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Muzzling the ABC

The Coalition-Newscorp campaign to muzzle the ABC seems to be gathering force with proposals to cut the ABC’s Asian news services.  As a means of promoting Australia in Asia I think this news service is very good and not expensive – far better than the BBC.  The premise that pursuing “soft diplomacy” by means of a news service is sound but that can be advanced by identifying poor reports and working with the ABC to correct them. I do not believe for a minute that the Australian military tortured “asylum seekers” (and apparently now neither does the ABC) but hammering the ABC’s foreign news services into oblivion is a short-sighted way of dealing with such problems.  People in Asia like the ABC because it has credibility. This means believing that the ABC will tell the truth about issues and not just provide propaganda.  The “torture” story did have serious adverse implications for Australia and seems to be both incorrect and based on sloppy journalism. It is this incorrectness that should be the target of policy not shortsighted actions that disadvantage Australia and promote the interests of the Newscorp propaganda machine.

1 comment to Muzzling the ABC

  • Casey

    Tokyo Rose made the Imperial Japanese of World War II seems witless.

    ABC Asia too often embarrasses Australia in much the same manner.

    A central problem for Radio Australia and ABC Asia TV is that they are, in the minds of (all but their ex pat) listeners, seen as an arm of the Australian government. Particularly in Malaysia and Indonesia, this problem is very serious. Cultural context matters.

    Doubtless ABC Asia does some good by amusing lonely ex pats, and giving weary business travelers something to watch on the execrable TV in Singapore hotels, but this is surely not enough to offset the harm.

    If ABC Asia TV is to continue to exist, its mission needs to be redefined to NOT broadcast news or political commentary. Expose Australian culture by broadcasting Australian made television content in drama, comedy, sport, reality TV (cooking), lifestyle, etc. There is no shortage of material to feed a single station

    And then maybe some day, an investigative journalist from the ABC will write a book that expose the sad role of the ABC (and the Catholic Church) played in fermenting/creating the economically and socially disastrous mini-state of East Timor.