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Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan has defended her decision to review content screened at Melbourne’s train stations, despite claims that a plan to kick Sky News off station screens was a form of censorship.
On Monday, Ms Allan said a review would provide ''an opportunity to pause'' and review content displayed in a public transport spaces.
Photo: Simon SchluterOn Thursday, she announced that she had directed Metro Trains to remove the TV news channel from all city station screens after the broadcaster aired an interview with convicted racist Blair Cottrell.
“Hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community,” Ms Allan tweeted that day.
But Sky News claimed that the interview with the United Patriots Front leader never aired at the City Loop stations, which include Melbourne Central, Flagstaff and Parliament stations. Ms Allan was accused of censorship by conservative sections of the media.
“Metro Trains have advised me that following the broadcast of that interview … they did receive a spike in complaints about what was broadcast on the City Loop screens,” she said.
She confirmed on Monday that all content screened on train station screens was now under review.
“Metro Trains have already publicly indicated that they’ve had some hundreds of complaints on social media about what is broadcast on the City Loop, so it’s an opportunity to pause, have a look at the content that is advertised on those screens and we will complete that review in due course.”
This coincides with a decision by the Andrews government to lift the standards on advertising content appearing on the public transport network last year, Ms Allan said.
“We lifted the level of the sort of content we wanted to put on our public transport assets,” she said.
“That’s why, taking those factors into consideration, we are taking the chance to review all content that is screened on those TV screens.”
The review would also consider whether news programs are considered advertising.
Metro Trains has been approached for comment.
Ms Allan made the comments as she announced that a new road bridge over Patterson River in Carrum would be finished by the end of September, months ahead of schedule.
The road will provide a better connection between Carrum and Bonbeach, enabling motorists to drive along the bridge rather than detour onto the Nepean Highway.
The project is part of $588 million works to remove level crossings on the Frankston line at Mascot Avenue, Station Street and Eel Race Road.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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