The Macedonian Tendency: Someone Needs the Boot Down Under

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Someone Needs the Boot Down Under

How Australian government broadcasters marginalises Macedonians.

Crikey Website - Do we really need SBS?: "

By Sasha Uzunov

Does Australia really need to be serviced by two public broadcasters? Sasha Uzunov investigates the audience of SBS, 25 years on:

Date: 9 June 2005

The ABC's Chairman Donald Macdonald recently gave an elegant speech at the National Press Club in Canberra about where the public broadcaster was heading. Afterwards, as he fielded questions, reporters once again honed in on the thorny issue of whether the second public broadcaster, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), should exist.

Macdonald refused to be drawn on whether SBS was just duplicating a role the ABC is already performing. It's a pity – we all know that SBS will soon broadcast the Ashes Test cricket from England, normally the preserve of the Nine Network, a large commercial entity. SBS prides itself on being the voice and face of multicultural Australia. But do we really need it? Another question is have Australia's ethnic communities already moved into the mainstream of Australian society? Just look at the non-Anglo-Celtic surnames in our parliaments, favourite sporting teams or on mainstream television!

What is ironic about SBS is that it claims to serve multiculturalism. But that has to be questioned. Since its inception in 1980, SBS TV, then known as Channel 0-28, has had reporters and presenters from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as Greek, Italian, Croat, Serb, South American, Asian and so on.

In 25 years there has not been one reporter or presenter from Australia's sizeable Turkish and Macedonian communities. This is a remarkable statistic. Members of the Turkish and Macedonian communities claim that SBS TV marginalises them because the broadcaster fears the influence of the politically savvy Greek lobby. All of these ethnic groups do not get along because of historic tensions that have no place in peaceful Australia. SBS by playing favourites rather than showing toughness is in fact keeping these tensions alive."

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