ABC needs friends: Saving the people’s media

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ABC Friends is protesting against the privatisation of the public broadcaster. The group protested outside the office of Federal Liberal MP Julia Banks on the Burwood Highway in Burwood on July 29.  

You might have seen a glimpse of this media topic while switching through the channels on your TV or even seen it in google news or other internet news outlet. Either way, here’s the lowdown. The Federal Government has cut the ABC’s funding and the Liberal Party’s annual council voted to privatise the ABC.

The Liberal Agenda

The convincing result drew applause from former cabinet minister Eric Abetz, whose Tasmanian delegation voted in favor of the sale with no members voting against. Mr Manuatu president of the young liberals and Karina Okotel vice president of the Liberal party both  voted yes in favor of the motion of the ABC privatisation. According to the Sydney morning herald  Mrs Okotel told the Fairax media that  “The private sector produces content faster, cheaper and more efficiently, and to ask them to compete against the government is completely unfair. “The membership made a statement to the parliamentary party that, other than for rural and regional services which are in the national interest, in particular to have services in place to broadcast emergency warnings, they would like to see the ABC privatized.”

Mitchell Collier, the vice president of the Young Liberals said “There are several ways we could privatize the ABC – we could sell it to a media mogul, a media organisation, the government could sell it on the stock market.“Privatizing it would save the federal budget $1 billion a year, could pay off debt and would enhance, not diminish, the Australian media landscape.”

A Liberal’s Perspective

An outlook on ABC’s privatisation; A good number of reasons to sell ABC— one of the reason is that how much it costs for the Australian taxpayer by funding an organisation that for the most part duplicates services that’s already provided by the private sector. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Oliver Anderson, a local Liberal supporter said, “Sure, the ABC was there for me when I was young and it played a huge part of my childhood; Rugrats and Bananas in Pyjamas. But blind sentimentality isn’t an excuse to keep things as it is. Progress needs change and change follows progress.” He said selling the ABC will save the Federal budget an insurmountable amount of money and could help pay off debts. He also said that it would enhance and not diminish the media landscape. That was the take on a Liberal’s perspective; now let’s go over to the ABC’s current objective.

The ABC’s Objectives

  • Fulfilling an independent role as a comprehensive national public broadcaster
  • Being adequately funded by the government to fulfill its role
  • Remaining independent of government influence, commercial and private sponsorship
  • Promoting Australian culture in all its diversity

The Friends of ABC

Marcus said, there is a group that helps and financially aide ABC, People who dedicate their time and effort in supporting ABC. The ABC Friends said they represent the community’s interest towards ABC’s independence. It incorporates various independent organisations which exist in each state and territory to work together in national campaigns.

The Funds of ABC

ABC Friends is fighting to ensure the ABC won’t have any programs being cut-off or any more jobs would be lost by ABC’s lack of finance. How do they do it? Well by earning its income from membership subscriptions, public donations, and fundraising activities. ABC Friends receives no government funding. Marcus May, secretary of ABC friends, Victoria said, “The fund of the ABC is currently more than 30% less than it was 30 years ago. It has been cut by $400 Million in the last 4 years.” That’s a hundred million per year. Marcus says ABC Friends don’t care who’s in power as long as the ABC is being well funded. Sara Williams, protestor and a member of ABC Friends Victoria said, “This is about the increased lack of funding for the ABC.” Sara also said that ABC does not produce fake news.

 

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