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Analysis and Comment (52)

There’s more than one way to decode ABC’s The Code. ABC

The Code: darkness in the blaze of the Australian sun

ABC’s six-part political thriller The Code is shaping up as the most challenging political thriller on Australian television since the BBC’s House of Cards (1990). And, like the BBC series – and its recent…
Is the ABC biased against fossil fuels? The IPA thinks so, but it’s not really the most constructive question to ask. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Claims of ABC anti-coal and gas ‘bias’ aren’t backed by the facts

It’s tempting to view The Australian’s latest broadside at the ABC as just another salvo fired between our nation’s two biggest media organisations. But the coverage, based on an Institute of Public Affairs…
The ABC has a charter requirement to reflect the national identity – but it falls short when it comes to cultural diversity. Velovotee

Whose Australian stories? Cultural diversity at the ABC

Australia’s national broadcaster this week launched a rebranding campaign for its flagship television channel, ABC1, that features Australians from diverse cultural backgrounds. But if you look at the…
The latest cuts are hardly surprising, except perhaps in their severity. Pedro Vezini

Cut here: reshaping the ABC

Monday’s announcement that the ABC will make 80 positions redundant is just the latest move in an enforced process of change to the public service broadcaster. It has a long way yet to run. The announcement…
The new radio service will benefit residents of Warlpiri Country, in the Northern Territory. Rusty Stewart

The ABC’s Aboriginal news service is a sound idea

Some 40 years ago, on any remote island in the Arafura Sea, that stretch of water between Darwin and Papua New Guinea, if a group of Yolŋu were living on country for more than a few days there would be…
Against all the odds, apparent “relics” from the golden era of radio appear to be undergoing transformation and renewal. Andreanne Germain

Radio National is a leader in cultural radio – here’s why

Do you value the ABC’s Radio National? I would argue you should. Over the course of 80 years, Radio National (RN) has demonstrated it is more than just a broadcaster. From its earliest emanation as the…
Getting along: existing ABC board members should have input into new board selections. AAP/Alan Porritt

Why merit may not be best for new ABC, SBS boards

Who’d want to be a board member of the ABC or SBS? The federal budget wiped 1% from the broadcasters annual funding and confirmed the Australia Network will cease its service. It is vital the three soon-to-be-appointed…
Maybe we should toast the ABC’s strategy for the digital age. Constance Wiebrands

Crunch time: is the ABC really spread too thinly?

If you want to capture a lasting image of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at the height of its powers, it might be a good idea to take a screen-shot of the homepage of the ABC’s website. But do…
Loss of the service will impact Australia’s international image, media diversity in the region and coverage of news from the Pacific. dithern

Scrapping the Australia Network affects more than the ABC

The termination in the 2014 budget of the ABC’s international television broadcasting contract to run the federal government’s Australia Network service, barely a year into its ten-year term, was hardly…
More people – and pets? – want to produce creative radio content. zoomar

RN’s Creative Audio Unit – what’s that all about?

ABC Radio National’s new Creative Audio Unit (CAU) launches on Sunday, with two new shows – Radiotonic and Soundproof – presenting a mix of fiction and non-fiction, essays, radio dramas, soundscapes, composed…
In commissioning a review of SBS/ABC efficiency, Malcolm Turnbull ruled out advertising on the ABC or changes to the broadcasters’ respective charters – but not budget cuts. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Triple trouble: will the ABC avoid budget cuts in a month of threats?

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
There’s a case to make for public service broadcasters' role as a preventative health initiative. Joe 13

Keep watch: your kids would be worse off without the ABC

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
Unless things have changed greatly in the last eight years, it would seem that the ABC has little to fear from a review of its efficiency. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

ABC efficiency review must not be a stealth attack on effectiveness

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey are among the federal politicians to have softened up the ground for funding cuts to the ABC. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Crude tone of attacks is new, but softening up the ABC for cuts isn’t

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
The public broadcasters inform audiences and shape culture – whether in drama, news, or documentary form. ABC Publicity

Public broadcasters play a major cultural role, beyond the market

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
That the ABC is too big and too expensive for an affluent democracy such as Australia is nothing but a myth. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Does the ABC deliver Australians good bang for their buck?

