Report: Diversity Is Lacking In Aussie TV, With Network Seven The Biggest Culprit

Report: Diversity Is Lacking In Aussie TV, With Network Seven The Biggest Culprit
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Media Diversity Australia has released a new report, Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories 2.0, highlighting how white-washed our television screens are.

Media Diversity partnered with The University Of Sydney & The University of Technology to create the report.

While the report made it clear that each station has room to do better, some needed to do more work than others. For instance, The report has found that Network Seven is the least diverse network.

A spokesperson from Seven, told B&T, “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.”

The report found a bunch of interesting and honestly very depressing facts. For instance, Australia’s non-European population is at least 19 times greater than the representation on commercial networks, where it has no more than 1.3 per cent of on-air talent.

The report found that two free-to-air networks (ABC and Nine) appear to have exclusively Anglo-Celtic senior television news leadership teams. Other than NITV, which has an all-Indigenous leadership team, Network 10 has the most diverse leadership.

However, Nine is the only network to decrease its portion of Anglo-Celtic on-air talent. In comparison, The ABC is the only network to show an increase in non-European on-air talent.

A spokesperson for Nine told B&T, “We acknowledge the important work Media Diversity Australia is undertaking, and Nine supports positive action towards a diverse and vibrant media that serves our audience and reflects our community.

We have made significant impact within our business in relation to diversity and inclusion, but acknowledge that there is more work for the industry to do. 

“We have raised concerns on the methodology of this report that has failed to reflect significant diversity, particularly in its reporting of female representation. The failure to include, for example, two of the 9Network’s most senior news executives – the female Executive Producers of 60 Minutes and A Current Affair, who report directly to the National News Director – undermines the credibility of this report on diversity in the media.

Nine is a member of Media Diversity Australia and we look forward to working closely with that team for future iterations of the report to ensure accuracy within their data.”

Researchers could not identify a single Indigenous reporter or presenter at the Seven Network with the least on-air cultural diversity.

There are pockets of progress In TV news leadership positions, there’s slightly better gender representation, but cultural diversity remains poor SBS remains the only network board to have representation of Indigenous, Anglo-Celtic, European and non-European members. Its board now has two Indigenous members, up from one in 2020.

However, the facts remain we need more diversity on our screens.

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