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TV networks' sales teams deny free speech



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For more information contact Sarah Mennie on 0409 696 531 or Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677

20/7/2012

TV NETWORKS’ SALES TEAMS DENY FREE SPEECH XENOPHON MOVES TO CHANGE BROADCASTING LAWS FOLLOWING SECOND POKIES AD BAN

Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon will move to amend the Broadcasting Services Act so that commercial television stations cannot unreasonably refuse to run ads that relate to issues of public importance.

The move follows Channels 10, 9, 7 and SBS refusing to run ads from political action group GetUp! for the second time in two months.

“TV network sales executives shouldn‟t be deciding who can communicate with the public and who is silenced,” Nick said. “This is a basic issue of freedom of speech and these are stories that need to be heard.”

The new ad features a GetUp! member sharing her story of grief following the suicide of her husband who suffered from poker machine addiction. Helena talks about the difficulties of raising her three children alone following the tragedy and calls on Coles and Woolworths to make their machines safer by adopting $1 maximum bets.

“I will move amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act to ensure advertisements like this one with stories like Helena‟s can no longer fall victim to an unspoken ban,” Nick said.

Last month the commercial television networks refused to air another GetUp ad highlighting poker machine harm and the roles Coles and Woolworths play in the industry

Senator Xenophon noted the ads eventually played as part of news story on all three commercial networks as part of their coverage of the ban. "Thank goodness for the independence of the journalists in those newsroom," Nick said. "At least they demonstrated a commitment to free speech."

Senator Xenophon does not believe that Coles or Woolworths would have asked the networks not to run the ads. “The point is Coles and Woolworths don‟t need to explicitly ask for any ban, they are so powerful, the network sales teams seem to be happy to do the censoring for them,” he said.

Senator Xenophon also questioned how the commercial network could justify banning the GetUp! commercial while at the same time running the misleading and self-serving Clubs Australia ad where the vocal opponent of poker machine reform claims to want to be „part of the solution‟.

For more information contact Sarah Mennie on 0409 696 531 or Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677

“In reality to get a real solution to the shocking harm caused by these high loss machines we need the public to fully understand the devastating impact they have on people‟s lives.”

“Those who oppose poker machine reform are on the wrong side of history, people are waking up to the sickness of this industry and we should all have a right to talk about it.”

To see the banned ad and Helena‟s story, visit www.pokiespeople.com