Sunrise says the reason it censored an Indigenous-led protest outside its studios this morning was because the “offensive signs” and people “banging on the window and mouthing obscenities” may have flouted regulatory compliance.
A spokesperson for Channel 7 provided the following statement:
“We respect the right to protest as much as we respect the right of free speech.
“Some of the group were holding offensive signage, and some began banging on the window and mouthing obscenities.
“To ensure regulatory compliance, and bearing in mind the potential for young children to be watching, the decision was made to utilise a generic backdrop.”
The protest, of course, was in response to a Sunrise segment from earlier this week which pontificated on the idea of another Stolen Generation. During this morning’s segment, pre-recorded footage of Martin Place was played instead of the usual live feed (which has seen massive, excited crowds when the likes of Justin Bieber or One Direction came into the studio).
Indigenous leaders, members of the community and allies gathered outside the Channel 7 studios in Sydney to express their hurt and anger at the deeply harmful segment.
Protesters carrying signs with slogans like “SunLies”, “Stop Forced Removals, Bring Them Home” and “Stop Stealing Out Kids”. Channel 7 did not return further questions about which specific signs were in danger of breaching regulations by the time of publication.
Of course, it’s a strange world where white commentators with barely a grasp of the basic facts can discuss white families “saving” Indigenous kids with not much in the way of consequences, but the protest about said segment is deemed at risk of flouting regulations.
They really do just think of the children don’t they https://t.co/6o70nkMPa4
— brokeblak mountain (@NayukaGorrie) March 16, 2018
For some idea of the harmful effects words like this can bring, here’s what one protestor said this morning:
“[Host Sam Armytage] talked about how white families should “save” abused, Aboriginal children from rape, assault, neglect. Those words are extremely powerful, you listen to the words that she chose to say. ‘White families should save.’ White saviours. And then when they talk about Aboriginal people, we get the words ‘abuse’, ‘rape’, ‘neglect’, ‘assault’. I am an Aboriginal woman, and I’m a carer. I work so hard to make sure these children are safe, healthy, and in a happy environment. We all do. That’s the way our people work.”
Earlier today, Armytage briefly dug down into this hole, by emerging from near-radio online silence to speak out against the Courier-Mail‘s tweet.
— The Courier-Mail (@couriermail) March 16, 2018
“I understand I’m your click bait, but this is a defamatory headline. I didn’t make the comments. Prue McSween (sic) did. Remove it immediately,” she said.
That tweet has since been deleted.