October 27, 1994 (written for H-list by Jeremy Jones)
ADELAIDE'S COMMUNITY and Educational Television, ("ACE-TV"), which had originally defended a decision to schedule a one-hour program produced by what the station spokesman described as "neo-Nazi apologists", has revoked the decision following a series of protests.
The film, which features English writer and Holocaust denier David Irving arguing that the facts of the Nazi Holocaust are myths created by the Jewish world and the State of Israel for propaganda purposes, was submitted for broadcast by Frederick Toben, who runs an organisation which disseminates Holocaust denial propaganda under the name of the "Adelaide Institute" (which until recently was know as "Truth Missions"). The video, called "A Search for Truth in History", had been shown in an Adelaide social club last year while withdrawn from broadcast by a number of planned Australian venues. ACE-TV is an open access community station which "has a charter to reflect the views of the total community, including extreme views", according to the station manager.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, which is the elected representative organisation of the Australian Jewish community, wrote to ACE-TV to record the Jewish community's "strongest possible objection to having your station serve as a vehicle for the broadcast of what appears to be neo-Nazi propaganda".
"To maintain that any intelligent understanding of the philosophy of liberalism, which includes the ideal of freedom of speech, includes the right of any individual to deliberately cause harm to another individual is to display a gross misunderstanding of the basis of that philosophy", the ECAJ argued.
Jack Hines, the President of the Jewish Community Council of South Australia, also wrote to the station arguing that "Holocaust denial is clear, unambiguous anti-Jewish propaganda".
He added that to broadcast the program would be in breach of the guidelines of the Australian Broadcasting Authority which state that "a licensee may not transmit a program likely to incite, perpetuate hatred against or gratuitously vilify any person or group on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexual preference, religion or physical or mental disability". Hines' letter said that "the Jewish community of South Australia includes many Holocaust survivors and that to present for them on television the works of a so-called historian (who has no academic qualifications) is only going to create further anguish for them".
The influential daily, the Canberra Times, ran an editorial favoring the broadcast of the programme, claiming that "in a free and open society the best way of making sure that inhumane and intolerant views or political movements do not take root, is to expose those views to public scrutiny and debate".
The program was scheduled to be broadcast on September 1 , but on August 12 the ACE-TV board met and reversed its decision .
Rita Freeman said that ACE-TV "will never allow the channel, or the cultural resource it represents, to be used to incite racial acrimony especially by a non-member of the community [David Irving] whose expressed views do not appear to reflect the opinions of the majority", noting that "the so-called 'search for truth' [in the film's title] is merely a denigration of the Holocaust".