ABC continues campaign to fight funding freeze

Following the $84 million ABC funding freeze announced at the Federal Budget in May, the national broadcaster has launched the ‘Future of your ABC’ webpage as part of its campaign to fight the cuts.

The transcript of ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie’s Tuesday 19 June speech at the Melbourne Press Club takes top billing on the new webpage, in which Guthrie addressed two ‘fallacies’:

“The first is that the ABC should be stripped back to servicing gaps in the media market, basically becoming a market failure operator. The second is that the ABC serves only sectional interests.

“Every day I’m reminded how important the ABC is to all Australians. Some commentators and politicians like to pigeonhole our audience as being of a particular political bent or social strata.

“In the two years since I’ve been in this role, I have been constantly reminded how wrong that is. Of course, there are the undisputed figures: the 12 million Australians who will watch ABC TV this week; the nearly 5 million who will listen to ABC Radio; the 13 million ABC podcast downloads that now happen every month.

“If all those listeners and viewers were on the one side of politics, there wouldn’t be much politicking left to do.”

The new ABC site also links to a collection of news stories, broadcasts and ABC research, including a recent Fairfax article, ‘Commercial interests out ot get the ABC’, and two Radio National stories, ‘The ABC of budgest cuts’ and ‘What good is public broadcasting?’

Veteran ABC Melbourne broadcaster Jon Faine took aim at Guthrie following the Federal Budget, telling the Conversation Hour:

“I’ve been here since 1989 busting my guts for a vision and a set of values and quite frankly I’m sick of getting it ripped apart because of the failure of our managers,”

“[Guthrie] has been remarkably quiet and reluctant to engage in what she herself previously has described as megaphone campaigning.”

“She says ‘No, the best way to protect the ABC is to work quietly behind the scenes’. And that’s obviously delivered a terrible outcome in the last budget round.” 

The government says the reduction is aimed to ensure the national broadcaster “finds efficiencies.” The ABC says there are no more efficiencies to find and that the cuts will mean job cuts.

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