Channel Seven’s ‘Good Christian Bitches’ promo breaches TV codeSaturday, June 9, 2012
“Australian families will welcome the finding by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that Channel Seven’s offensive promotion for its proposed Good Christian Bitches program has breached part of the TV Code of Practice,” FamilyVoice Australia national research officer Ros Phillips said today.
The promo was screened across the nation last November during the X Factor grand final, mostly before 8. 30 pm when many children were watching. It sparked immediate protests and at least two online petitions with signatures totalling nearly 8000.
One online comment said the title Good Christian Bitches “is disrespectful to the Christian community and also to women. It is trying to use controversy to create ratings”.
Another said: “I cannot believe that this would go to air. Can you imagine a show called Good Muslim Bitches or Good African-American Bitches?”
The US broadcaster ABC responded to similar outrage last year, promptly changing the name of the program to “Good Christian Belles”, then “GCB”. By contrast, Australia’s Seven Network ignored the protests and chose to keep the offensive name. ACMA has taken six months to decide there was a Code breach, with Seven resisting all the way.
ACMA ruled that the use of coarse language in a station promo screened in a PG program before 8.30 pm breached section 3.9 of the Code, which says such promos should not contain “coarse language other than of a very mild nature”. This means that future promotions of Good Christian Bitches may only be broadcast after 8.30 pm.
“We hope this means that Seven will change the name of the program,” Ros Phillips said. “We are also hoping that the series will be dumped altogether – its ratings bombed in the US and it will not be returning there.
“However we were disappointed that ACMA did not uphold the most common complaint – that the promo for the program would provoke severe ridicule against Christian women,” Ros Phillips said. “ACMA ruled that while the program’s title may have been offensive, it was not sufficiently extreme to breach section 1.9.6 of the Code.
“Yet teachers tell us that the abusive term ‘Christian bitches’, printed in TV programs in daily papers and repeated in station promotions, is likely to be adopted as a catchcry by teenage bullies,” Mrs Phillips said. “The words can be used to ridicule and humiliate schoolgirls who dare to profess a Christian faith. Those words could do serious damage.“
Federal cabinet ministers Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek expressed outrage a year ago when a male MP “meowed”, forcing an immediate retraction and apology.
“The word ‘bitch’ is far more abusive than ‘meow’,” Ros Phillips said. “Any Code of Practice which allows the promotion of this kind of assaultive language needs serious revision. Senator Wong and Ms Plibersek – where are you?”
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