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Sky News will return to Melbourne train platforms a year after the Victorian government sparked a war with News Corp after banning the broadcaster for interviewing the far-right extremist Blair Cottrell.
“We welcome the Victorian government’s decision to reinstate the bespoke Sky News weather and news service that is produced for the Melbourne Trains,” a spokeswoman for Sky News said on Friday.
Last August it seemed unlikely the relationship would be repaired after the transport infrastructure minister, Jacinta Allan, tweeted “hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community”.
The government’s reaction to Sky’s Cottrell scandal was challenged by Sky News, which claimed that the interview with the United Patriots Front leader was never aired on the train platforms, which only carried a news package.
The then chief executive, Angelos Frangopoulos, said the ban was “political bullying based on lies and misrepresentation” and commentator Andrew Bolt called for Allan to be sacked for “unprecedented censorship”.
The Australian and the Herald Sun covered the ban extensively, including a comment piece from Caroline Overington that said: “It’s about punishing Sky. It’s 100 per cent political”.
On Friday the minister for public transport, Melissa Horne, said following a review of the content broadcast on the City Loop platforms, a new contract for news and entertainment content had been awarded to Sky News Australia.
The broadcaster will supply a bespoke package of content for XTD Limited, which manages the screens for Metro Trains, and it will be played on a loop.
The content is not the live feed of Sky News and does not include any After Dark shows.
“We have strengthened the content requirements for broadcasting in the City Loop – to ensure it meets community expectations,” Horne said.
“This was never about one broadcaster or another – it was about ensuring that offensive content isn’t broadcast to the 90 million passengers who use the City Loop every year.”
This article first appeared on www.theguardian.com
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