TV stations hit back at ‘diversity network’ report

TV networks hit back at ‘diversity report’ slamming them for having too many white presenters – pointing out they’ve failed to look beyond the news

Channel Seven and SBS have hit back at a report claiming that they lack onscreen diversity – saying the author’s methodology is flawed and too narrow. 

While all the main channels copped a serve from the Media Diversity Australia’s report, Seven were singled out for the ‘lack diverse voices’ on Sunrise.

Some of the networks included in the report have questioned the methodology and accuracy, with Seven having a number of issues with it.

Channel Seven and SBS have fired back at the methodology behind a report claiming that there's a lack of diversity on Australia's free-to-air networks. Sunrise hosts Natalie Barr and David Koch are pictured

Channel Seven and SBS have fired back at the methodology behind a report claiming that there’s a lack of diversity on Australia’s free-to-air networks. Sunrise hosts Natalie Barr and David Koch are pictured

The network said that the report should’ve included all of their programming, like reality TV and entertainment, and not just news. 

They also pointed out that they’ve taken great strides in recruitment to find ‘professionals from diverse backgrounds across all areas of the business’.

SBS also ‘questioned why its Arabic and Mandarin news programs weren’t captured in the data’ according to news.com.au.

The Media Diversity Australia report claimed that Sunrise's on-screen representation 'doesn’t even come close' to mirroring Australian society

The Media Diversity Australia report claimed that Sunrise’s on-screen representation ‘doesn’t even come close’ to mirroring Australian society

Sunrise is hosted by David Koch and Natalie Barr, with Mark Beretta serving as the show's sports presenter, Edwina Bartholomew on entertainment, and Sam Mac on weather

Sunrise is hosted by David Koch and Natalie Barr, with Mark Beretta serving as the show’s sports presenter, Edwina Bartholomew on entertainment, and Sam Mac on weather

Sunrise is hosted by David Koch and Natalie Barr, with Mark Beretta serving as the show’s sports presenter, Edwina Bartholomew on entertainment, and Sam Mac on weather.

The Media Diversity Australia report claimed that Sunrise’s on-screen representation ‘doesn’t even come close’ to mirroring Australian society.

The report looked at news and current affairs shows on free-to-air channels over a two-week period and analysed the diversity of the reporters and presenters.

It included programs like The Project and 60 Minutes, but did not include any regional news bulletins, which may have led to several non-white presenters being omitted from the data.

Channel Nine's Today show as also criticised, but received some kudos for hiring indigenous woman Brooke Boney as an entertainment reporter

Channel Nine’s Today show as also criticised, but received some kudos for hiring indigenous woman Brooke Boney as an entertainment reporter

ABC's News Breakfast (pictured) was acknowledged for having indigenous AFL star Tony Armstrong as the sports presenter

ABC’s News Breakfast (pictured) was acknowledged for having indigenous AFL star Tony Armstrong as the sports presenter

According to the report, Anglo-Celtic on-air talent was over-represented on every network with the exception of SBS and NITV, where Anglo-Celtic and Europeans were in the minority and actually under-represented. 

While Channel 10 and Nine were also criticised in the report, they did get some minor diversity points. 

Nine was praised for having Indigenous Gamilaroi woman Brooke Boney on the Today show as an entertainment reporter, while Studio 10 has Narelda Jacobs, who is indigenous, as a main presenter.

Studio 10 host Narelda Jacobs (pictured), who is indigenous, was mentioned in the report

Studio 10 host Narelda Jacobs (pictured), who is indigenous, was mentioned in the report 

ABC’s News Breakfast was acknowledged for having indigenous AFL star Tony Armstrong as the sports presenter, while their Weekend Breakfast show is co-hosted by Singaporean-Australian Fauziah Ibrahim. 

Jacobs has been an outspoken advocate for more diversity in media, telling SBS earlier this year that more work needs to be done in the area. 

‘For the longest time the conversation has been weighted, all white voices,’ she said.

‘And just lately, we’re starting to see the balance come back with women, people of minorities, and all marginalised voices but we haven’t quite got it back to balance.’

Channel Seven responds to Media Diversity Australia’s report

As members of Media Diversity Australia, Seven will continue to work with them to remove barriers to diversity, such as increasing the pipeline of professionals from diverse backgrounds entering the industry. Seven will also continue its close collaboration with the Screen Diversity Inclusion Network to deepen representation across all our content

Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values that underpin Seven and we have undertaken a number of steps to recruit more professionals from diverse backgrounds across all areas of the business.

Seven is the first media organisation in Australia to receive a citation as an Employer of Choice for gender equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and we have extended our strong partnership with UN Women Australia to participate in the Unstereotype Alliance, which seeks to eradicate harmful stereotypes in media and advertising content. As part of our reconciliation journey, we are also launching our inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan shortly.

People watch news they trust, and Seven is home to the most watched and therefore most trusted news and public affairs content in Australia, with 37% more people watching 7NEWS each weeknight in 2022 than the nearest competition.

Unfortunately, this report does not capture the range of diversity across all of Seven’s news, current affairs, drama, reality, entertainment and sports programming we show year-round. As a new member of Media Diversity Australia, we hope to work constructively on the next report to ensure that the methodology is more robust and the analysis accurately assesses a representative data set. 

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