Response to Crikey’s questions regarding tweets by Scott McIntyre
1) Why did the minister comment on what amounted to personal tweets by a SBS journalist? Was he concerned about the pressure this would put on SBS to act?
Answer: The tweets by Mr McIntyre were made on his Twitter account which clearly identified him as an SBS reporter and which he used as part of his work at SBS to report on football. The comments were so offensive that they deserved the widespread condemnation that they received.
2) Did the minister have contact with SBS before McIntyre's sacking over the tweets?
Answer: Yes as soon as I was made aware of the tweets by Mr McIntyre I drew them to the attention of the Managing Director Mr Ebeid who then investigated the matter. The management of SBS however, not the Government, is responsible for staffing decisions at SBS.
3) Does the minister have concerns about the fact McIntyre was sacked? Does he believe this impedes on McIntyre's political freedom of speech?
Answer: Mr McIntyre, as a private citizen, is entitled to express his political views, but in his capacity as a reporter employed by SBS he has to comply with, and face the consequences of ignoring, the SBS social media protocol (available online here), a number of provisions of which were breached by him with his offensive tweets.