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
After many cuts to arts programming, the ABC has announced new specialised arts programming and a new Arts Council. AAP Image/ Tracey Nearmy

Will the new ABC Arts Council win back the arts community?

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
The Chinese TV market is hard to crack. Shutterstock

Looking behind the screens of the ABC’s China deal

ABC International has reasons to be proud of its recent “landmark” deal to provide ABC content in China. The deal, which will see the establishment of an online portal, also seems to make it harder for…
White Paper magazine offers ‘the distilled wisdom of RN’ in written form. Constantine Belias

Radio you can read? What to make of RN’s new magazine

This month, ABC Radio National (RN) launched a pilot digital magazine, White Paper, which presents “the distilled wisdom of RN” in a monthly interactive offering delivered free to your tablet. Newspapers…
The challenge for the ABC as it faces political opposition is to remind taxpayers of the good value it represents and of the public service journalism it creates. AAP/Dave Hunt

What would the Australian media look like without the ABC?

The Abbott government is preparing to cut funding to the ABC. The end of the Australia Network in its present form is one saving already flagged by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull. And while the…
The ABC has been insufficiently sceptical of video ‘evidence’ for allegations that the Australian Navy mistreated asylum seekers. ABC

ABC, forgetting lessons of 2001, pays for its lack of scepticism

The ABC’s handling of allegations that Australian Navy personnel deliberately injured asylum seekers has become nastily entangled with an array of complex issues. These include: the politics of ABC bias…
Rather than axing the Australia Network, the government should rethink our soft diplomacy strategy in spreading Australia’s message to countries such as Indonesia. EPA/Adi Weda

Lost in transmission: the Australia Network, soft power and diplomacy

According to reports, the Abbott government is considering scrapping the ABC’s Australia Network in the May budget to save money, ending its role in “soft diplomacy” efforts in the Asia-Pacific region…
Arctic Monkeys are certain to feature in this year’s most voted songs. AAP Image/MG Promotions

We love music: why Triple J’s Hottest 100 still rocks

Australia’s national youth station, Triple J, has come in for some criticism lately, with a spate of articles accusing it of homogenising Australian music tastes or excluding too many local acts from the…
Is the existence of the public broadcaster necessary for a healthy democracy in Australia? AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Do Australians really need the ABC?

Since 1803, when its first newspaper was published, Australia’s media have been owned largely by private enterprise. Except for the Government Gazette, which was confined to publishing official government…
The ABC will be richly rewarded for its decision to monitor its coverage if the analysis is robust, empirical and multidimensional. AAP/Stefan Postles

Beyond ‘impartiality’: how the ABC can benefit from editorial audits

The decision of the ABC to conduct regular editorial audits of its coverage of controversial topics is a great idea. The ABC has a unique place in the Australian media landscape. Learning more about how…
There’s no clear need for a review of the ABC’s operations – and such calls have a long history. Sarah Ackerman

What would be the point of yet another ABC inquiry?

Prime minister Tony Abbott may be a fan of institutional inquiries and a critic of supposed ABC bias, but he has nothing to gain by responding to calls for yet another review of the ABC. First, there’s…
Known for good political antennae, ABC chief Mark Scott has come under fire for his decisions around the Snowden spying leaks. AAP/Alan Porritt

ABC could learn from BBC realpolitik over spy leak fallout

The current stoush between the ABC and the government sees two competing perspectives on the role of public service media in play. The Coalition, on the one hand, regards the ABC as duty bound to serve…
Chairman of the ABC James Spigelman delivered his National Press Club address in Canberra. AAP/Stefan Postles

Attempts to stand over ABC nothing new, says chairman

ABC chairman Jim Spigelman has strongly defended the national broadcaster against political attacks and complaints about its competing online with commercial media. Spigelman said there was nothing new…
Does the ABC have any business providing entertainment to the masses? ABC TV/AAP

Public interest or public choice? Your $1.2bn ABC

Australia is about to have a debate on the role of government in business. That debate is going to be spread over several issues – Qantas’ junk bond status, Holden’s Australian manufacturing decision…
The news media and politicians often squabble over whether an issue is the public or national interest, renewing a centuries-old debate. AAP/David Crosling

