SKY News has published a full-page advertisement in today’s Bendigo Advertiser promoting Andrew Bolt’s show just days after local MP Jacinta Allan pulled the plug on the channel on Metro Trains platforms.
Sky News will start broadcasting on free-to-air television on September 2 in 30 markets across Australia, including central Victoria, as part of its partnership with WIN Television.
It appears the advertisement has today only run in one regional Victorian daily newspaper owned by Fairfax Media.
On Thursday Ms Allan, the Member for Bendigo East and public transport minister, directed that Sky News be removed from broadcast on Metro Trains platforms after the channel aired an unchallenged interview with neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell.
Conservative commentator Bolt described the ban as “political censorship” despite the channel only being aired on a loop at Metro stations as part of an agreement with a third-party advertising provider.
The channel could still be viewed on passenger’s personal devices with no restrictions.
It will be the first time Bolt’s show has returned to free-to-air after it was cancelled by Channel 10 in 2016 when it failed to challenge ABC’s Insiders program for ratings.
Ms Allan said Metro Trains immediately agreed that the Sky News content was inappropriate for public transport platforms where passengers had little choice but to watch the screens.
She said Cottrell – who later published a rape threat against a female Sky News presenter, and has threatened to execute political opponents if he gained power – had “brought damage” to Bendigo when he hosted anti-mosque rallies.
“This individual made his national profile off the back of inciting hatred in my home community of Bendigo,” she said last week.
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards was supportive of Ms Allan’s decision to stop Sky News from being broadcast on Metro Trains platforms, saying Cottrell “drove a wedge” through the Bendigo community.
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