SBS in the firing line
MP ALLEGES ‘QUESTIONABLE METHODS’ IN STRUGGLE STREET
CHIFLEY Labor MP Ed Husic has slammed SBS in Federal Parliament over the controversial documentary series Struggle Street.
As MPs gathered last Tuesday night to consider an amendment bill that would allow the public broadcaster to increase advertising, Mr Husic made it clear he would not support the promotion of more “rubbish TV”.
He accused SBS of engaging in “questionable methods in its filming and production procedures when producing the show”.
He said the biggest problem was issues of consent.
“These were experienced filmmakers and TV broadcasters dealing with inexperienced and vulnerable participants – participants who were not provided with copies of the release forms once they were signed, participants who were not offered independent legal advice before consenting to be filmed,” Mr Husic said.
“These issues are most serious, especially in the context of filming underage children and people with diminished capacity.”
Mr Husic accused SBS and Keo Films of being in breach of the public broadcaster’s charter.
He was fierce in his defence of Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali’s attempts to defend his community.
“Cr Bali was right in his position to voice the deep objection of our area to the way in which people from our area were portrayed by this program, particularly in the promotions around this program,” Mr Husic said.
“They were treated as simple comedic fodder by SBS, there to be denigrated and demeaned, and all for one purpose and one purpose only: to boost ratings.”
An SBS spokeswoman said “clear and informed” consent was given by all participants and the parents or guardians of minors.
“Keo Films discussed the project with the participants featured before filming, to inform the consent process,” she said.
“Keo also appointed and retained a fully qualified and experienced clinical psychologist (for the duration of the broadcast and its conclusion).”