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SBS Complaint upheld

′SBS

Dear Ms Fraid

The SBS Office of Audience has finalised its investigation into the commentary by Dr Yannis Varoufakis on the Greek Language Program, broadcast on 29 August 2005. Your complaint has been upheld. SBS considers the commentary breached Code 1 ′Introduction and SBS Radio′ and Code 2.1 ′Prejudice, Racism and Discrimination′ of the SBS Codes of Practice.

It is the view of this Office that Dr Varoufakis, an Associate Professor of Economics Theory from the University of Athens, is an appropriate person to interview or to engage with as a commentator on a range of economic issues. However, Dr Varoufakis is not a political scientist or an expert of Middle Eastern politics and therefore does not have an expert position from which to speak about ongoing tensions between Israel and Palestine.

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SBS would expect that Dr Varoufakis′ commentary be balanced by an alternative point of view within a reasonable time period. On the advice provided to me, this was not done, Therefore the particular anti-lsraeli line of his commentary could be reasonably held tohave assisted in the promotion of negative stereotypes about Jews and more particularly Israeli Jews.

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SBS would like to apologise to you for any distress this broadcast may have caused you and would like to assure you that Radio Management is reviewing existing arrangements between Dr Varoufakis and the Greek Language program.

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If you consider this response to be inadequate you are entitled to take your concerns to the Australian Communications and Media Authority. SBS is grateful that you have brought this matter to our attention

Yours sincerely
Sally Begbie -
Audience Affairs Manager

For a media report click Australian Jewish News 2 December 2005

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