News Archive

News Archive

Displaying media stories related to the ABC.

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Exclusive: New govt report targets ABC
Rick Morton - The Saturday Paper - June 27 - July 3, 2020

Two days before the ABC confirmed that up to 250 jobs will be cut across the organisation, the federal government finalised a $200,000 offer for consultants to prepare a report on news and media business models looking specifically at the impact of public broadcasters “on commercial operators”.

An approach to market for the report was closed on Monday, with the federal Communications Department under minister Paul Fletcher requesting the successful bidder evaluate failed, successful and emerging news media operating models from around the world.

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#DefundTheABC? What utter Trumpian madness
Peter FitzSimons - SMH - June 28, 2020

Seriously? #DefundTheABC has been trending on Twitter this week, in the aftermath of the government budget cuts, a sign that the madness of Trumpism – attack the quality media and dumb things down so the mob will believe anything – is further taking hold in our own brown and pleasant land. The broad theme of the defund the ABC movement is that we the people get nothing for our money. Seriously!

To reprise a theme, the truth is that never has the ABC proved its value more than during the last two crises of the bushfires and The Plague where for Australians across the country it was the most trusted source for up-to-date and frequently life-saving information.

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Barilaro urges Morrison government to reverse 'devastating and incomprehensible' ABC cuts
Rob Harris & Jennifer Duke - SMH - June 28, 2020

NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro has slammed the Morrison government's "devastating" budget cuts to the ABC and accused his federal counterparts of an “incomprehensible” failure to deliver more jobs to regional Australia.

In a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, the NSW Deputy Premier seized on an exclusive report in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that revealed Communications Minister Paul Fletcher had ignored two separate proposals by the ABC to spend tens of millions launching regional studios and expanding coverage of remote areas, if the government dumped its funding freeze.

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ABC plan to expand regional coverage was ignored and kept secret
Rob Harris & Zoe Samios - SMH - June 27, 2020

The ABC put forward two separate proposals offering to open more regional Australian studios, expand its coverage of remote communities and hire more journalists in rural areas in return for the federal government dumping its decision to freeze annual funding indexation.

Correspondence between ABC managing director David Anderson and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher and seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, shows the national broadcaster was prepared to invest tens of millions of dollars more outside capital city centres if the Morrison government was prepared to reverse its budget cuts.

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ABC must be funded to tell us what we need to know
The Herald's View - SMH - June 27, 2020

Last summer's bushfires wrought damage and destruction across south-eastern Australia, but from the blackened wreckage of many regional communities rose one unmalleable truth: the critical and enduring relevance of the ABC to the lives of all Australians.

When digital and telecommunications networks fell with the flames, fearful residents and holidaymakers were able to switch on ABC Local radio to find out if they were under threat and what they should do. The ABC is not only relevant to Australian lives but has likely saved them too.

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A tribute to what remains of our ABC - featuring the (former) ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot
First Dog on the Moon - The Guardian - June 26, 2020

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It's been a devastating week for the ABC, and all Australians will suffer
Ita Buttrose - SMH - June 26, 2020

There is a reason why the majority of Australians trust the ABC.

The ABC has not only helped shape Australia, we are the national voice that unites us.

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Scott Morrison is being fancy-pants in saying there are no cuts to the ABC
Margaret Simons - SMH - June 26, 2020

It’s been a tough week for journalism. Also a bad month, year, decade and century. The latest bad news is cuts at the ABC, which we knew were coming. They were delayed because of the twin crises that gripped the nation this year – bushfires and COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the COVID crisis has accelerated the collapse in commercial media business models, which started in the 1990s as classified advertising disappeared online, and accelerated this century as much of the remaining advertising moved to digital platforms such as Facebook and Google.

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The ABC and the Dance of a Thousand Cuts
Alan Sunderland - Meanjin - June 25, 2020

So here we are again. Shuffling around in the same old dance, performing the steps we all know so well.

The Government cuts the ABC’s funding yet again, blandly asserting that times are tough and we all need to live within our means.

