Australian news, and some related international items

The Australian government continues its war on the national broadcaster, the ABC

The war on the ABC and its options for survival Independent Australia, Independent Australia

By Lee Duffield | 1 August 2020   Dr Lee Duffield continues his examination of the current state of the ABC and its future under a Liberal government.

OFFICIAL AUSTRALIAN state policy since 2014 on its public broadcaster, the ABC, has been to throttle it through withdrawing its budget by stages while abusing it with propaganda through Liberal-linked commercial media — News Corp newspapers, 2GB radio network and Sky News pay television. There is also a subplot that involves, while the ABC survives, pressing it to deliver positive messaging for the government of the day.

It is a changed scene since broadcasting regulations providing oversight or program guidelines were dropped from the 1980s, the same as with the former Federal Communications Commission standards in America. The present-day barrage of extravagant opinion-making on commercial media is one result — different to the ABC, which being publicly-owned has to retain standards of accountability and fairness.

ABC broadcasters know they have formidable public support. Audience research over the decades shows that high proportions of the population from all walks of life use the service, depend on it, like it and respect it. It is sometimes conditional support; they do not like everything, but it gives the ABC, despite the six years of official abuse, breathing space to fall back on prepared positions as it has done through crises past.

………. the continuing pattern of the ABC. It provides service on many fronts, often service the commercials will never give, provided by broadcasters consulting their professional values, like the journalists guided by received news values — new and interesting, important and informative with no snide agendas.


So why this hatred of it? The answer is that a political and financial ideology which preoccupies certain people is obstructing the rest of us just getting a good range of services from the ABC — value for money, Australian culture first.

On one hand, the government of the day believes in privatising economic life to the direct benefit of wealthier constituents so it foregoes revenue – as with the scheme to cut company taxes – and will sell off public assets where it can. Some might watch and listen to the ABC, but that clearly gets outweighed by loyalty to party, money and power, so selling off is on the books.

Secondly, government trades favours with corporate backers, in the case of media indulging the demands of commercial broadcast interests for market protection, by pushing down the ABC — “people’s choice” not coming into it.

The relationship is being demonstrated by the trend for conservative ministers to make declarations or announcements through 2GB or Sky, where they can get the easiest, most matey, often fawning form of interview. The ABC is much less favoured, as it is independent and still does critical interviews; they look for the new information, hold the speaker to account, don’t run it on-and-on.

It does itself have a small co-operative part in this game by giving away slavish credits. Where ministers will only talk with 2GB or Sky, the audio or vision has to be recorded for replay and credited to them by name; they get a free ad on ABC. That goes against the alternative, that often if you take an allowable short excerpt – and copyright laws give fair leeway on this – you say it was “on radio”, or “on commercial television”…….,14161

August 1, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media

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