Nov 29, 2012

Parliament House media rules: satire in, Photoshop out

New Parliament House media guidelines have been released. It's a win for satirists (the Chaser guys are happy), but not for Photoshop fans in newspaper newsrooms.

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

In an historic victory for political piss-takers, comedians will be allowed to use parliamentary footage to poke fun at politicians for the first time. The change, contained in new Parliament House media guidelines released yesterday, came after a submission from Chaser member Craig Reucassel, who has railed against the ban on The Hamster Wheel and in Fairfax papers this year. "It's fantastic," Reucassel told Crikey this morning. "We haven't been able to use parliamentary footage for our entire career." The Chaser got around the ban earlier this year by depicting Senator Ron "pretty effective" Boswell as Jabba the Hut in a sketch. Under the new guidelines, which remove all mentions of satire and ridicule, parliamentary footage is still not allowed to be used in party political advertising or commercials. There's a downside though, according to Reucassel: "Now we'll have to watch Parliament more." He says the Chaser -- backed by top-flight legal advice -- would have launched a no-joke High Court challenge against the ban had it not been removed. When the changes come into force next February, you won't be seeing front pages like this any more:

or pictures like this:

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