I am not a massive sports fan but I decided to join in on the bandwagon and watch the Australian Open final on Sunday. About three quarters into the match Channel 7 decided to delay the show and play repeat footage for over four minutes with commentators informing viewers that there was a protest interruption. No one watching the national/international broadcast was able to see what occurred in the stadium. Of course, after the match all viewers pulled out their phones and googled what actually happened.
A group of protestors decided to use this perfect opportunity to show support for the refugees suffering at Manus Island. A bunch of 6-8 people wore t-shirts with the slogan ‘Australian Open for Refugees’ and the hashtag: #shutdownmanus. They also put up a giant banner on the barriers near the players and a protestor jumped down and ran onto the court. All of this was hidden from viewers until the following days news report.
I think its interesting to think is whether Channel 7 actually did the right thing not broadcasting the content? I would go so far to say that it almost made them come across as Tony Abbott supporters and in support of the no refugee policy. Of course it has to be considered that any other protest that could have been for the wrong cause would have been blurred in the same way, and that there is a standard set of procedures in place for this kind of thing. Even so the protest was quite hidden from the main news report – tennis seems to be a more important issue after all.
It was interesting to see the different responses from online platforms. Vice magazine ran an article with a headline that said “Tennis Fans Didn’t Understand Last Night’s Protest.” This title was much to do with the response of viewers actually in the stadium. The audience didn’t even get the chance to see what the protestors were supporting and instead just booed them out of the stadium. A pretty depressing moment for mankind when you ‘boo’ at people supporting the wellbeing of other human beings just because your more concerned about sport. The question is, would half of those yuppies still boo’d if they knew what actually went down? And also was everyone else watching the TV at home, led to believe that the protest was wrong all because we didn’t see the protest itself and just heard the ‘boos’? This is the interesting effect media and regulation has on our perception on media issues.
Pedestrian TV drew on the same points I made, with the article headline “Here’s the Australian Open Protest Channel 7 Didn’t Show You” which emphasises this idea that they were withholding the truth from their audience.
The Sydney Morning Herald went for fact over controversy and went with the headline “Australian Open: Protestors draw attention to detainees on Manus Island.” However they do make claim to only mentioning the fact that the protestors got arrested and what they got arrested for. Jake Niall also makes at interesting effort at only mentioning the two protestors who happened to both be from “Brunswick” and ignoring the other five or so. As if to give some assumption that all the crazy pro-human rights people are from the no good North. Mind you this gal writing this post is from the no good North and I totally agree with the protestors actions.
In the end people are going to choose what information they want to process. Just like I discussed in my previous post about meme theory. Information is absorbed by everyone differently, if someone already feels a certain way about a certain topic, the way they taken in new information will be altered.