptable television further in a blatant quest for ratings,” ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said.

“Just how far are television networks going to be allowed to go before the government steps in and brings in proper regulation? Is it really good enough that a medium that is broadcast into nearly every home in Australia sets its own rules and for much of the time doesn’t even bother sticking to them?

“Footage of John Safran masturbating in front of an image of the US President and stealing and sniffing what are supposed to be unwashed underpants should never be hitting our screens. According to media reports it sounds like the series gets even worse at it goes on, with Safran starring in a mock crucifixion scene – trying to make a joke of a sacred part of the Christian faith.

“Safran has himself admitted that he’s trying to be more outrageous with every project he takes on – something he appears to have in common with the TV networks. Should our TV viewing standards be set by this kind of measure? Whilever the television networks are in charge this is what we can continue to expect.”

Last month the ACL launched a Tame the Tube campaign aimed at activating people to have their say on declining TV standards at a time when Free TV Australia has been reviewing the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice for the first time in six years.

“The ABC and SBS weren’t part of this campaign because they aren’t party to the commercial television code. However they have their own weak codes of practice and unfortunately are party to the same ineffective system of self-regulation.

“As we are again seeing with the start of the John Safran series, the ABC and SBS are often just as reprehensible as the commercial stations when it comes to broadcasting gratuitous sex, violence and offensive material.

“Whilever Dracula is in charge of the bloodbank this is just going to continue. The Federal Government needs to put an effective system of broadcasting regulation in place which adheres to community standards, rather than one which continually undermines them!”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan