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ABC sponsorship ban hits the arts and sport



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SHADO W MINISTER FOR THE ARTS. HERITAGE. SPORT AN D YOUTH AFFAIRS

ABC SPONSORSHIP BAN HITS THE ARTS AND SPORT

The ABC's ill-considered ban on naming arts and sports sponsors on air is a financial disaster for cultural and sporting

organisations and is in conflict with Coalition policy, Shadow Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Michael Baume said today.

Senator Baume said the ban strikes at the heart of major

sponsorships across the whole range of the arts and sport, with many organisations facing the prospect of severe funding cuts.

The ABC's decision, announced today, formalises some unofficial instructions that have been in place for several weeks and which have been strongly resisted by ABC staff members concerned about the consequences of the ban.

The ludicrous justification that the ABC is merely preventing itself from being forced into 'back door' sponsorship of its programmes is self-righteous nonsense.

It is the sporting and artistic events themselves (which the ABC chooses to televise in the public interest) that are sponsored not the ABC itself; on the contrary, the ABC often bids large sums of money to gain TV rights to such events.

So this is not a dispute over whether the ABC should accept

sponsorships for its programmes, but whether or not the ABC is to drop its ideological opposition to anything to do with free enterprise.

Under the ABC's double standards, it is 'improper' for a

sponsor's name to be spoken but apparently acceptable in sporting events on TV for it to be seen on the field, on jumpers and

billboards - even at North Sydney Oval.

The Coalition policy of encouraging private sector sponsorship of the arts and sport is clearly being undermined by this

decision which smacks more of back-door support for Mr Hill's anti-tobacco campaign, by extending it to all sponsors, rather than a rational approach to the question.

The ABC's ban will have the effect of :-1. discouraging sponsors from supporting (and in many instances making possible) such events as the ESSO night at the Opera, the Winfield Cup, the Ricoh Rugby

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Tests, the Amatil/Westpac Concerts during the Festival of Sydney and newly televised women's sports such as netball and cricket, putting some of these events in jeopardy;

2. Removing the ABC as a bidder for sponsored sporting events leaving only commercial channels to compete and so reducing the income of sporting organisations;

3. Diminishing the range of sporting and artistic programmes available to listeners and viewers;

4. Imposing a 'moral' censorship on the news by omitting words which do not fit the ABC's ideological prejudices.

Once again the ABC has taken an ideological stance that will lose it more friends (this time in the arts and sporting communities) than it will win, Senator Baume said.

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28 February 1991