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Speech: Let's talk about Sky News

Speeches in Parliament
Mehreen Faruqi 4 Aug 2021

It was welcome but not totally surprising to see that Sky News Australia this week has been temporarily banned from YouTube for sharing videos involving COVID misinformation. It is such a poor reflection on our media and political establishment that this extremist, conspiratorial, racist news channel is still considered normal and acceptable by so many. Only hours after the ban was reported, the Treasurer went on Sky for an interview as if nothing had happened. It is also such a poor reflection on our media regulator that YouTube, which notoriously has itself boosted the proliferation of far-Right content online, is better at holding Sky News accountable than the actual watchdog.

When I joined parliament, I made a conscious decision not to engage with this far-Right toxic news channel, and I believe that decision has been vindicated time and again. Sky News serves no purpose in our democracy—in fact, it harms our democracy and makes people in our community less safe. It should be treated as the extremist, dangerous, divisive news channel that it is. Predictably and laughably Sky News claims to be the victim of so-called cancel culture in all of this. What nonsense. Being held accountable for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories is not an impingement on your freedom of speech. In fact, the most disappointing aspect of this whole saga has been that it hasn't happened sooner. I could list the dozens of incidents involving racism, soft platforms given to far-Right figures and conspiracy theorising, but these are all on the public record. I hope this week is a turning point for people's tolerance of Sky News. We have to draw a line in the sand somewhere, and it's beyond time that Sky News is held accountable for its extremism and far-right toxicity.


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