SBS Operations

SBS Learn partners with the Islamic Museum of Australia to support classrooms in understanding Ramadan and Eid with new teacher resource

Coming together in their second joint education project, SBS Learn and the Islamic Museum of Australia (IMA) have launched an Australian curriculum-aligned resource to build student understanding of the diversity of the Muslim community’s observance of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr in 2024.

SBS’s newest teacher resource, Understanding Ramadan and Eid, covers two significant milestones in the Islamic calendar for Foundation to Year 9 students. Developed in partnership with the Islamic Museum of Australia, this free resource promotes cross-cultural understanding and celebrates the diverse and cultural heritage of Muslims in Australia and Islamic societies globally.

Emily Yong, Education Lead at SBS Learn, said: “We take great pride in this year’s teacher resource for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. At SBS Learn we encourage deep learning of different cultural celebrations so students can better understand the beliefs and customs of people who live in Australia.

“Through our collaboration with the Islamic Museum of Australia, SBS Learn has developed a resource that shares insights to empower educators to bridge gaps, promote empathy and cultivate a deeper cross-cultural understanding of Ramadan and Eid, marked by more than 800,000 Australians, with Islam being the third most observed religion in Australia.”

This year’s resource includes visually compelling infographics suitable for classroom display, which provide key information about Islamic traditions to help unpack the customs and practices associated with Ramadan and Eid. Topics include the significance of Ramadan, fasting rituals, cultural and spiritual aspects, and the celebration of Eid.

For primary school students, colouring-in activities and worksheets also help teach students about the different moon phases and celestial elements throughout the month of Ramadan. For secondary school students, an engaging downloadable flipbook prompts independent research and fosters a deep understanding of the Muslim faith.

SBS Learn’s Understanding Ramadan and Eid can be used alongside the previous year’s materials, Observing Ramadan and Celebrating Eid (also developed in partnership with the IMA), and are accompanied with further reading resources, all free and available on the SBS Learn website.

Download here

Explore our content offering for Ramadan and Eid in 22 languages across food shows, recipes, movies, and community partnerships across Australia and more at Learn more.

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Social entrepreneur Hedayat Osyan wins Les Murray Award for Refugee Recognition

The prestigious award is now in its third year, recognising the outstanding achievements of refugees to Australian society

Hedayat Osyan, founder of a leading social enterprise that employs refugees in the construction industry, has won the 2024 Australia for UNHCR-SBS Les Murray Award for Refugee Recognition.

Mr Osyan, a former refugee from Afghanistan, founded CommUnity Construction seven years ago to support refugees struggling to find work or facing exploitation in the construction industry because they don’t speak English.

The annual Les Murray award is named after legendary SBS sports broadcaster Les Murray AM, himself a former refugee from Hungary, and recognises an outstanding former refugee who is raising awareness of the plight of forcibly displaced people.

“The Les Murray Award is now in its third year and SBS is proud to sponsor this important award,” said James Taylor, Managing Director of SBS.

“I congratulate Hedayat Osyan for his many achievements and commitment to providing work for a vulnerable community that needed a trusted partner to help them build pathways for their careers and livelihoods.”

CEO of Australia for UNHCR, Trudi Mitchell, said Mr Osyan was a standout candidate for this year’s award. “Hedayat identified a key need in the community and has since empowered dozens of refugees to become self-sufficient. The judges were impressed by his determination to make a difference in a very tangible way.”

“We help refugees thrive and become independent,” Hedayat Osyan said. “We want to prove refugees are resilient, hard workers and bring new skills to society if you give them an opportunity.”

“Winning the Les Murray Award was the most exciting and happy moment,” Mr Osyan said. “I really admire Les Murray’s work in Australia. He made a huge contribution to Australian media and to other refugees. Being selected for the award is a huge achievement for me.”

Mr Osyan is from the persecuted Hazara community in Afghanistan. In 2006, his father, a high school teacher, was arrested by the Taliban and disappeared. When the Taliban attacked the family’s village in Ghazni in 2009, Hedayat’s mother told him to flee. He was 17 when he said goodbye to her and his two younger siblings. The teenager eventually travelled by boat to Australia and was detained on Christmas Island for three months. In 2010, he received his residency and moved to Sydney where he studied English at Marsden High School in West Ryde, before completing years 11 and 12.

“My father believed that we can change the world through education. I followed his advice. I went to Canberra to study politics and international relations,” Mr Osyan said. “Six years before, I’d been in a country that didn’t give me a chance to go to high school, let alone university.”

