Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has become embroiled in a controversy over free speech, patriotism and the government's right to police the internet, after he drew SBS management's attention to a series of provocative tweets about Anzac Day by SBS football reporter Scott McIntyre.

Turnbull says he didn't ask SBS to sack McIntyre, despite finding his tweets highly offensive. The national broadcaster sacked him anyway, less than 24 hours after the tweets were posted at 5.30pm on Anzac Day.