A segment in ABC Comedy’s Tonightly with Tom Ballard did not breach the harm and offence provisions of the ABC Code of Practice (the Code), the Australian Communications and Media Authority has found.
The ACMA investigated complaints about the segment, broadcast on 15 March 2018, in which comedian Greg Larsen impersonated a public servant proposing that the electorate of Batman be ‘renamed’ to include strong coarse language.
The ACMA found the coarse language used in the satirical segment was offensive but was editorially justified and could be accommodated in the MA15+ classification.
During the segment, Mr Larsen directed offensive language toward a named individual, saying that was because that candidate had refused to be interviewed. The ACMA’s investigation found that singling out a person in this way was likely to have offended some viewers but that most viewers would have understood the remarks to be ‘comedic’ rather than a genuine attack.
However, the ACMA warned that there were limits to the sort of content that could be justified by a comedic context and that those limits were certainly tested by the program.
Key to the ACMA’s finding was the target audience’s likely familiarity with the comedic style of the program, and its broadcast at 9.00 pm.
Posted 10 August 2018.