UPDATE 26/2/11: Major embarrassment alert: I’ve been accusing SBS. I was wrong. It was the ABC.
For those of you who came in late: SBS’s 10.30pm news programme (“Lateline”, 23rd Feb) ran a recorded segment about the Christchurch earthquake that included a journo voiceover “These people have just been told their mother is dead” accompanied by a shot of some shell-shocked children.
I complained, got a fairly anodyne “bug letter” (for those who don’t know what I mean, follow that link). I replied saying I wanted a reply from the Head of News, and what were the contact details for the Ombudsman dealing with these issues and that they were in breach of the Australian Journalists Association Code of Ethics (for intruding on private grief). The reply to that, and my reply below.
This is how bureaucracies work – they just try and wear you down, assuming that eventually you will give up “you can’t fight City Hall” etc.
As an added bonus this letter below contains a) the usual insinuation that anyone who persists in complaining is “emotional” (read – ‘unbalanced’), and b) the claim to be being especially helpful when actually merely complying with a legitimate request for the Ombudsman’s details.
Thanks again for your email.
I am sorry but you will receive no responses to your emails other than those you have received from myself here at our department. However, as you feel so passionate about this (and also in answer to your question) if you wish to take this to a higher level, I encourage you to make a formal complaint and to do so it must go to our Television Ombudsman.
Please look at the following information at this link on our website:
On this page, you should go directly to the section marked Formal Complaints and follow the instructions from there.
What you have done up to this point is lodge what we call a Comment or Informal Complaint, and I assure you that all your points have been logged and passed on.
I will inform the Ombudsman that you will be lodging a complaint in the
Thanks again for your interest and comments.
(I am Greek, by the way, hence the name. No inverted commas necessary.
Perry for short.)
I replied, “passionately”.
Thank you Pericles.
It would be helpful if the information about the Television Ombudsman was added to ALL responses to viewer complaints (informal or otherwise) as a matter of course, so that people who were not satisfied knew where to go. Without such information, people might feel they were being fobbed off.
I am not quite sure that I understand the point of the Audience Response Unit as it currently stands, but that is my problem, not yours.
I shall contact the Ombudsman
There is no need to reply to this email.