Since starting CommUnity Construction in 2017, Hedayat has trained 90 refugees from different countries, with 60 now employed in construction and four setting up their own companies.

In his spare time, Mr Osyan has also been helping a group of recently arrived orphans from Afghanistan to settle into school and life in Australia. He also secured a grant for another group of young refugees, so they had a place to play football and could access uniforms.

“They have a sense of belonging,” Mr Osyan said. “This kind of work gives me lots of energy.”

The Les Murray award was judged by Australia for UNHCR CEO Trudi Mitchell, UNHCR Regional Representative Adrian Edwards, SBS Editor of Australia Explained Roza Germian, and Australia for UNHCR Board Member Lynn Dang.

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Launch of SBS South Asian channel and SBS Spice, a new English language offering for younger South Asian Australians

Pushing the boundaries of digital storytelling, SBS Spice is for Gen Y with a South Asian heritage who want to shape their own cultural narratives and be informed and entertained via social media.

SBS Spice is an exciting new English language digital offering for South Asian Australians aged 20-34, spicing things up with unique perspectives on hot topics ranging from pop culture to politics, aimed at exploring identity, belonging and social change.

Amplifying diverse voices and showcasing South Asian storytelling through a contemporary Australian lens, SBS Spice will lead progressive, thought-provoking and tongue-in-cheek conversations to cultivate a vibrant and inclusive community for young South Asian Australians born here as well as newly arrived.

“SBS Spice is for the young and curious with a South Asian heritage who are active on social media, and interested in culturally shaping the narratives of where we come from and where we’re headed in a forward-looking Australia,” said Dilpreet Kaur Taggar, Executive Producer of SBS Spice, who is an Indian-born journalist, founder of South Asian Today and known for probing social nuances and amplifying diverse perspectives.

Driving video content and conversations on Instagram, YouTube and via podcasts, SBS Spice will tackle complex issues such as identity, gender equality and mental health, as well as provide entertainment and the latest in pop culture. Hosted by Taggar and Suhayla Sharif, a Bollywood obsessed Australian-Fijian journalist, it will feature the following audio-visual segments:

  • Scan – short explainer series that delves behind the headlines of local and global issues to explore different viewpoints.
  • Two Chillies in a Pod – long-form podcasts featuring first-person interviews with South Asian disruptors and game changers from Australia and abroad, including former Editor of Vogue India, Megha Kapoor; traveller Priya Sharma; content creator Jeremy Franco; social worker Amar Singh; and actors Shahana Goswami and Ayesha Madon.
  • Spice Express – short-form podcasts focused on community check-ins to understand what issues are making South Asians click or feel ick.

The launch of SBS Spice coincides with SBS rebranding its PopDesi channel to SBS South Asian, a single destination channel for all things South Asian. Locally produced content in 10 languages is available live and on demand across broadcast radio, live streaming, digital publishing and podcasting, including a new dedicated YouTube channel offering a complete audio visualisation experience.

“SBS is proud to continue delivering on the outcomes of our Language Services Review, which is conducted every five years in line with the national Census to ensure SBS’s offering reflects a diverse and contemporary Australia and helps build a sense of inclusion and belonging for everyone,” said Pamela Cook, Acting Director of SBS Audio.

“South Asians are the fastest growing migrant population in Australia, with more than 1.5 million Australians speaking a sub continental language at home. SBS is uniquely placed to capture this depth and diversity across first, second and third generation migrants who belong and enrich the fabric of contemporary Australia,” said Manpreet Kaur Singh, Program Manager for SBS South Asian including SBS Spice.

SBS South Asian’s language programs include Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Nepali, Malayalam, Punjabi, Sinhala, Tamil and Urdu, featuring all the latest news, current affairs, entertainment and community stories broadcast live from 11:00AM to 6:00PM on weekdays, and 5:00PM to 6:00PM on weekends. At other times, enjoy extensive music playlists featuring all the best Bollywood (Hindi), Bhangra (Punjabi) and Nepali hits, with music in other languages to be added to the schedule progressively. A Telugu language offering launched last year is also available via podcast, website and social media.

