Tale of two newspaper
stories:

1. Habib defamed by suggestion he lied, says
jury
: A FORMER Guantanamo Bay inmate,
Mamdouh Habib, was defamed by a newspaper article that suggested he was a liar,
a jury has found. A NSW Supreme Court judge will now hear defences in the case
and determine if Mr Habib is entitled to compensation. – Sydney Morning Herald,
today

2. News wins Habib battle: A JURY has found
former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib was not defamed in several
newspaper articles detailing his alleged terrorist links. Mr Habib sued Nationwide News in the NSW Supreme Court,
claiming articles published in The Daily Telegraph in 2002 and 2005 and a
2005 report in The Weekend Australian had painted him as a terrorist or a
terrorist sympathiser.
But in a clear win for the publisher, a four-person jury
unanimously found yesterday that only 2 of the 24 alleged imputations were
conveyed – and just one of those was defamatory. – Daily Telegraph, today

Glenn Dyer writes:

Seven’s Sunday night programming dilemma: Is Sunday night TV programming about to raise its ugly
head and bite Seven for the second year in a
row? Last
year it was the failure of Let Loose Live which hurt the Network post May and
meant there was a semi-permanent hole at the start of each rating
week. A year
on, and a brimful of programming ideas, concepts and developments later, you’d think
Seven was assured of getting Sunday night back into shape. Perhaps not. I hear there’s
confusion at Jones
Bay with a temporary fix
called Where Are They Now being inserted into the schedule at
6.30pm. It’s hosted by Mel Doyle and David Koch: so it’s Sunrise comes to Sunday
nights – a touch of desperation? That’s
after internal reviews of the John Howard fronted The Real Sea Change and another program called Have You Got the Job, hosted by Chris Bath, left both
programs a little scarred and needing some TLC from
production staff. But the
biggest tip is that Desperate Housewives could be switched from Monday night to
Sunday night at 8.30pm. Some
around Seven reckon it might be a goer when Eddie McGuire removes himself from Who Wants to be a Millionaire after next Monday night. An
Eddie-less Millionaire is considered to be a weaker opponent. But why bring it back for
2006 in the usual Monday night timeslot of 8.30pm and then switch it? That’s a
bit too arrogant for most viewers.

SBS’s Brown Revolution: The SBS
management revolution has been a quiet one, steered by
new CEO Shaun Brown. So quiet that the only manifestation was an ad in the Media section
of The Australian last Thursday calling for applications for three top
level jobs. These
jobs were described as “Direct reports to Managing Director” (that’s Shaun) and
were Director –Television & Online Content, Director – Strategy and
Communication and Director – Marketing. High powered roles indeed and for a Government owned broadcaster with very
limited cash, it’s an ambitious objective for Shaun. But if
you go online to the SBS 2005 annual report here
and go to the section entitled Organisational Chart there’s been a
wholesale change in the titles and roles of the three most senior
executives of SBS after the managing director. The positions of Head of
TV, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Sales have all gone and been
rolled into these three new positions. The Head of Radio, Tuong Quang
Luu is not mentioned and presumably remains in place, being a wily long
time executive player at SBS. Shaun Brown was head of TV
and the other positions being revamped are also vacant. So he’s taking
advantage of this to introduce “The Brown Revolution”, which means that
the management team his predecessor, Nigal Milan, had in place last
year is gone, including Nigel. Oh, there’s one person left standing –
Shaun Brown.

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners

Nine and the cricket, Seven’s news and current affair
hour. The night session of the cricket was watched by 1.885
million people, which gave Nine the win and no doubt made up for any pain
from not running Bert’s Feud program and Missing Persons
Unit.
The Losers

The cricket was such a disruptive force that there were no real
losers, but were there any signs? Again too hard to say but Ten’s Biggest Loser
averaged just over a million viewers with Adam Gilchrist in full flight on Nine.
Tonight Ten would be hoping for a few more than the 1.013 million who
watched.
News & CA

Now, News is a peculiarly precise exercise and people like watching at
6pm, 7pm or whenever. So when Nine’s schedule followed the cricket last
night, some interesting things happened. Nine News lost the national
battle with Seven, 1.492 million people to 1.396 million and Nine lost
in Sydney 421,000 to 292,000. Nine won in Melbourne easily. The point
is that the night before, Nine had a rare win in Sydney. Now with
vastly more people watching the cricket (808,000 on average from around
2pm to 6pm or thereabouts) than
Bert the
night before, the fact that Nine News couldn’t beat Seven in Sydney with such a
strong lead-in must be galling. Hence the importance of going to air when people
expect, at 6pm and not sometime after when the cricket finishes. It’s an
old argument at Nine but with a sports nut like McGuire
as CEO, Nine will almost certainly follow the sport and upset viewers. Can
it afford to do so?
The Stats

Nine won thanks to the cricket final with a 37.0% share
to 27.8% for Seven, 18.7% for Ten, 13.3% for the ABC and 3.2% for SBS. But
despite the cricket’s strength on Nine, Seven had a solid Tuesday night, and
when Dancing With The Stars returns, watch the rankings change. But I also
think that Nine will not be the pushover than many at Seven
think.
Glenn Dyer’s comments

A breakdown of figures for the period
5.45pm to 6pm shows that Nine was watched nationally by 1.183 million cricket
fans, while Deal or No Deal on Seven averaged 1.074 million. That explains how
the cricket didn’t help Nine News to move past Seven: the lead-in wasn’t strong
enough.
Wins in Melbourne and Brisbane were obviously not enough. But stunt TV in any shape or form distorts
the night and so it was last night. Tonight it’s the return of McLeod’s
Daughters
, Nine’s stalwart: it will be up against Beyond Tomorrow on Seven and
Jamie Oliver’s Italian Escape at 7.30pm and Baywatch, sorry, Bondi
Rescu
e at 8pm on Ten. So will the flesh flashed on Ten beat the
strengthened male involvement in McLeod’s? The real battle will be
at 8.30pm between Seven’s Prison Break and House on Ten. That’s the ratings
hotpoint tonight. Oh, and on the ABC, Spicks and Specks returns, and aren’t I
thankful for that!

Peter Fray

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