Onscreen Fact-Checks for Sky News After Dark (Australia)

Onscreen Fact-Checks for Sky News After Dark (Australia)

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The Fact Bureau started this petition to Paul Fletcher (Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts) and

For most of the day, Sky News Australia offers fair and decent news coverage. But their opinion shows, known collectively as Sky News After Dark (AD), consists of little more than misleading reporting, inflammatory opinions and even outright falsehoods. 

Sky News AD has even publicly apologised for doing those very things in 2017, 20182019, two times in 2020 and not once, not twice, not three times, not four times but five times in 2021.  

But apologies (no matter how numerous) are no longer enough, it's time for action. 

Sky News AD needs fact-checks, researched and written by an independent and non-biased team, to appear on the screen when false or misleading statements are said. 

A successful country depends on a fully informed population. The fact that Sky News AD blasts countless hours of misinforming and misleading content at millions of Australians is a major hindrance to that. 

It's also dangerous. Consider the following... 

  • A survey found that since the pandemic started in 2020, hundreds of hate crimes have been committed against Asian-Australians. Sky News AD has broadcast hundreds of fearmongering and provocative news reports about China. 
  • Right-wing terrorism has surged in Australia, it now occupies a third of ASIO's workload. In 2019, we saw an Australian attack Muslims in New Zealand. In 2020, we saw an Australian jailed for plotting to attack Muslims and a different Australian arrested for (allegedly) encouraging terror attacks against non-whites. What do we see on Sky News AD? The exact anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-multicultural rhetoric that would fuel such hatred and attacks. 
  • Sky News AD has had many guests who spread that same rhetoric. They include Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Stefan Molyneux, Steve Bannon, Lauren Southern, Katie Hopkins and (perhaps most infamously) Blair Cottrell. There's even evidence that right-wing terrorists in Canada, the UK, the US and New Zealand were fans of the aforementioned people and/or the outlets they've worked with. And yet Sky News AD let them speak to Australia unchallenged. 
  • Since Sky News AD started intensely demonising Victorian Premier Dan Andrews over his handling of the pandemic, Andrews has received violent threats and his office has been repeatedly vandalised. It's worth mentioning that at least 2 of the epithets that were spray-painted onto his office had previously been uttered on Sky News AD. 
  • Sky News AD helped to stir up rage against Victoria's lockdowns. We then saw a violent anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne. 
  • Sky News AD very often mocks, vilifies and fearmongers about LGBT+ people and the policies that help them. Meanwhile, homophobic bullying remains rife throughout the country. 

How many of these awful acts were inspired by Sky News AD? It's impossible to say. Does Sky News AD do enough to discourage such acts? Not at all and that's unacceptable. 

Of course, Sky News AD people are free to say what they want. Onscreen fact-checks would respect that while directly counteracting the harm that they do by correcting/counterbalancing their wrongful statements as soon as they're stated. 

It's been proven that visible and well-written labels can effectively inform people and inspire them to make better choices. (It worked for cigarette boxes!) Onscreen fact-checks can help to decrease the hatred and ignorance that Sky News AD perpetuates. At the very least, it'll put more facts and information in front of people which is an indisputable benefit. 

Please sign this petition and let's Make Australia Factual.

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