The TV ad of Getup has been banned in local networks because it criticises media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The activist group has lodged a complaint with the consumer watchdog Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for the refusal of Channels 7, 9, and 10 to play its advertisement on air.
The controversial ad criticises Murdoch, owner of the media conglomerate News Corp, claiming that he is using his newspapers to influence readers with his own political agenda.
“It was great when you could pick up a paper and get, well, news. Recently, the Courier Mail and the Daily Tele have been using their front pages to run a political campaign instead,” the man in the commercial told the viewers as he picked up a Courier Mail newspaper with a headline criticising Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
“Their owner, U.S. billionaire Rupert Murdoch, has an agenda to get rid of our current PM. Fair enough that has an opinion, but political bias presented as news is misleading crap,” he continued, scooping up his dog’s faeces with the newspaper.
The ad ended with the texts, “Thanks Rupert Murdoch, but Australians can choose their own government.”
Getup explained that its members chipped in money to put up the ad on air. However, when they presented it to Channel 10, the network told them outright on the phone that they wouldn’t run the ad because it criticises another news media outlet.
“Lachlan Murdoch is on the company’s board. We’re sure the two are totally unrelated,” a note on the group’s Web site reads, referring to Murdoch’s son.
Channel 7, meanwhile, refused the ad because “the creative executive was considered distasteful and potentially offensive to our audience, so we have decided to make a stand.”
Getup then created a new version of the ad with the supposedly offensive bits blurred out, but the network didn’t respond.
When the group presented the ad to Channel 9, the network has approved and ran it for four days. But come Monday, it has pulled the ad and blamed it on a “coding error,” saying it should never have run.
“That’s all three of Australia’s major commercial networks banding together to suppress media criticism. What’s more, it’s happening in an election period where Australians ought to have the freedom to express their opinion and to criticise and speak thruth to power.
The group said that it has lodged a complaint with the consumer watchdog for the networks’ refusal to supply their services.
“This is censorship, pure and simple, national director of the group, Sam McLean, told Fairfax Media. “Channel Seven says it’s about taste but I don’t buy that for a second.
“Channel Ten told us they don’t want to criticise another media network – but this is about Rupert’s son Lachlan being [chairman] of Channel 10.
“And Channel Nine’s response about the coding error is interesting, but the real question is why they’re refusing to play the ad, which they’re not answering.”
Watch the banned ad here:
Also read: Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott Send Video Messages For ‘Big Brother Australia’ Housemates [Read]