Australian Broadcasting Corporation has seen large cuts even before Covid19. This has been due to the increasing view under the conservative party in Australia (Liberals) that the broadcaster is not doing its job and also is pushing agendas. This claim has been denied by the ABC. Yet cuts and complaints have been growing over the past decade with the ABC choosing to take funding out of regional news and also foreign news services. While the government does control the funding it cannot control how the ABC handles the funding. Yet over time it seems that the Conservatives are less worried about direct attacks on the ABC. The future of the National Broadcaster seems to only grow more uncertain.
Steady Decrease Of Funding:
Decreasing the ABC funding has become a political fight in Australia. The Australian government funds the enterprise yet to support the news independence cannot control the stories. Foreign governments have questioned if the ABC pushes the agenda of the Australian government while the Australian government has often fought the ABC. Working against government both political and department interests is not something that the ABC is against. It reported the early environmental movement and also the abuses occurring during Defense operations. This has seen the offices of the ABC raided and the broadcaster taken to court.
These actions against the Australian government and the growing belief in some circles that the broadcaster is not neutral has motivated moves to defund it. Other media outlets also complain that it can get away with actions that a commercial media enterprise could not do. That it is able to waste taxpayer money on projects that people do not really want. However defenders of the ABC state that is a key reason why it must keep being funded. They claim that it does projects that never would be reached by the decreasing media landscape within Australia. That the people of Australia deserve to have a healthy media landscape and that the government should fund this. This view however seems to be failing to gain support with the Liberal party considering part or full privatization.
Grand Visions Of The Future
The ABC likes to think of itself as a crucial part of how Australia functions. That its programs and services reach everyone in the nation and that it provides a large service to the wider nation. ABC offers a 24hour news channel, children’s education and also cultural programming and shows like most commercial networks. It also has a large amount of radio assets and a website that receives a large amount of traffic. With new technologies the ABC has tried to adopt and adapt to them. Projects focusing on climate change and other social movements have become core elements of ABC programming drawing a large amount of criticism but also support. This seems to be a accepted part of the future operations and is not something that the corporation wishes to move away from.
With the growing concern with fake news and propaganda the ABC has tried to position itself as a great source of the truth. There was a hope that it could become the bedrock of the truth and help conversations in the nation. With trust issues and becoming part of a political struggle it has become harder to justify this role. Many individuals are worried that the ABC does not seek to become neutral but instead push certain conversations and ideas. Another concern is that the national broadcaster often acts against Australian interests. Investigations that cause economic loss such as the livestock scandal and also the focus on the department of defense are cited.
Other Australian Media Reaching International Audiences:
Skynews Australia is reaching a growing audience. American news and current affairs from a direct perspective is a compelling feature of the programs. Online it is not uncommon to see individuals from Canada, US and UK commenting on Sky News Australia. This could due to a willingness from Sky News Australia to say forbidden positions in the international countries. The ABC meanwhile finds itself defeated by American media and the larger BBC. Part of this could be due to international media holding similar views and running similar stories that out shine the ABC. Sometimes a news story or program from the ABC will reach international audiences however this is often due to a very controversial position and anger directed at the broadcaster.
For print media the situation in Australia like a large amount of the world is bad. Despite this Australian content creators are becoming part of the alternative media. Australian voices can be heard in left wing and right wing media circles. Podcasts and online business’s are launched and joined by Australians in Australia. For a population smaller then Canada and many European countries the cultural pull of Australians is quite large and some think that it is growing. With many regarding Australian culture as more right wing some would celebrate this with others having a growing concern.
What will happen to the ABC will come down to what actions the broadcaster takes. Government reaction to those actions will also be crucial. At the moment it seems that the broadcaster is attempting to wind back journalists twitter usage and comments that are deemed unprofessional. If a focus on professionalism will work is something that remains uncertain.