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'There are no cuts': Scott Morrison rejects criticism of ABC funding levels
Fergus Hunter - SMH - June 25, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has staunchly defended the level of funding provided to the ABC, insisting the government has not cut its budget, and backed the national broadcaster's efforts to be more focused on regional and suburban Australia.

The ABC announced a range of cuts on Wednesday, including 250 job losses and the end of the 7.45am radio news bulletin, in a bid to save $40 million. The measures triggered a wave of criticism about the funding squeeze imposed on the broadcaster by the Coalition in recent federal budgets.

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Ita Buttrose lashes government over handling of ABC funding cuts
Rob Harris & Zoe Samios - SMH - June 25, 2020

ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has lashed out at Communications Minister Paul Fletcher over the Morrison government's handling of its multimillion-dollar budget cuts and accused him of lying about the national broadcaster's efforts to collaborate with SBS.

In a fresh war of words between the taxpayer-funded broadcaster and the Coalition government, Ms Buttrose has accused Mr Fletcher of twice failing to provide the ABC board and management with the critical data that informed an independent report proposing the closure of two broadcast channels and the sharing of back-office and support services with fellow public broadcaster SBS.

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‘Over to you, Ita’: The ABC’s five-year plan is spin for managed decline
Quentin Dempster - The New Daily - June 25, 2020

Ita Buttrose and her ABC board have produced a glossy five-year plan to cover up the fact the ABC is in accelerating decline through Morrison government defunding.

Corporate spin has replaced the hard journalism that the ABC claims it epitomises as a frank and fearless news source.

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What the ABC's new strategy means for viewers and listeners
Zoe Samios - SMH - June 24, 2020

Devoted ABC radio listeners who have spent years tuning in to the 7.45am news bulletin and its distinctive 18-second theme song will soon be disappointed.

After more than 80 years, the 15-minute bulletin, which runs across ABC Local radio stations and includes the extended version of orchestral tune Majestic Fanfare, will be axed as part of a five-year strategic plan designed to save the public broadcaster $40 million and attract younger audiences.

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ABC to cut 250 jobs, dump 7.45am radio news bulletin and axe ABC Life brand
Daniel Hurst - The Guardian - June 24, 2020

The ABC is suffering “death by a thousand cuts” and “an act of vandalism”, unions have said, after Australia’s national broadcaster unveiled cuts to 250 jobs and sweeping changes to plug a budget shortfall.

The opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, also accused the government of an “appalling” failure to value the ABC - which played a critical role in Australia’s democracy - and he was “very sorry to see job losses at a time like this”.

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ABC to axe content and shift staff from Sydney in bid to save $40m
Zoe Samios - SMH - June 24, 2020

ABC management rejected key recommendations outlined in a government-funded efficiency review that was made public hours after staff were informed of the national broadcaster's new five-year strategy and plans for 250 job losses.

The 120-page efficiency review, led by former Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh and former media regulator Richard Bean, proposed the closure of two ABC broadcast channels and the sharing of back-office and support services with fellow public broadcaster SBS.

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Up to 250 ABC jobs to go, programs axed, to deal with budget shortfall
Brett Worthington & Georgia Hitch - The New Daily - June 24, 2020

The ABC will axe up to 250 jobs and cut programming as it deals with budget cuts of $84 million.

Managing director David Anderson said a flagship radio news bulletin would go, the ABC Life lifestyle portal would be rebranded, and programs would be reviewed as part of a major overhaul of the national broadcaster.

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This is the mourning news: ABC's stupid decision to cut its vital organs
Matt Peacock - SMH - June 24, 2020

The latest round of cuts to ABC staff is a needless disaster, inflicted by a Coalition government seemingly unable to recognise the essential role of our public broadcaster. A huge number of Australians – including Coalition voters – love the ABC and particularly value its role in times of emergency, such as bushfires or pandemics.

Yet since the Coalition was elected on a promise of "no cuts", almost a quarter of its staff have been sacked, the result of an ongoing campaign of cuts and denigration by zealots and vested interests in the commercial media. Now we have the lunatic decision to ditch the 7.45am radio news, a flagship program across the nation.

