I am a big fan of Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), but lately something on SBS has been annoying me. SBS is running a slogan of ‘one game, one world’ in their promotion of the soccer world cup. That is a message of mono-culturalism. SBS’s charter requires it to “provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society”.
“One game, one world?” How about one language, one world, or one god, one world? Ok, sport is hardly as important as language or religion in defining culture. So, how about one food, one world or one dress, one world? Cuisine and clothing are still more considerably important than sport in culture, but I think these examples makes my point. So there is no way around this. SBS is promoting a mono-cultural message.
SBS was created as part of Australia’s multicultural project of the late 1970s through mid 1990s. Multiculturalism has lost its currency somewhat; even the word “multiculturalism” is hardly heard anymore. I think it ran out of momentum partly because the problem is sort to address was much ameliorated. I never knew what to make of multiculturalism. If multiculturalism is an expression of pluralism then I’m for it. But I always worried that the real goal was to make Australia a sort of living museum of other people’s cultures, rather than our own unique thing.
Anyway, I certainly don’t advocate the promotion of mono-culturalism. You wonder how the management of SBS could be so insensitive to the requirements of their charter.