Australian TV Station Bans All Ads With Links to Adult

Bob Preston
SYDNEY — A TV station owned by Australian aborigines will block any advertising for products that could facilitate the trade of adult content.

The station is called Imparja, and it's located in the city of Alice Springs, the second largest city in Australia's Northern Territory. The station broadcasts to 430,000 viewers across 3.6 million square miles.

The station's board decided last Friday to enact the ban. Outgoing Imparja Television Chairman Owen Cols said that he and his staff were faced with a choice between accepting every advertising dollar they could and "making a statement."

"I think we should play our role. When people are in depressed situations, alcohol, pornography and domestic violence do tend to be prevalent," he said. "The government sat on their hands for that long and didn't do anything, and the causes still haven't been tackled. There are all sorts of things — ring this number and you can download, and it becomes increasingly pornographic in nature."

Former Imparja CEO Dion Weston said that his old company has a history of taking similar stances, including a temporary embargo against alcohol-related ads around 1988.

"Influencing social responsibility was one of the primary reasons Imparja originally applied for the television licence," he said.

The ban comes almost a year after then-Prime Minister John Howard seized control of Aboriginal lands and banned adult entertainment and alcohol. Howard said he was trying to protect Aboriginal children from child abuse with his actions.

Howard was defeated last November by current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Cole said he hoped to open a dialogue with the federal government about the launching a new campaign to promote lifestyle change.

"We'll sit down with the Government and see if it is willing to create public messages to tackle the problems," he said.