For migrants newly arrived in Australia, SBS further provides essential services available free and online. Australia Explained offers practical information to assist with participating in everyday social and civic life, with topics ranging from tips on how to find a job to the cultural protocols of attending a BBQ, and translated into over 30 languages including Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Nepali, Punjabi, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

While Punjabi and Hindi are now among the top 10 languages spoken in Australian households, Nepali is the fastest growing. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census data, the number of people speaking Punjabi is 239,033, Hindi 197,132, Nepali 133,068, Urdu 111,873, Tamil 95,404. Sinhala 85,869, Gujarati 81,334, Malayalam 78,738, Bangla 70,116 and Telugu 59,406.

SBS Spice is available via the SBS Audio App, website, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and most places where you consume your podcasts. Sample the trailer here. SBS South Asian is available on DAB, digital TV (Channel 305), and its own dedicated YouTube channel, as well as the SBS Audio App and website. Each SBS South Asian language program also has its own Facebook page and a bilingual website, with audio offerings available at most places where you consume your podcasts.

SBS likes the reach numbers for Alone

Just this week, SBS announced that Total TV reach for its Alone Australia series to date has eclipsed more than 3 million Australians. According to the network, three out of four people that have tuned in for the show will then stay on and watch another SBS programme.

Also see

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This part is really interesting to me, I must be that 1 person who tunes in religiously each week but don’t stay on to watch anything else on the network.

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According to the Federal Budget papers released last night, SBS is currently exploring positive uses of AI in its operations to benefit Australian audiences and stakeholders. To support the ongoing development and use of AI, SBS has implemented AI governance, ethics and guardrails that align with SBS’s risk appetite and ensure human oversight across AI usage.

The papers also revealed that 95 hours of first-run locally commissioned programs will have been broadcast for NITV by the end of 2023-24 financial year, falling just short of 100 hours target, due to delays in timing of production.

The documents also revealed that the number of total digital registrations (including SBS on Demand) currently sits at 12.8 million, and it is expected to decrease to 11 million in the next financial year.

$348 million of federal funding is going to SBS in the next financial year, up from $334 million for 2023-24. Its operating result for 2024-25 is projected to be a $1.1 million surplus.


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Criticism of SBS and SBS Board re gambling advertising

The SBS Board has solicited advertising from the gambling industry. It is now addicted to that revenue to help cover its operational costs. The Albanese government has done nothing to get SBS back on the path to uncompromising multi-cultural broadcasting.

— Quentin Dempster (@QuentinDempster) May 24, 2024

It's a sad comment on our country that SBS, which was a great Australian initiative, feels that it must in any way interact with these internaet gambling hell-hounds and their vile propaganda

— Prof. Peter Doherty (@ProfPCDoherty) May 23, 2024

If anything, the dependence of SBS on advertising is what is limiting its amalgamation with ABC. Why would any government merge the public broadcasters to have to fully fund SBS operations. Is very sad the amount of gambling ads you see on SBS now, wondering if all the live sports coverage is only there so as to cash in on the gambling dollar, and not to benefit viewers? Much like how gambling ads is what funds sports on commercial TV these days. If so, is a very sad indictment and furthers the case for SBS to be fully funded by the taxpayer and remove all advertising. The Govt has been very quiet on the removal of gambling advertising, is like the late Peta Murphy’s government enquiry was all for nothing.

There doesn’t seem to be any real interest in merging the two, probably not helped by the objections that have traditionally flowed when it’s been suggested in the past.

I think rather than pushing for a merger, there needs to be a review (and possibly reset) of SBS’ mission - they’ve incrementally strayed away from being focused on multicultural programming for some time now especially on the main channel and I’m not sure how a food channel and Viceland necessarily fit into the broadcasters “multilingual and multicultural” purpose.

You’ve got to wonder whether having two public broadcasters (however funded) is the right way forward especially as the media landscape changes.

I suspect that commercial media have been in the Government’s ear over it - its clear that gambling advertising returns are significant and at a time when ad revenues are drying up, I’d imagine the sector would be pushing back on anything that might have a negative impact.

It’s disappointing that the government won’t do anything about it.


Good arguments.

As TV Ad revenue dries up across the whole industry, this surely would put a strain on SBS funding too. As such their business model is not sustainable in the long term unless they were to lean on the taxpayer further.

And as such, the Govt will no doubt argue that if the taxpayer were to support SBS further, it should merge with ABC to cut out duplicate costs of the boards, newsrooms, radio and TV production studios, head offices and all backend functions. With merged operations, the savings made would mean the combined budget of both ABC and SBS would not rise for the taxpayer. And under the ABC unbrella, SBS would at long last go back to be ad free and possibly return to core charter broadcasting. NITV would be a better fit on ABC anyway without all the Hollywood movies it runs now.