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ANC Australia calls on SBS to explain disrespectful reference to Armenian Genocide
MEDIA RELEASE August 16, 2012

The Peak Public Affairs Committee of the Armenian-Australian Community

SYDNEY: In an open letter to the Managing Director of SBS (Special Broadcasting Service), the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) called upon the prominent network to explain its recent "disrespectful" references to the Armenian Genocide.

On July 27, SBS broadcasted a segment on community groups who had suffered trauma as a result of genocide. The producers of the program approached ANC Australia to engage with members of the Armenian-Australian community in order to capture their story.

During this segment, SBS failed to properly refer to the events of 1915 as 'the Armenian Genocide', instead categorising the genocide as the "trauma many Armenians experience after World War I".

ANC Australia Executive Director, Vache Kahramanian explained: "This categorisation is factually incorrect and deeply disrespectful to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide."

"On behalf of the community, I call upon the SBS to explain its actions and immediately correct its stance on this issues."

Below is the full text of the letter:

Michael Ebeid
Managing Director
Special Broadcasting Services Corporation
14 Herbert Street
Artarmon NSW 2064

3 August 2012

Dear Mr. Ebeid,

I am writing on behalf of your many Australian-based viewers of Armenian heritage to express our disappointment for the chosen language during a recently screened feature on SBS World News.

On July 27, 2012 SBS aired a segment on trauma as a result of communities who have endured the pain and suffering of genocide. During this very important segment SBS failed to properly acknowledge the events that occurred to the Armenians as genocide. Instead, the events of 1915 were referred to as those, which took place during World War I. This is factually incorrect and extremely alarming, as the SBS misrepresented such a pivotal event in world history to your viewing audience.

Furthermore, SBS placed on its website a longer version of the interview, which was edited in such a way to remove all mention of the Armenian Genocide and again referred to “the trauma many Armenians experienced after World War I.”

The SBS has had a long-standing track record of reporting factually correct information with the view that all Australians “should have access to high quality, independent, culturally relevant Australian media.” The lack of factual reporting was not only disrespectful to Armenian-Australians but to the memory of all those who have endured such horrors. 

We therefore call upon the SBS to explain its shortcomings. The Armenian National Committee of Australia seeks to meet with you to address these concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Vache H. Kahramanian
Executive Director

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