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Latest $84 million cuts rip the heart out of the ABC, and our democracy
Alexandra Wake & Michael Ward - The Conversation - June 24, 2020

At the height of the coronavirus emergency, and on the back of devastating bushfires, Australia’s much awarded and trusted national broadcaster has again been forced to make major cuts to staff, services and programs. It is doing so to offset the latest $84 million budget shortfall as a result of successive cuts from the Coalition government.

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ABC board elects to take 10% pay cut amid coronavirus economic slump
Katharine Murphy - The Guardian - June 23, 2020

Board members at the ABC have elected to take a 10% pay cut over the next six months in recognition of the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus, which has sparked mass unemployment and cut a swathe through commercial media.

With the ABC poised on Wednesday to unveil its five-year strategic plan taking account of government budget cuts, Guardian Australia understands the board wrote to the Remuneration Tribunal and received its consent to cut fees by 10% for six months from July to December this year.

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Unrelenting attacks: News Corp alleges the ABC is 'too left-wing'
Matthew Peel - Independent Australia - June 21, 2020

The top four search results for the term "ABC left-wing" on Google produce articles from News Corp media institutions.

The first three come from Sky News commentary and the fourth result is an article by The Australian.

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Should we save our ABC?
Martin Hirst - Independent Australia - June 16, 2020

THE ABC is facing an existential crisis brought about by over two decades of savage funding cuts that began under John Howard in 1996 and are continuing under Scott Morrison. The rot really started in 2014 with Tony Abbott.

On the eve of the 2013 Federal Election campaign, then Liberal leader Tony Abbott stared down the barrel of a television camera and promised (among other things) that there would be “no cuts” to the funding of public broadcasters, the ABC and the SBS.

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Cutting the ABC cuts public trust, a cost no democracy can afford
Andrea Carson - The Conversation - June 10, 2020

While Australians are singing the praises of the front-line workers during the COVID-19 crisis, there is a forgotten front line that has also made personal sacrifices to help us get through the pandemic: ABC journalists.

From radio producers to TV presenters to technicians who get up before dawn to bring us the news, ABC staff have been bringing us the facts about the global crisis at a time when misinformation and disinformation are rife and dangerous.

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ABC to slash programming and services as it grapples with Coalition funding cuts
Amanda Meade & Paul Karp - The Guardian - June 10, 2020

The ABC will unveil substantial cuts to programming and services at the end of the month – on top of the 250 redundancies – to meet a $41m budget shortfall.

The cuts, which will impact audiences, are being forced on the ABC by a funding freeze despite the vital role it played during the bushfires and the Covid-19 pandemic. The staff cuts will come from the news, television, entertainment and regional divisions.

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Calls for journalist protections
Karen Middleton - The Saturday Paper - June 6 - 12, 2020

The federal government is being encouraged to consider special legislation to entrench protections for journalists, as concerns grow about a bill that would undermine current safeguards.

The new data access bill has prompted warnings that it could leave Australian journalists whose data is stored offshore with American companies more vulnerable to security agency access than their peers in the United States and Britain.

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Let's reclaim our freedom and decriminalise journalism
Marcus Strom - SMH - June 4, 2020

Thursday marks 12 months since Australian Federal Police raided the home of a News Corporation journalist, Annika Smethurst. One day later, the AFP also raided the Sydney offices of the ABC. Only last week, Smethurst learned she will not be charged for writing the news story that prompted the raid. Two ABC journalists are still waiting to learn their fate.

Those June 2019 raids grabbed global attention about the state of press freedom in Australia, not least because dawn raids of journalists are the type of thing you would expect from a despotic police state, not a country that prides itself on being a liberal democracy.

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Current affairs heavyweight has maintained its clout
Debi Enker - SMH - June 3, 2020

Amid the intensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the standout local productions about the crisis was an episode of Four Corners screened early in May.

Flattening the Curve, produced by Janine Cohen (and available on iview), surveyed a range of health professionals in metropolitan and regional areas around Australia.

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Australians say ABC saved lives during summer bushfires, royal commission told
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - June 2, 2020

The ABC has released research underlining its role during the summer bushfires ahead of a board meeting on Wednesday to discuss the looming cuts at the national broadcaster as well as recent calls by the government for a wage freeze for ABC staff.