Right to know: the ‘nation’, the ‘people’ and the Fourth Estate

We might forgive politicians for putting the “national” interest before the “public” interest. But when the news media makes the same mistake, it is time to be worried. The Guardian and the ABC rightly…
The full story of the Keating years – and their aftermath – is both far more complex and contentious than the man himself would have us believe in his ABC interviews. AAP/David Crosling

Keating: interviews for the true believers

The ABC’s four-part series of interviews with Paul Keating, which has just finished airing, displayed the former prime minister and treasurer in all his complexity, both at his best and at his worst. This…
The ABC’s Four Corners program investigated the people smugglers allegedly behind this asylum seeker boat, which sank off the coast of Java in September this year. AAP

Four Corners: human smuggling and the spectacle of suffering

Last night, the ABC’s Four Corners program fed us with yet another 50 minutes worth of emotional, heartbreaking and harrowing testimonies of traumatised survivors of yet another human smuggling tragedy…
Shows such as Kitchen Cabinet can elicit unexpected – and genuinely newsy – responses from guests. ABC

We still want to consume news – but tastes are changing

Earlier this year, the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott announced Australia’s public broadcaster would begin a search “to find creative ways to deliver news to children and teenagers”. In the announcement…
Wherever the leaders went on the campaign trail the media followed. How can we assess the media’s performance? AAP/Alan Porritt

Election 2013: the role of the media

In one sense, the Australian media did a good job under difficult circumstances in this election. The difficult part was how predictable the campaign was and the increasing inevitability of the outcome…
While reporters' political biases are always hotly debated, other biases remain - including too few voices from diverse backgrounds. AAP/Alan Porritt

Whose views skew the news? Media chiefs ready to vote out Labor, while reporters lean left

Most Australian journalists describe themselves as left-wing, yet amongst those who wield the real power in the country’s newsrooms, the Coalition holds a winning lead. But while the media’s political…
The ABC will be left with significant holes in their schedule after the BBC signed a deal to share their content with Foxtel last week - will they fill it with more local content? EPA/Andy Rain

The Foxtel-BBC deal: implications for Australian television and content

The ABC’s 50-year TV partnership with the BBC is at breaking point after a landmark deal between the British broadcaster and pay TV provider Foxtel was announced last week. Under the new deal Foxtel will…
BBC Director-General George Entwistle has been forced to resign, plunging the public broadcaster into crisis. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

BBC scandal: lessons for the ABC to learn

As the BBC considers splitting the role of its chief executive and editor-in-chief, should the ABC give serious thought to adopting a similar model? The ongoing turmoil at the BBC over an ever widening…
Any restriction on buying painkillers needs to be consistent with national privacy protection. Nils Geylen

For your own good? Privacy law and enthusiastic pharmacists

Earlier this week the ABC reported that a handful of pharmacists in Tasmania had engaged in community policing. They’re tracking the purchase of codeine-based painkillers, sharing information with their…
The Convergence review’s final recommendations have fallen short when it comes to Australian content. AAP/Dean Lewins

Convergence Review: missed opportunity with Australian content

The Convergence Review Final Report released yesterday appears at first blush to promise major changes to the Australian media landscape. The report flags the creation of a new communications regulator…
Mark Scott, managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Mark Scott on the future of your ABC

Welcome to In Conversation, our series of discussions between leading academics and major public figures in Australian life. In this instalment, Mark Scott, managing director of the Australian Broadcasting…
The way the Federal Government has handled the Australia Network tender could see it forced to pay compensation to Sky News. AAP

Is the Federal Government legally liable for treating Sky News unfairly?

The Australian Government’s handling of just who should run the Australia Network is manifestly controversial. And it may have put itself in the position of having to pay out compensation to the passed-over…

Columnists (5)

‘It’s our ABC’

On the day that the ABC released the results of a Newspoll survey on attitudes to the corporation, managing director Mark Scott addressed students at QUT with the message, ‘It’s our ABC’! ‘Us’ being the…

The ABC in China: Australian soft power?

The news that the ABC is to establish an ‘online portal’ in China that will allow it to ‘represent and sell media content across China’ has been greeted with understandable enthusiasm by the ABC. The ABC…

Research and News (6)