A still from the Censordyne ad.
Qantas has put the kybosh on online activist group GetUp's latest anti-censorship campaign, refusing to run the "Censordyne" ad on its flights.
Simon Sheikh, chief executive of GetUp, said the group had planned to run the parody ad on all Qantas domestic flights into Canberra next month to ensure it was seen by politicians and their staff members around the first sitting week of Parliament.
But Qantas refused to run the ad, which lampoons the Government's forthcoming internet filtering scheme, saying it had a long-standing policy not to run "political advertising".
An ad made for Getup! as a joint statement to save the internet from complete censorship.
Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline, which owns the Sensodyne brand, on which the parody campaign is based, said it was considering legal action against GetUp.
It said it was not consulted over the campaign and did not endorse GetUp's use of the word "Censordyne".
"GSK are currently considering its options in relation to any potential action regarding this matter," a GlaxoSmithKline spokesman said.
Censordyne promises to offer "unproven, ineffective relief from internet nasties", protection "against fast internet" and a "fresh multimillion-dollar flavour".
The campaign's website includes a Censordyne search engine, which purports to offer a preview of what Google will be like under the proposed regime, which will mandatorily block all "refused classification" sites, including material that is perfectly legal to view in Australia.
Sheikh said Qantas's move was "ridiculous", given that it had already provided the organisation with a quote and was already running political news and political satire shows on its flights including The Hollowmen and The Chaser.
He said he did not see the difference between these shows and GetUp's ads as both were providing "entertainment" for passengers.
"It's quite ironic really that Qantas has decided to censor an ad on anti-censorship," Sheikh said.
Qantas has attracted criticism in the past for censoring news of plane disasters and striking Qantas engineers from the news bulletins it shows on flights.
But a Qantas spokesman said the airline did not broadcast "political material or advertising that is associated with a political campaign" and that "satire and news coverage are entirely different".
Sheikh said that, although the Qantas ad placements were initially the core of GetUp's campaign, the ads would still run on television, starting this Thursday on the Channel Seven news.
"We know that politicians watch shows like Sky News Agenda and Meet The Press, so we'll be making sure our ads are on those shows and we'll also be making sure that we get it out to the public on shows such as Channel Seven news," he said.
Even before the ads start running, the campaign has already spread virally online, with the "Censordyne" and "GetUp" brands receiving widespread plugs on Twitter.
A group of mainly smaller internet providers are now finishing their trials of the Government's internet filtering scheme and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said he expects to release results within weeks.
Senator Conroy has said the results will determine whether the Government proceeds with the controversial election policy.
His spokesman said last week that the GetUp Censordyne campaign "misrepresents the Government's position".Over the weekend the British internet industry awarded Senator Conroy with its "internet villain" award for allegedly hindering the development of the internet with his filtering plan. Senator Conroy beat out the likes of French President Nicholas Sarkozy and the European Parliament.
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