Tuesday, August 28, 2018

International broadcasting: not so simple as ABC

a followup to Australian senate rejects bill to restore ABC shortwave, posted 27 August 2018

Australia’s international voice, once strong, influential and broadcast across much of the Asia-Pacific, has become little more than a croak into the ether.

Substantial cuts to funding, waning government commitment, changing national priorities, and digital disruption have resulted in Australia becoming something akin to a fringe broadcaster at a time when our region faces sweeping geopolitical, social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Despite punishing financial and staffing “efficiencies”, particularly since 2014, the national broadcaster still manages to transmit a 24/7 digital multi-platform international service (radio, television, and online) to the region. But the ABC’s role, impact, and commitment to international audiences has been diminishing for two decades now, and markedly so in recent years.

The model that has sustained almost 80 years of Australian international broadcasting is no longer up to the task, and its effectiveness – as prescribed by the ABC Charter – must now be seriously questioned. Our ability to project a vision of ourselves to the Asia-Pacific region has undeniably diminished with the decline of the ABC’s international service.

The Australian Government is currently in the midst of a Review of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia-Pacific which is assessing the reach and effectiveness of Australia’s media in the region. Some submissions to this review will argue for additional funds to be made available to the ABC as a means of rejuvenating and enlarging its now-modest international broadcasting effort.

Additional story at the interpreter: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/international-broadcasting-not-so-simple-abc