Irreverent comments made by The Project about Christianity may have ridiculed religious beliefs but they didn’t constitute a breach of the Code of Practice because they did not incite hatred against Christians.
In July The Project was discussing an apparent rise in UFO sightings across Australia.
ACMA received a complaint that the following conversation ridiculed the Christian faith.
The ACMA report states:
At one point the program’s host says:
But, is believing [that] a guy with a beard created the world in just six days then took a breather on the seventh day any more nuts than believing other intelligent life is out there and just wants to make friends?
Later in the segment the program’s host asks the interviewee:
So why do you think when people believe that they have seen a UFO, they have made contact, they get such a hard time from everyone else, yet people have some pretty out there religious beliefs and we seem to just go along with them?
Towards the end of the program, when one of the co-hosts says that she finds it very hard to believe in alien visits to earth, the program’s host replies:
That said, [the program’s co-host] does believe that a magical man created everything and that his son died and rose again from the dead. So we all believe strange things.
I’m going to get a lot of complaints, I’m going to get a lot of complaints for that! All I’m saying is, everything is a leap of faith, whether it’s believing in UFOs or believing in superstition.
In acknowledging the light-hearted and irreverent nature of the show, the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that the context in which they were made diluted their overall effect and that comments which merely convey negative reactions towards a person or group are not provocation.
A complaint that the remarks breached the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 were also outside ACMA’s charter.