What would Oz look like without the ABC?

18 March, 2014

The Liberal Party of Australia, and current supporter Rupert Murdoch, have a long cherished desire to get the ABC under the thumb, or get rid of it altogether. It seems likely the ABC’s funding will be cut (along with funding for many other things) in the May federal Budget. During last year’s election campaign Treasurer elect Joe Hockey said any “waste” would be cut from the ABC’s $1.2 million allocation. The contentious Australia Network (a facility prized by Rupert Murdoch) is likely to get the chop.

The Conversation (mainly funded by academic institutions) today published an article by two news media experts who cast their eyes over the Oz landscape, minus the ABC. Their article included this:

“Without the influence of the ABC, this is very likely all that mainstream, free-to-air Australian TV network viewers would get in the way of “current affairs”: a light, frothy, occasionally sensationalised and prurient mix of human interest, lifestyle and advertorial content.

“This is not to criticise all human interest journalism, as it has an important and legitimate place in the recreation and entertainment schedules of millions of Australians. But what if that was all there was?”

The authors are Brian McNair, Professor of Journalism, Media and Communication at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Adam Swift, Senior Research Associate, ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation at QUT.

Brian McNair is an academic researcher and commentator on media, culture and communication issues. He writes on a wide range of topics including journalism, political communication, popular culture and mediated sexuality. His most recent books are Journalists In Film (Edinburgh University Press, 2010) and An Introduction To Political Communication (Routledge, 2011).

Adam Swift is a researcher in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation at Queensland University of Technology. His research interests include Australian political media, media economics, and social, policy and regulatory trends in the convergent media environment.