The independent research, based on a qualitative survey of more than 1,600 people and quantitive results from almost 400 more, found 60% of people in bushfire-affected areas said information from the ABC helped ensure their safety.

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Their ABC: How Conservatives Beat Aunty Into Submission
Situation Theatre - May 29, 2020

If you’re furious about the Coalition’s ongoing abuse of the ABC and how this plays out in the ever-rightward drift of our beloved broadcaster, you’re not alone.

It’s a kind of abuse which is undermining one of the greatest pillars of our democracy and for many of us, it is heartbreaking.

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The rot in Australian media is already advanced. We need to understand the damage wrought in 2020
Jason Wilson - The Guardian - May 29, 2020

The Northern Age was founded in Townsville in the 1890s – there are conflicting reports of the precise date – in what was still the Colony of Queensland. 

It was moved to Ingham, just north of Townsville, then the smaller neighboring town of Halifax, changing its name to the Planter, and perhaps the Northern Planter, before returning to Ingham for good.

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‘Neighbours is irrelevant to most islanders’: Pacific experts criticise Australian TV initiative
Kate Lyons - The Guardian - May 26, 2020

A move to broadcast Australian commercial television, including Neighbours, Border Security and Masterchef in Pacific nations could be counterproductive in promoting Australia’s relationship with the region, an expert media group has warned.

The new PacificAus TV program will allow Australian content to be aired free of charge by broadcasters in seven Pacific nations, at a cost of $17.1m, in a move seen as an attempt to combat Chinese influence in the Pacific region.

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BuzzFeed out: So much for diversity in Australia’s media
Quentin Dempster - Pearls & Irritations - May 21, 2020

In 2018 BuzzFeed, which started here in 2014, was put up as a burgeoning media diversity justification for the historic approval the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave to the merger of Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims ruled:

While the merger between these two big-name media players (Nine and Fairfax) raised a number of extremely complex issues, and will likely reduce competition, we concluded that the proposed merger was not likely to substantially lessen competition in any market in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act. With the growth in online news … many other players, albeit smaller, now provide some degree of competitive constraint. These include, for example, The Guardian, The New Daily, BuzzFeed, Crikey and The Daily Mail.

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ABC managing director David Anderson takes pay cut
Zoe Samios - SMH - May 20, 2020

ABC managing director David Anderson has taken a pay cut and executives at the national broadcaster will forgo bonuses as it attempts to slash costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Anderson told staff in an email on Wednesday that his salary was cut, at his own request, by 5 per cent in April and that the reduction would remain in place until the end of September. The media executive also rejected a planned pay increase, but said he could not enforce a pay freeze on all ABC employees without seeking permission from the Fair Work Commission.

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Union says government proposal for ABC wage freeze threatens broadcaster's independence
Katharine Murphy - The Guardian - May 20, 2020

The journalists’ union has blasted the Morrison government for exerting pressure on the ABC to embark on a six-month wage freeze, declaring the intervention by the communications minister, Paul Fletcher, threatens the national broadcaster’s independence.

The blast from the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance comes as Guardian Australia has learned the national broadcaster’s managing director, David Anderson, told a staff meeting earlier this week senior executives would forgo their bonuses and “at-risk” payments this financial year because of the Covid-19 crisis.

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ABC must freeze wages, government warns
Katharine Murphy - The Guardian - May 20, 2020

The Morrison government has put the national broadcaster on notice that it expects the ABC to embark on a six-month wage freeze to bring it in line with other taxpayer-funded agencies during the Covid-19 crisis.

The warning follows the government’s decision in early April to defer general wage increases for commonwealth public servants for six months. The public service commissioner followed up that directive by writing to all non-public service agencies – including the ABC – informing them the government expected them to adopt the same practice.

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IPA is wrecking our democracy
Mark Buckley - Pearls & Irritations - May 15, 2020

Its ideas haven’t really evolved much, but if you want to characterise them, they are crudely elitist, ideologically stunted, narrow minded, science-phobic, greedy and in most cases, fully imported. For a charity which pays no tax, they have very few clients in need.

