ABC Versus Free Aussie Content

Posted by on May 30, 2017

MLO was contacted by ‘Raw Fishing’ about publically funded broadcasters ABC and SBS “blocking” Australian made content in favour of obscure shows.

Jack Monkiewicz, owner of Raw Fishing, is a cameraman and editor who has produced fishing content for Foxtel and other mainstream channels, industry adverts for other channels (such as channel 10), as well as filming and editing for National Geographic UK.

The footage is impressive.

He’s shot Japanese stock footage of wildlife; sharks, whales, dolphins which would give David Attenborough’s Blue Planet a run for its money.

Except, it’s our money we’re talking about with the ABC, we, the taxpayer.

Raw Fishing pitched a 10-part series to ABC and SBS covering fisheries we have in Australia. Bear in mind fishing is estimated to generate around $2.2 billion per year, among the 5 million odd anglers in Australia.

That’s a fair number of people, paying tax, who would be interested in the content. Don’t we think they might be interested in seeing what happens to their coastline and reefs?

The real gripe here is that Raw Fishing offered their content for FREE. The team was comprised of two males, two females for balance.

From initial approach, neither ABC or SBS was interested.

Australians can’t even access a resource that we pay for. What’s that all about? Why are they gifted a pile of money to do with as they please? And who decides what Australians are “interested” in?

The show featured unique underwater sequences, which would be a scoop for Australia free to air TV.

Here’s a trailer of the show (2 mins): TRAILER

Raw Fishing, in turn, was contacted by a man who runs a fishing program for disabled children. He gets no public funding and donates hundreds of days a year to the community. MLO is told that his story was cancelled too by Lateline.

Monkiewicz tells MLO, “Fishing must be deemed a vile subject to the 40 per cent of the ABC – who admit voting Greens. I accept that my program will never make it to air, but I hope that the next production offering public broadcasters free content won’t be ignored.”

In an email dated August 29 2016, ABC wrote to Raw Fishing, having received the trailer pitch, “After consideration, unfortunately the Acquisitions team has decided to pass on this series. This decision is not necessarily an indication of the quality of the series, nor the potential for success. We often have to make decisions to pass on content due to the constraints of our schedule.”

So… the quality is good and it could be successful, but you don’t want it? Yes, that makes sense.

In an email dated June 7 2016, Senior Program Assessment at SBS Television replied to Raw Fishing’s trailer submission, “Thank you for your submission to SBS however I’m afraid we cannot accommodate your series on our channels. Fishing and angling and water sports are not subject areas we are focussing on within our content offering.”

Raw Fishing replied stating it had been in discussion with Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, a peak representative body for recreational fisheries in NSW. They specifically mentioned the significance of ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse’ (CALD Communities).

“This is especially relevant to member of the CALD community, who are some of the keenest recreational anglers in Australia. The Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW believes that Raw Fishing broadcast on SBS that promotes recreational fishing will be great interest to the CALD community and will hopefully encourage greater engagement with other anglers and raise awareness of safety issues.”

Response? “Raw Fishing is not something we can acquire for SBS TV,” SBS TV Channel Manager.

Last week, Peter Dutton applauded the cancellation of Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s show.

Why aren’t more politicians speaking up?

Recently, the ABC’s ‘You Can’t Ask That’ series ran interviews with several recovering ice addicts. They talked in great detail about the affect drugs have had on their lives. A woman, from Melbourne declared that having sex on ice was “out of this world”. She went on to paint a vivid description that MLO won’t repeat.

It reminded me of days gone by when reporting on eating disorders and suicide was irresponsible, before guidelines were put in place.

It left me wondering, why on earth is the ABC running a TV series glamorising ice? Are we not all aware of the huge impact this evil drug is having on human lives and the destruction it is having on communities?

Why is this on our screens?

Frankly, I’d rather be watching fancy underwater scenes around the coastline of Australia.

* ABC and SBS were contacted for comment. Neither responded before deadline.

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