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The SBS (and ABC) have performed a very important role in the history of Australian TV and can continue to do so but there is no doubt that SBS has slipped off the path in its charter in recent years. At least my interpretation of what it's charter should be.
- One of the most important undertakings is to promote understanding of different cultures - to twist the saying - you dont fear what you understand. Australia is populated by people from all over the world and the more we understand and appreciate their background the better we understand them.
- On the same theme, Australia is one of the most openly culturally diverse countries I have been in - the key word is openly. We have an absolute wealth of the very best (and unfortunately sometimes the worst) of cultures from around the world and anything that assists us in learning and appreciating this diversity is hugely important in who we are as Australians. SBS is one of the most successful at making this accessible to everday Australians who otherwise might never experience this.
- As much as I love Top Gear, I dont actually see why it's on SBS. I cant even start to fathom why SBS made or shows a local version.
- SBS also tends to be slightly more of a risk taker than ABC and this is to be commended and supported. It's important to see the lower profile work of our own people as well overseas works.
- The SBS news and current affairs shows are superb and a real oasis for the viewer who doesnt just want to know the superficial take on overseas events dominated by US and UK affairs.
And just to finish up - who on earth thought it made sense to put ads on SBS, let alone break up programmes with ads. Give me a break - this is a public broadcaster and should not have any commercial influence. If you need a couple more dollars then feel free to ask.
Maybe we need a licence fee like in the UK so that we do have public broadcasting which is funded independently of the government of the day so that the pressure to conform that has been evident in the last few years is never repeated. This could also ensure that they have enough money to really help develop the local arts industry through commissions.