A complaint to the communications regulator that The ABC’s Dumb Dunk and Racist series was “biased against Mainstream Australians” by a West Australian viewer has been thrown out.
The complaint was made to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) after the January 25 Broadcast of an episode of Joe Hildebrand’s satirical documentary and alleged the program was “anti-Australian” and would leave viewers thinking that white Australians were all “murderers, rapists, child stealers, STD spreaders and suppliers of alcohol”.
I recently viewed a show called Dumb Drunk and Racist which was broadcast by the ABC,” wrote the complainant.
“I found this program to be biased against mainstream Australians to a point where I had to write a complaint to the ABC.
“Their response was nothing short of tripe suggesting the show was satire. This is not satire, it is presented by a person who is, in my opinion, anti-Australian and who, in my opinion, is the epitome of what he is trying to expose.”
The complainant also said that present day Australians should not be held accountable for past misdeeds against the Aboriginal population after it was raised during the episode where host Hildebrand took four indian nationals to Alice Springs.
“Neither myself or members of my family, extended family or friends are responsible for any of those actions,” he wrote.
“In truth it was previous governments and religious leaders who undertook to promote those atrocities.”
However ACMA, which is obliged to investigate all valid complaints, did not agree, finding the ABC did not breach the public broadcaster’s code of practice.
“The context of the program is significant – as noted above, it set out to explore and test a reportedly held perception (overseas) that Australians drink too much and are unintelligent and racist,” the authority wrote in it’s findings.
“Noting this context, viewers would likely have understood that references to this view and other challenging perceptions within the program was employed, in general terms to elicit discussion and challenge the perceptions in question.”
In its response to the complaint the ABC pointed out the subject matter was intended to be controversial and was making a point about opening up discussion about racism in Australian society.
“While the name and the style of the program are light-hearted and entertaining, the subject matter is serious and the content sometimes confronting. The ABC makes no apologies for that. Racism is corrosive and damaging for our own society and the perception that Australia is racist undermines our national interest in our relations with our most important neighbours and trading partners,” the ABC wrote in its submission to ACMA.
“The series holds a mirror up to our own society and hopefully will both entertain the audience and stimulate a wider and deeper discussion about our national character.”