Criticising the ABC not the solution to commercial media problems: ABC Chairman

Speaking to parliamentarians in Canberra this week as part of the ABC’s annual ‘showcase,’ new ABC Chairman Justin Milne addressed criticism of the ABC for pushing out its content on new platforms.

While I am sympathetic to the concerns of the commercial sector as it seeks new business models in a severely disrupted media landscape, criticising the ABC is not the solution to their problems, he said.

Milne continued:

“The ABC has been the subject of criticism by the commercial media since it was first created in 1932. The then media barons opposed the ABC’s entry to radio on the basis it would destroy their commercial stations. It didn’t. The same occurred with the advent of television in the 1950s. And the same again in the 1990s when the ABC was mandated by Government to use the internet as a means of extending it’s trusted, independent and impartial voice to new audiences over new platforms.

“Reaching audiences in a world of media fragmentation is a vastly more complex exercise than it was when Australia had just four TV channels and almost everyone watched them every night. The ABC has an obligation to ensure its content is identifiable and accessible, in as many places as possible. We do not shy away from that. Nor from the need to form partnerships with companies whose platforms are used by millions of Australians every day. These companies are now part of the Australian media landscape, no matter how some CEOs would like to wish them away.”

View the full text of his speech here.

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