SBS in the fir­ing line


Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Alison Bald­ing Should SBS re­turn to Mt Druitt for an­other doc­u­men­tary? @the­druitt

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).”

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