Anyone who watched Insight
on SBS TV last night may have been surprised to see a pro-choice
commercial after the program (right). That’s because a battle has been
raging to get the ad to air.

The commercial – you can watch it here
– had been deemed too hot to screen and shuffled round the schedules
because of the death of the Pope and his impending funeral. It was
canned from broadcast during Sunday’s SBS World News. It covers
the issues of abortion, recognition of same-sex relationships,
contraception and sex education. Its key message – separation of church
and state – is scarcely new.

At least SBS has put the ad to air.
The activist behind the ad made a pair of pro-choice TV commercials a
month ago. Significant money has been involved – an airtime budget of
$50,000 on top of the $5,000 production costs. They were officially
approved, but the commercial networks declined to air them.

SBS
probably deserves the benefit of the doubt for showing the ad despite
the Pope’s death. But are our TV networks being sensitive – or just
plain censorious? Who are they frightened of? The Government,
God-botherers – or both?

Peter Fray

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