Public interest in media on the rise

The Victorian branch of the Australian Fabians hosted two speakers after their recent AGM to address the question "how well does the media serve the public?" – and it was no surprise that the ABC figured in comments and questions throughout the evening.

Academic and journalist Denis Muller, an expert in media ethics, highlighted the importance of journalistic integrity for impartiality; he sees journalism "at war with itself", in the ABC and elsewhere.

Nicolas Reese, who teaches public policy at Melbourne University, spoke for the need for stronger media regulation, particularly in relation to social media. He also queried the breadth of the top job at the ABC, whereby David Anderson is both Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief. 

Audience questions touched on ABC funding and the potential benefit to public trust of greater transparency within the Corporation.

A video of the event will shortly be available on the Australian Fabians YouTube channel.

Visit the channel

ABC News channel roasted by Media Watch

Paul Barry, the often caustic host of ABC television’s ‘Media Watch’, turned his forensic attention to the ABC News channel last week (6 May).

His objective was to compare the television networks’ response to the breaking news of the rampage at Bondi Junction on 13 April. Barry showed that Nine easily outstripped the rest in terms of the speed and size of its team on the ground, resulting in more vivid eyewitness testimony.

By contrast, ABC News was slow and understaffed, evident in its excessive replays. Barry called its response second-rate; he also attacked ABC management’s defence of the coverage. He finished by challenging the ABC to make a choice between resourcing its news channel properly – or closing it down and using the money elsewhere.

Watch the report here


UK conference on broadcasting for public benefit

The annual spring conference of the British Voice of the Listener and Viewer organisation took place in late April, addressing the question "how British broadcasting can be supported to ensure it keeps delivering benefits for citizens in the UK".

The day consisted of panel discussions and interviews with a range of insider figures and "interest" representatives, particularly those concerned with children, youth and minority language audiences. There was more attention on drama than news output, as successive speakers acknowledged competition for audiences from global streaming services coupled with a huge increase in production costs – it was agreed these now pose a real threat to "British stories".

There was some optimism from an individual ITV manager committed to the public interest; later, a levy was proposed to fund the production of children’s content; the session on radio and podcasting was particularly lively. But overall the day raised more questions than solutions for the future of broadcasting for public benefit.

Access the conference sessions here