April 28

BBC saves ABC from disaster

What was the ABC management thinking when they decided to unleash the Chasers on the Royal Wedding?

The reminder from the BBC has saved them from a disaster.

 A wedding is a special event, a sacrament during which vows are made.

I went to a wedding recently. It was a beautiful occasion. It would have been extremely offensive to all concerned to have that subject to some parody.

How would ABC managers like it if their weddings and those of their children were to be treated this way?

Just reflect on the proposal. The transmission, including the wedding service would be subject to a simultaneous parody, often lewd and bawdy. 

…not a free speech issue…

The BBC says it was always a condition prohibiting the use of its feed for drama, comedy or satirical purposes.

The condition is fair and proper for the broadcast of an event of great public interest. That is the purpose of the broadcast, not to hijack it for another purpose.   

It is laughable to say this is a free speech issue. The Chasers remain free to say what they want subject to the law. The just can’t use property belonging to someone else in breach of the conditions the owner imposes.

 It’s as simple as that.  If a foreign broadcaster wanted to relay an ABC broadcast, say a state funeral, surely ABC management would impose a similar condition?


…ABC management saved from disaster…


Being reminded of this condition has probably saved the ABC from a disaster. To keep attention over such a long period of time, it is most likely that the comedians would have well and truly crossed the line as they did in 2009 with thire appalling ”skit” of a child dying from cancer.

This was reported to have been based on an actual case known to the Chaser team.

Prime Minister Rudd said it was “beyond the pale. They should hang their heads in shame.”

What was surprising was not so much that it was made. What was appalling was that those in charge allowed it to be aired. Surely someone could have stopped it even while it was being broadcast.

In any event, crossing the line on 29 April would probably not have saved the programme from losing the interest of most of the audience.

But it would have exposed ABC – again – to the most serious public criticism.

What next? Will the ABC have the Chasers doing state funerals?

Has the ABC management lost the plot?  How could this have got to this stage?


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