Crikey reporter Sophie Black writes:

Free TV must have looked up the chapter on climate change in their science textbooks since rejecting South Australian company SolarShop’s ad last Friday (yesterday item 12) – the TV classification and approval body announced yesterday afternoon that it would reinstate the ad in its entirety. (Click here to view the ad).

Commercials Advice (CAD), a branch of FreeTV, initially rejected the ad scheduled for Adelaide TV (after first approving it) on the grounds that Dr Tim Flannery’s statement – “Climate Change is the greatest threat facing humanity today” – was “problematic.” But they’ve since decided that Flannery has the authority to back up his claim.

“Whilst this has been unfortunate to say the least and damaging to the SolarShop, which can ill afford to have its $50,000 TV campaign diluted like this, what it has done is served a very positive purpose – it has raised the focus of the average Australian on the seriousness of climate change,” a spokesperson for SolarShop told Crikey.

FreeTV’s chief executive Julie Flynn told the SMH that “we have just cleared the ads after strong representation from the advertiser that Dr Flannery is an authority in his own right.”

Greens Senator Christine Milne told Crikey: “The key thing here is that Free TV is making a decision about what the public can hear in a political context. Their level of ignorance on climate change is a concern, as is the level of political intimidation in this country…”

“I find it absolutely bizarre that this is even a controversial matter when the rest of the world is clear that climate change is the single most important environmental issue,” Member for Adelaide, Labor’s Kate Ellis, told Crikey, “meanwhile, we’re arguing over what we can and can’t say in an ad.”