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ABC must follow its charter

Enough is enough. The ABC and SBS are misusing their hefty taxpayer subsidies ($1 billion plus for the ABC, $280 million for SBS) to compete for programs against commercial broadcasters. In doing so, they are straying further from their charters, which require them to provide content not offered by other media. And by distorting the market and driving up prices, they are undermining the public interest, reducing the ability of commercial broadcasters to employ journalists to cover news and provide in-depth investigative reporting.

As media editor Darren Davidson writes today, the status quo is untenable at a difficult time in the industry. The Senate, unfortunately, is yet to pass reforms to bring Australia’s media laws into the 21st century. Network Ten is in receivership. And tech giants Google and Facebook, which disseminate news content produced by others, are taking advertising from traditional media. In May, The Australian revealed that the ABC was supporting Google, by spending taxpayers’ money on a nationwide online marketing campaign with the tech giant to push commercial media outlets out of search results during federal budget week. If Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is unable to persuade the national broadcasters to stick to their charter and desist in their commercial gaming, the Turnbull government should give them a level playing field on which to compete by saving taxpayers more than $1.2 billion in subsidies. As well as relieving budgetary pressures, placing the ABC and SBS on a commercial footing would force them to pay tax like other media companies.

Nor is this the ABC’s first infraction. It routinely uses its budget to replicate commercial online news services. And in April, Davidson revealed it used its resources to “undercut” commercial rivals to supply news to outdoor advertising company oOh! Media — a commercial role it should not occupy.

As News Corp executive chairman Michel Miller said yesterday, the ABC and SBS are determined to join the ranks of digital streaming services rather than cater to the unmet needs of regional Australia. It takes a serious issue to unite media chief executives to demand government action. Their call extends far beyond self-interest and is justified in the public interest.

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Not to speak of their extreme bias in reporting...entertaining only a left wing agenda!

Posted by Ronit on 2017-07-31 01:45:27 GMT