The only reason they are of any interest to anyone is that they have captured the Federal Government, by stealth, and their inane policies are the reason this country is so conspicuously under-achieving. There is not one thinker of note amongst its membership. Some of the current members appear to be the offspring of former members; a sort of self-replicating supply of apparatchiks. If you are searching for the reason behind the diminishing sense of pride attached to being Australian, the IPA is to blame.

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Merge ABC and SBS. It Makes Sense
Alan Sunderland - Meanjin - May 11, 2020

Eventually we are going to emerge from this coronavirus slumber. Broke, chastened but hopefully mostly still alive. And when we do, we will face a different world. I can’t predict just how different things will be, but I can predict one thing. The Government is going to have to deal with a staggering amount of debt.

Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg will be looking for coins down the back of every couch, searching the pockets of old trousers for forgotten change and putting that old exercise bike up on Gumtree.

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Hundreds facing the sack with ABC cuts
Mike Seccombe - The Saturday Paper - May 9 - 15, 2020

It sounds like a marketing slogan, almost a cliché: in times of national crisis, Australians turn to the national broadcaster. But over the past six months or so, it has proved profoundly true.

First came the bushfire crisis, when the ABC’s network of regional reporters distinguished themselves not just in reporting the disaster as it unfolded but also warning those in harm’s way.

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The ABC is on the IPA's hit list
Mark Buckley - Independent Australia - May 8, 2020

In 2018, two researchers from the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) wrote a book titled ‘Against Public Broadcasting: Why We Should Privatise the ABC and How to Do It’. The main thesis of the book and the “how to do it” part is that the Turnbull Government should privatise the ABC by giving it away for free, either to the ABC’s employees or if that was not acceptable, to random Australian citizens. They could write off the purchase in tax credits.

One has to wonder, firstly, where they got the idea that “giving something away” equates to privatising it. On reflection, during the neoliberal boom in the 1970s, many state-owned enterprises were sold at knockdown prices all around the world. Many of those transactions would not stand up to scrutiny nowadays, as so many of them discounted taxpayer value and essentially gifted valuable utilities to party donors. Russia, the United Kingdom and Australia, amongst other countries, created whole suburbs of “kleptocrats” from transactions like that and we are still paying the price.

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ABC loses $783m funding since 2014 when Coalition made its first cuts – report
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - May 4, 2020

The ABC has lost $783m in funding since the Coalition came to power in 2014, a new report on the accumulated impact of government cuts to the public broadcaster shows.

The summer bushfires meant the corporation has had to absorb an additional $3m in emergency broadcasting costs on top of an $84m indexation pause imposed by the then prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, in 2018.

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The War on Journalism: the MEAA Report into the State of Press Freedom in Australia in 2020
Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance - May 3, 2020

The War on Journalism is MEAA’s annual report into the state of press freedom in Australia in 2020.

The MEAA press freedom reports are released on UNESCO World Press Freedom Day, May 3, every year.

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Explainer: what did the High Court find in the Annika Smethurst v AFP case?
Rebecca Ananian-Welsh - The Conversation - April 15, 2020

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) attracted global criticism for executing a raid on the Canberra home of journalist Annika Smethurst on June 4 2019.

The raid was prompted by an April 2018 report on a “top secret” memo leaked from within the Department of Defence. The memo revealed a proposal to grant the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) unprecedented powers to secretly access Australians’ digital information without a warrant.

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The High Court rules in favour of News Corp, but against press freedom
Peter Greste - The Conversation - April 15, 2020

It is easy to assume Australia has a free press. Our squawky newspapers are filled with stories about the failings of government, acid-tongued columnists routinely lash our politicians, and until May last year the police hardly ever raided newsrooms or journalists.

On Wednesday, the High Court appeared to uphold the principle of press freedom when it ruled that the warrant the Australian Federal Police used to search News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home in 2019 was invalid.

