The 7:30 Report’s story on Internet Filtering last night has been slammed by ABC viewers. In letters to the show’s website many equated the report with the tabloid journalism usually seen on Today Tonight and A Current Affair.

Here’s what people had to say:

I send my congratulations to the 7:30 Report for managing to imitate the shock and schlock tactics of both A Current Affair and Today Tonight.

Your story about Internet Pornography was worthy of the above mentioned programmes. You managed to completely ignore any alternative views, played upon people’s fears and presented very little in objective information.

I expect more from the programme that is meant to be the top Current Affairs programme in the country. At the very least I would expect some understanding of the topic being discussed.

James Purser

For a minute there I thought I must have been watching ACA/TT.

Concerned parent

A disappointingly bad report – you failed to mention that ISP-level filtering will be no better than client-side filtering problems when it comes to false positives and false negatives. That woman complaining about the government-provided filtering program isn’t going to be very happy when her kiddies manage to find porn sites not affected by the filter.


I had to look at my clock to check the time while watching this segment on tonight’s Report to make sure I hadn’t accidentally tuned into A Current Affair or This Day Tonight.Following the programme, I did a Google search on Dr Flood and came away convinced that he is just the sort of ‘expert’ one would expect to see on ACA or TDT not The 7.30 Report.


Not a very balanced story, where was the input from ISP Industry types?, Peter Coroneos sounded more like a plumber than a ISP assoc rep.

As for Michelle Fitzgerald (mother of porn seeking son) it’s google who suggested the correct spelling, not her ISP and you have to wonder why she didn’t have filtering turned on in google as well.


I watched it….I hated it. Your story was one sided all the way. Did you notice the Minister for broadband giving examples of countries that currently filter the net…and china wasn’t mentioned?


I’m a little disappointed you didn’t make more of an effort to encourage people to find a solution. I’ve used Webshield for a number of years now, and have absolutely NO complaints at all. Everything I need to access is accessible quickly and easily – but all the trash is removed. The media has a responsibility to let people know that there are effective solutions – not just give up because “your child might see the same stuff elsewhere”. What say we ALL got effective filtering – just think of the difference we could all make


In Wednesday night’s piece regarding Internet content filtering, Megan (the main lady representing the typical mother) commented that the home-based filter was useless as it blocked too much.Does she honestly believe that this will be any different with ISP based filtering?

If you base the filter on white lists (only what is explicitly allowed), you’ll miss out on most of the Internet. If you base it on black lists, you’ll never be able to block all explicit sites. If you base it on image analysis (detecting “porn” based on characteristics of the images themselves) you’ll block many things just because they contain skin tones.

If you want to filter the internet, then do it in your home. Don’t subject the rest of us to it – the last thing Australia needs is another backwards Internet policy.


I was at a friends place tonight when I caught the Internet Filtering story on the 730 report. What a shoddy story!

Point 1) Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not offer spelling suggestions for content typed in by users. It would either be a function of the operating system, software installed on the user’s local computer, or sometimes the remote web site – as would be the case for search engines like Google – although when I tried Google it did not make a suggestion for “fuching”. But I guess those facts would not fit nicely with the “Evil ISP” slant.

Point 2) If the kid had entered “Solving equations” and had been directed to a tit-fest then I would have understood the complaint but he didn’t, he entered “Fuching women”, in other words he knew what he was looking for!

Point 3) It tries to justify ISP based filtering on the basis that local PC filtering didn’t work properly as it blocked innocent content. In fact false triggering is a consequence of the filtering process itself, not where the filtering is done. At least if the filtering is done on the local computer, you have control over fixing faults.

Point 4) If enough parents were truly concerned about what their kids saw on the internet, it would be commercially viable for ISP to offer special kid-safe services. If parents are not willing to support those services then I don’t see why everyone else should have to suffer a filtered Internet.

Point 5) There is no mention of deliberate misuse of censorship powers the filtering would hand over to the government. Given the way the ABC has gone in recent years, We really need the Internet to remain free for the sake of democracy.


Click here to view other letters to the show.