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Taking the politics out of it, what should the ABC be doing with its reduced budget? AAP/Joel Carrett

Expert panel: is there a place for the ABC in modern Australia?

In the recent ABC funding debate, many have questioned what the public broadcaster is for. What should its role be in Australia’s contemporary media landscape? Some argue that the ABC is a market-failure…
Leading Australian media organisations launched a ‘Right to Know’ campaign in 2007, citing the erosion of free speech by more than 500 laws and regulations. It’s been downhill since then. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Suppression, security, surveillance and spin: the rise of a secret state?

I am reluctant to give more ammunition to Pacific leaders who regard Australia as some kind of exemplar in media freedom – in this case a bad example. On the other hand, truths have to be told: in Australia…
The BBC, like the ABC, has faced significant pressure to change in response to repeated debates over how it should be funded. EPA/Andy Rain

It’s open season on public broadcasters as ABC joins hunt for cuts

2014 is turning into a grim year for public broadcasting. In June, Hubert Lacroix, the president of Canada’s public broadcaster CBC, announced an unprecedented series of job cuts. One-quarter of the staff…
ABC boss Mark Scott is strengthening the broadcaster’s digital offerings in response to budget cuts – a template established by the BBC. AAP/Alan Porritt

Is this the beginning of the end of the ABC as we know it?

While Australia’s elected representatives argue over what then-opposition leader Tony Abbott meant when he promised “no cuts to the ABC, or SBS” the night before the last election, directly to the electorate…
By cutting back in regional and remote areas, the ABC risks sending a message that some parts of Australia are more important to our national conversations than others. AAP/Joel Carrett

ABC cuts a tale of two Australias: Sydney-Melbourne and also-rans

ABC managing director Mark Scott undertook the unenviable task on Monday of wielding the axe to meet the Abbott government’s cut to the broadcaster’s funding. Government cutbacks to Australia’s publicly…
Malcolm Turnbull and the government have been unapologetic after breaking a pre-election pledge not to cut the ABC’s budget. AAP/Nikki Short

ABC feels pain of broken promise: prepare for cut-price broadcasting

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a further cut to Australia’s public broadcasters. The ABC’s budget will be slashed around 4.6% per year, or A$254 million in total, over the next…
Having used security as a pretext to impose an information blackout on operations involving asylum seekers, the government is broadening its denial of the public’s right to know. AAP/Quinten Jones

Five reasons terror laws wreck media freedom and democracy

The Abbott government’s latest tranches of national security and counter-terrorism laws represent the greatest attack on the Fourth Estate function of journalism in the modern era. They are worse than…
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese worries that a depleted press gallery is affecting the quality of political reporting. AAP/Lukas Coch

Quality of politics and political reporting is a two-way street

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese recently bemoaned the decline in the quality of political reporting in Australia. Albanese is not the first current or ex-politician to question the standard of reporting…
While Victorian opposition leader Daniel Andrews faces demands for answers from The Age, the newspaper hasn’t addressed the ethics of recording off-the-record conversations. AAP/Julian Smith

Andrews' media accusers have some explaining of their own to do

It is a sad day when senior political figures steal a journalist’s recording device and destroy its contents, as we have been told happened at this year’s Victorian Labor Party conference. But it is an…
Are political cartoons a blunt instrument? The Australian newspaper played an important role in honing cartooning culture. Martin Cathrae

The Australian helped political cartoonists sharpen their edge

As late as 1976, in what must have been one of the last things he wrote, the poet and controversialist James McAuley asserted, in a foreword to a volume of cartoons by George Molnar entitled Moral Tales…
If Kiama residents want to know what’s happening in their town, the local newspaper is generally the only place they’ll be able to read about it. Gavin Anderson/Flickr

Without local papers, regional voices would struggle to be heard

After residents in the NSW coastal town of Kiama woke to the sound of emergency sirens earlier this week, chances are they grabbed a copy of the local newspaper, the Independent, to find out about the…
How did the media cover treasurer Joe Hockey’s first federal budget? AAP/Lukas Coch

The federal budget in headlines: a week in review

In the lead-up to the Abbott government’s first federal budget, there was one standout headline that stole attention from “exclusive” pre-budget leaks: WHY I’VE GOT A PACKER UP MY CLACKER In terms of tabloid…
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…
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch may still bestride the world like a colossus, but the world is shifting under his feet. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Book review: Rupert Murdoch – A Reassessment

In the late 1980s, shortly after Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd had swallowed the Herald and Weekly Times to become the print media behemoth that it is today, I found myself working on the subeditors’ table…
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…
DIdn’t see that coming: within a decade of opening, Fairfax’s $220 million Tullamarine printing plant was on the market, driven by falling print newspaper sales. AAP/Julian Smith

Hard times in the news game, but don’t write off the old players

After more than a century of a “life of plenty” with its lion’s share of a seemingly ever-growing advertising market, newspapers have fallen on hard times. The turmoil in the news media is not confined…
Philanthropist Graeme Wood has pulled funding from longform journalism venture The Global Mail, but is this really another nail in the Australian media’s coffin? AAP

Graeme Wood’s Global Mail felled by financial reality

There are no great surprises in the announcement by Wotif founder and philanthropist Graeme Wood that he will no longer fund not-for-profit online journalism venture The Global Mail (TGM). According to…
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…
New digital media entrant The New Daily injects a hopeful note into the media landscape. A screenshot of The New Daily.

A New Daily, new models and new hope: journalism’s silver lining

November is a month of two tales for the Australian media industry: one of hope, the other of despair. The arrival on Wednesday of the online news site The New Daily, and reports that The Monthly’s publisher…

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