As consulted with Brendan and Mozart, and as suggested by Mozart himself, I would like to propose that we devise a policy for Pirate Party Australia on Public Broadcasting.
Since I raised this issue with Mozart and Brendan, it has been agreed upon that it will be put forward at the next National Council meeting to see whether the Party can adopt a new policy in regards to Public Broadcasting.
For those who are new to this conversation, I wish to post some text from a recent paper I wrote, of my concerns specifially related to ABC funding and related concerns.
It is now clear that the Policy in which should be proposed and eventually devised for Pirate Party Australia, should not be specifically related to solely the ABC network, but a broader range of Public Broadcasting.
Whilst we prepare to seek to get this policy implementation underway with the Party, we are seeking some input from our fellow PPAU Members.
The paper composed reads as follows:
Why the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Must Remain Independent and Government Funded -
Australia’s media is intended to be as open and free as democratically possible. Recent changes to media and publishing laws in Australia, as part of the Counter-Terrorism Amendments lawslegislation, has restricted the rights of journalists and publishers to a certain extent.
Despite the changes, from a general perspective, free media still exists in its intended democratic form.
Restrictive totalitarian countries such as North Korea, China and Russia (among others) essentially control or very heavily influence all media entities and what the respective countries citizens are exposed to, through intimidation or state-owned media. The structure of free and open Australian media can not be compared, especially the ABC television and radio network. This is how it must remain.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is such an important media entity in Australia’s media landscape.
The ABC is Government funded in-full, yet it remains a completely independent media outlet which is not influenced by the Australian Government bureaucrats. However, it is influenced by law and bound to follow the law. Therefore, is only influenced by matter of what all Australian media entities are influenced by the outset law.
The ABC is facing continued Government funding cuts, accompanied by continued commentary, devaluing the importance of a Government funded media entity in Australia.
The Government-backed commentary is shrouding ABC funding with claims that it is receiving too much money and the national budget bottom-line can not cater for such funding.
The truth and reality remains, the budget allocated to the ABC is a very small expenditure out of theGovernment’s total national budget, for a independent and free media entity to exist in Australia.
It holds true that the ABC can make changes internally, to cut its expenditure. And it is doing exactly that. But the ABC needs to be very careful at what programs and scheduling it does cut, in order to achieve the required budget measures. It should not be cutting important news and current affairs programming as those specific programs play a major role in Australia’s media landscape.
What the ABC achieve with its relatively small budget at current, is astounding and commendable. The quality of content is excellent, on both television and radio platforms. All content is backed up by digital content to complement the main programming and almost all the ABC content is available in the form of free-to-download digital video and audio files.
Finally, we can’t stress enough of the absolute importance of the media transcripts the ABC provide; Freedom Publishers Union are just one media entity which refers to and relies on these transcripts from many ABC news and current affairs programs. The transcripts provide valuable information and content which is used as source material and research.
Many other media outlets, mainstream and independent, also utilize and quote ABC transcripts on a regular basis.
It has been suggested the ABC can be privatized and become another commercial-based network. This would have a massive and direct effect on the quality of its news content. Digital content for which the ABC has gained much respect for, is almost certain to be reduced under a commercial-based structure. The aforementioned transcripts will almost certainly also no longer be provided under a commercial-based ABC media entity. Again, transcripts are of fundamental importance for source and research information.
Current mainstream Australian-based networks do not provide digital content and transcripts for news and current affairs that rival what the ABC provide.
Mainstream Australian networks are heavily influenced by business, political and higher agenda. It’sabout commercial advertising to generate revenue to continue to increase profit margins for their shareholders. It is simply how the mainstream commercial networks’ business models are built and how they function.
Mainstream commercial networks also have interests in newspapers and magazine and all the respective news is essentially controlled by the very nature of the business model; Profits need to stay and advertisers need to be satisfied.
If the ABC were to be privatized, the entire ABC network of news and current affairs will undoubtedly fall into the same commercial pitfall. Australia can not allow this to happen.
Freedom Publishers Union strongly opposes any privatization of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It must remain free and independent of commercial influence, in order for it to continue to deliver quality journalism, news and current affairs in a non-biased, non-influenced manner.
Freedom Publishers Union will be lobbying Electronic Frontiers Australia and Pirate Party Australia in an effort to gain traction, momentum and support on this issue and present the facts to a wider Australian audience on why the ABC must remain independent and under the Australian Government funding model.