Censorship of Censorship Ad….How Strange…

The Censordyne ad has been getting quite a bit of publicity lately. For those that don’t know, the ad was created by an anti-censorship group called GetUp, which objects to the Federal Government’s attempts to put restraints on the internet. It is a play on the Sensodyne toothpast advertisement.

As well as being quite a clever ad, it seems to have raised the ire of Qantas by being pulled from the company’s internal flights. GetUp are claiming censorship of their censorship ads, which, while ironic, could also be true.

Some are saying there are Machevallian forces at work with The Australian newspaper saying that Kevin Rudd’s former chief of staff, David Epstein, who is now head of corporate affairs for Qantas, might have had a say in whether the ads were run or not. He denies it and claims he was out of the country (you don’t have an email account, are on Twitter, or have a phone Mr Epstein?), but I am interested in the wider issue.

Why has Qantas banned the ad? Because of its political nature apparently. However, isn’t what Qantas doing also a sort of censorship? And where does it stop? If Channel 7 owner doesn’t like a particular ad because of its political connotation can he pull it? Yes he can. His nemesis of years gone by Kerry Packer was known for pulling programmes he didn’t like.

I’d like to think that any form of media – whether it be radio, television, film, the net or advertising would only subject to censorship that are reflected in the mores and morals of a society that is, at its heart, democratic. You would hope institutions and companies who benefit from such a system, would not then censor a person’s political opinion, especially if they have paid for it. I think Qantas falls short in this case.