||Issue No. 302||07 April 2006|
The Cowra Clause
Interview: Head On
Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
Industrial: Vital Signs
Economics: Taxing Times
Environment: It Ain’t Necessarily So
History: Melbourne’s Hours
Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
Review: Pollie Fiction
Poetry: The Cabal
The Locker Room
Belly Spreads The Word
Lying Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
Letters to the Editor
DOCUMENTARY ON CFMEU SOLIDARITY WITH COLOMBIAN COCA COLA WORKERS BANNED FROM COMMUNITY TV CHANNEL 31.
Sydney's only politically left, alternative TV broadcaster has been suspended from air by the so-called Community TV station Channel 31. This is an outrage in current times when mainstream media and television chloroforms the consciousness and fails to activate, motivate and educate audiences around the issues that affect them directly.
ARTV (Actively Radical TV) is a community based volunteer group which produces progressive, alternative and social movement programs for broadcast. The programs are designed to give voice to those in the community whose points of view are marginalised or ignored by other media, to raise awareness, to educate, to provoke thought, ideas and debate.
ARTV was broadcasting on the previous channel 31 for over ten years until the broadcasting license was withdrawn from the previous licensees by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA). After a period of eighteen months of no Community TV broadcast, the new channel 31 under a consortium management, TV Sydney (TVS) who were allocated the Community TV licence finally began broadcasting on February 26 this year.
Since late last year, ARTV had been submitting programming to TVS in order to garner a time slot for ARTV programs to be aired immediately the station was up and running. From February 26, TVS Sydney initially broadcast four ARTV programs on four consecutive Sunday evenings at 10.30pm preceding Politics In The Pub.
However, last week TVS management indefinitely suspended the broadcast of Actively Radical TV unless the producers can comply with a number of legally unverified and impossible demands, such as having a QC witness and sign for every program.
The ban and demands come as a result of a segment which ARTV planned to run on Coca Cola's actions in Columbia against workers and trade unionists. The documentary was produced by ARTV in conjunction with the Columbian Solidarity Network, a Sydney based campaign group which seeks to highlight the plight of Columbian workers subjected to the unfair and unjust conditions of corporations such as Coca Cola. TVS refused to air the complete program including the Coca Cola segment and a Community Focus program featuring the band Andorra and their film clip and discussion about Baxter detention centre. The grounds on which TVS did not allow the program to air was fear of defamation action by the fizzy-drink conglomerate.
ARTV agreed to replace the offending piece and has sought legal advice. Under section 9 of the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) CERTAIN CORPORATIONS DO NOT
HAVE CAUSE OF ACTION FOR DEFAMATION. More legal advice from Alex Tees an expert in corporate reputation who also stated: THE PROTECTION AGAINST CORPORATE
DEFAMATION HAS BEEN ENFORCED BY AN AMENDMENT SINCE
2003 HERE IN NSW. However TVS has used the incident to question the verity of ARTV's productions and research in general, and has removed all programming from air.
ARTV, which produces material on workers' rights, refugee issues, public education, Indigenous rights issues, politically-aware artists, environmental campaigns and many others within the social justice movement that have no other outlet for their voice in Sydney, is a vital and unique resource that requires support to be reinstated and expanded.
The situation raises the many questions of censorship, freedom of speech, civil liberties and cross media ownership as well as the purpose of Community TV. The TVS management hold a Community TV licence not a commercial licence and whilst they do seek sponsorship to maintain the running of the station, commercial interests should not over-ride the needs, desires and interests of the many community organisations and campaigns who have rely on Community TV to have their matters raised on air.
ARTV plan to continue producing their programs and submitting them to TVS. Some of the upcoming issues to be explored will include worker‚s rights and the role of the trade union movement since the implementation of the Howard Government‚s Industrial Relations legislation last week. Already since the laws have been passed, meatworkers in the Cowra abatoirs have been sacked under the unfair dismissal provisions and these are the kinds of topical issues that ARTV covers.
Workers, unionists Indigenous people, environmentalists, activists for Refugee rights and anti-war, artists with challenging ideas, people from a cultural background whose compatriots are in struggle for equity, justice and peace should all be very alarmed about the silencing of ARTV which is the only mouth-piece for broadcasting campaigns and actions through television in Sydney.
ARTV's music fundraiser evening at Marrickville Community Centre, 142 Addison Rd Marrickville (from 7pm on April 29) is a good opportunity for you to not only show your support for this vital voice, but to also enjoy a good night's entertainment as well. There'll be plenty of bands and other performers and an opportunity to view the banned material.
In the meantime, write a complaint to the television station's board at:
Locked Bag 1797 Penrith South NSW 1797 or
Phone and speak directly to Henri Di Gorta (Programs Manager) on 9852 5000 or fax him on 9852 5050
Forward a copy of your correspondence to ARTV at [email protected]
ARTV. Check out the website at: www.activelyradicaltv.com
Noreen Navin (nswtf)
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