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SBS Charter

Video clip synopsis – John Safran, Megan Spencer and Scott Goodings discuss the nature of programming at SBS.
Year of production - 2005
Duration - 2min 39sec
Tags - audiences, broadcasting, changing communities, democracy, diversity, identity, media and society, multiculturalism, radio, stereotypes, television, television programs, see all tags


SBS Charter

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Additional help.

About the Video Clip


The interviews with John Safran, Megan Spencer and Scott Goodings were recorded for the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

John Safran is a filmmaker and self-proclaimed media hooligan. Megan Spencer is a film critic, reporter and filmmaker. Scott Goodings is a self-proclaimed “TV freak” and walking archive. You can view their full biographies at From Wireless to Web

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


Students will:

  • discuss the relevance of SBS programming to themselves and the Australian public in general
  • compose a report on one day of TV programming in relation to the SBS charter
  • draft a personal letter discussing SBS
  • present a ‘live’ review of an SBS program to an audience.

Reading Standard: students view, analyse and discuss a wide range of informative and persuasive texts and identify the multiple purposes for which texts are created. They compare and contrast the typical features of particular texts and synthesise information from different texts to draw conclusions.

Writing Standard: students write persuasive texts dealing with complex ideas and issues and control the linguistic structures and features that support the presentation of different perspectives on complex themes and issue. They compose a range of other texts, such as feature articles, webpages and workplace text. They proofread and edit their own writing for accuracy, consistency and clarity.

Speaking and Listening Standard: students compare ideas, build on others’ ideas, provide and justify other points of view, and reach conclusions that take account of aspects of an issue. They draw on a range of strategies to listen to and present spoken texts, complex issues or information imaginatively to interest an audience.

The activities in this digital resource are relevant to the Interdisciplinary Learning strands of Level 6 Communications (Listening, Viewing and Responding standard; Presenting standard), and Thinking Processes (Reasoning, Processing and Inquiry standard; Creativity standard).

The activities are also relevant to the Physical, Personal and Social Learning strand of Level 6 Interpersonal Development (Building Social Relationships standard; Working in Teams standard), and Personal Learning (The Individual Learner standard; Managing Personal Learning standard).

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


The principal function of SBS is to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians, and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society.

SBS, in performing its principal function, must:

(a) contribute to meeting the communications needs of Australia’s multicultural society, including ethnic, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;

(b) increase awareness of the contribution of a diversity of cultures to the continuing development of Australian society;

(c) promote understanding and acceptance of the cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity of the Australian people;

(d) contribute to the retention and continuing development of language and other cultural skills;

(e) as far as practicable, inform, educate and entertain Australians in their preferred languages;

(f) make use of Australia’s diverse creative resources;

(g) contribute to the overall diversity of Australian television and radio services, particularly taking into account the contribution of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the public broadcasting sector; and

(h) contribute to extending the range of Australian television and radio services, and reflect the changing nature of Australian society, by presenting many points of view and using innovative forms of expression. (Special Broadcasting Service)

Classroom Activities

  1. Getting started
    As a class view the interviews with Megan Spencer and Scott Goodings then discuss and write notes on the following:
    1. Explain Megan Spencer’s comment that she hopes SBS will be ‘left alone’.
    2. From what they say, comment upon whether Spencer and Goodings view the SBS entirely as an ethnic broadcaster for the non-English-speaking Australian community.
    3. Comment on whether the SBS is of any relevance and interest to you. What is your attitude to watching programs with English subtitles on SBS?
  2. Drafting a report
    In pairs, research the SBS charter, then examine the program guide for one day of programming on SBS Channel 28. Prepare, draft, edit and proofread a report in about 350–400 words arguing whether you believe SBS fulfills its charter for that day of programming. (You may need to find more information about the content of some programs than what a guide listing provides, and also to view sections of programs to make an assessment.)
  3. Writing a personal letter
    It’s been claimed that SBS TV has no direct equivalent elsewhere in the world. As a ‘typical’ TV viewer, write a 300–350 word letter to a friend or relative living in another country, discussing SBS in comparison to other TV networks in Australia. (You may include the issue of paid advertising on SBS.)
  4. Reviewing an SBS program
    You have been asked to review ‘live’ on youth radio an SBS program such as Pizza, South Park, Iron Chef, MythBusters, or any other, in consultation with your teacher. Present your two-minute ‘live’ review to the class.

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.

Go to SBS Corporation Charter