Independent board appointments needed for ABC: Friends spokesperson Alan Knight | radioinfo

Independent board appointments needed for ABC: Friends spokesperson Alan Knight

Thursday 24 May, 2007
FABC national spokesperson Alan Knight

The Friends of the ABC (FABC) organization is gearing up to defend the ABC from commercialism in the lead up to the next election and is proposing a better way of appointing the ABC’s board of directors.

FABC appointed Professor Alan Knight as national spokesperson at its recent Melbourne Conference on 12-13 May. Knight will head an election campaig which will seek to “to draw attention to a serious risk of the ABC being pushed down the commercial track and carrying ads.”

Alan Knight has told radioinfo the Friends of the ABC is urging the government to follow the British model for appointing members to the ABC Board on merit:

“The conservative British PM John Major introduced new regulations to encourage the appointment of qualified people to the boards of public institutions. Anyone can nominate through an independent commission, There are strict merit guidelines… that’s what’s needed for the ABC.”

Knight says FABC has written to party leaders and has had a response from Labor leader Kevin Rudd saying a Labor government would implement a similar plan for ABC Board appointments if it wins office later this year. FABC is hoping John Howard will match the Labor offer and promise similar board reforms rather than “appointing Liberal mates.”

Alan Knight is a Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the Queensland University of Technology and an Emeritus Professor at Central Queensland University. He is a journalist, academic and a former director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.

Before becoming an academic, Knight was a broadcaster and editor; working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Associated Press, Nation Review and Radio Television Hong Kong. He was a founding director of 4 ZZZ FM, one of Australia's first community radio stations.

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