In this case study, we look at a community interest case in which Birchgrove Legal took action to object to radio broadcasting that would be damaging to community relations at the expense of the Muslim community. A show was broadcast on SBS Arabic24 that handled the issue of “political Islam” in a potentially dangerous and socially inflammatory way. Here’s what we did.
SBS Arabic24 recently ran a concerning show on their program “Good Morning Australia Arabic Radio”
The interview in question had the potential to cause highly inflammatory community reactions and to deepen community divisions due to the loosely defined concepts and generalized nature of the interview.
The interview involved a confusing and controversial treatment of “political Islam” and sought the opinion of a “guest” who was wholly unqualified to provide an opinion on the topic.
It was our position that the interview and language used in the interview was at best unhelpful, confusing, and insulting, and at worst was dangerous.
It was also our view that in conducting the interview, the interviewer and producer were acting contrary to the objectives of SBS as defined in the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991.
Birchgrove Legal also brought to the attention of SBS Arabic24 the danger of using language the way that it did without any limitation or qualification, particularly in the context of a community and broader political context which has often been predisposed to negatively receive the topic.
The Program Manager of SBS Arabic24 responded noting our dissatisfaction with this interview, and submitted that they would henceforth avoid using the term “political Islam” as a pejorative with its various connoations. Were it to be used henceforth, it would be used in the appropriate context and with the requisite clarification.
SBS Arabic 24 noted their commitment to maintaining a good relationship with all segments of the community, including the Muslim community.
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