Industry body Free TV Australia has issued a statement denying claims it was responsible for having a Father’s Day ad pulled off the commercial networks over the weekend.
The ad, by Christian group Dads4Kids, aims to promote the role fathers play in their kids’ lives. The group denies the ad or its agenda is anti-gay marriage, despite media claims to the contrary.
Dads4Kids claimed it had run similar ads for the past 15 years without any problems.
The ad (which you can check out below) features a young father singing to his child. However, media reports on The Australian over the weekend said the TVC was not fit to be broadcast after Free TV Australia informed Dads4Kids it “likely contained political matter”.
However, in a statement to media today, Free TV said reports it had “blocked or banned” the ad were “incorrect”.
“The advertiser was requested, but declined, to add an identification tag to the commercial to comply with Schedule 2 of the Broadcasting Services Act,” the statement, sent to B&T, read.
“The Broadcasting Services Act requires broadcasters to ensure than commercials that contain ‘political matter’ identify the body responsible for the commercial, including the speakers in the commercial.
“Political matter is defined as ‘any matter that appears to comment on, encourage participation in or attempt to influence a certain outcome within a political process’. Recent decisions of the ACMA require broadcasters to consider the content of websites referred to in the commercial when deciding whether a commercial contains political matter.”
In a statement posted online, the Dads4Kids said for the last 15 years the majority of free-to-air TV networks had “graciously run these ads for free as a Community Service Announcement up until now”.
Spokesman Ben Pratt said: “These television commercials are simply a gentle encouragement to Australian dads, and an affirmation that they are an important figure in the lives of their children,” spokesman Ben Pratt said.
“The adverts have been enthusiastically accepted and many TV stations play them all year long as a community service. They are always released in the lead up to Father’s Day. Unfortunately what is a simple Father’s Day message has now become a ‘political’ statement.
“It is extraordinary that this is where we have come to as a country; we can no longer celebrate Father’s Day without being forced to look at it through the lens of the same-sex marriage debate. It’s a tragedy that a political motive is now implied in any mention of fatherhood. Not everything is about same-sex marriage.”