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Regional media get COVID lifeline but ABC, SBS remain in peril
Alexandra Wake & Michael Ward - The Conversation - April 15, 2020

After weeks of devastating reports of local newspaper closures and regional broadcast stations turning off local news services, media supporters and observers were united in joy as the Australian government announced a coronavirus relief package for local journalism.

The four-part initiative has been designed to assist local newspapers and commercial free-to-air radio and television and subscription television, following calls for a lifeline from the industry and the communities they serve.

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Guardian Australia doubles audience to become fourth most popular news site in the country
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 14, 2020

Guardian Australia’s audience increased by 104% in March, making it the fourth most popular news site in the nation with 11.6 million readers.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has seen a spike in traffic to news websites, with Guardian Australia experiencing the biggest surge in the Australian market.

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Pell takes aim at Premier, police and ABC
Patrick Durkin - Australian Financial Review - April 14, 2020

Freed Cardinal George Pell has taken aim at the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Victoria Police and the ABC, warning the pendulum has swung too far in considering every accusation to be the gospel truth.

Cardinal Pell's first recorded interview since being released from prison comes as the Herald Sun in Melbourne report Victoria Police have launched another investigation, by a different accuser, in relation to child abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s.

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Scott Morrison dismisses call to reverse ABC funding freeze after bushfire and coronavirus crises
SBS News - April 8, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed a call from Labor to backtrack on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's funding freeze.

During Question Time in federal parliament on Wednesday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese asked Mr Morrison about the ABC's funding, saying the broadcaster played an essential role in providing information to the public during this summer's bushfire season and the coronavirus pandemic.

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ABC backs its reporting on George Pell after Andrew Bolt accuses it of a witch-hunt
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - April 8, 2020

The ABC has backed its journalists and its reporting on George Pell after the cardinal’s release from jail prompted a spate of attacks on the national broadcaster by Pell supporters.

Minutes after Pell’s conviction was quashed by the high court, the News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt posted a blog saying the cardinal was innocent and pointing the finger at the ABC for allegedly conducting a witch-hunt to have him convicted.

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The ABC is an essential service but funding cuts remain, says boss
Karl Quinn - Brisbane Times - April 2, 2020

The ABC could have to look at closing a channel if the government remains committed to the funding cuts announced in the 2018 federal budget, according to managing director David Anderson.

"We don't think we can bridge the gap purely from efficiency alone," said Mr Anderson on Thursday, as the broadcaster revealed a suite of programming that it hopes will help Australians through the next three months of social isolation.

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ABC to broadcast educational shows, mini lessons on kids channel
Jordan Baker - SMH - April 1, 2020

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation will broadcast educational shows and mini lessons on one of its children's channels from mid-April, with shows for primary students in the morning and high school content in the afternoon.

The broadcaster will create the mini-lessons, run by teachers, for the ABC Education portal and on ABC Me. They will be partially financed by the NSW and Victorian education departments.

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ABC's Norman Swan denies 'rancour' with chief medical officer after PM's office intervention on coronavirus
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 25, 2020

The ABC broadcaster Norman Swan has said there is “no rancour” between him and the chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, after the prime minister’s office called the ABC to ask the two to discuss coronavirus strategy.

Scott Morrison’s office called the ABC’s news boss, Gaven Morris, last week suggesting Swan should speak to Murphy.

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Who is really in charge at the ABC?
Stephen Brook - SMH - March 23, 2020

This week was to be the most consequential of ABC managing director David Anderson’s 31-year career at the public broadcaster. It's the week in which the ultra-low-profile executive was poised to step out from behind the shadow of his celebrity chairwoman, Ita Buttrose, and, well, do something.

But the unveiling of Anderson’s ambitious five-year plan to push the ABC towards a digital future, fine tune some of his zany predecessor Michelle Guthrie’s restructuring, and slash about 200 jobs necessitated by the government’s $84 million budget indexation freeze, was postponed due the coronavirus crisis.

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ABC suspends Foreign Correspondent as Buttrose outlines emergency plan
Helen Pitt - SMH - March 21, 2020

The ABC will suspend its television show Foreign Correspondent and has put a travel ban on its overseas correspondents in light of the coronavirus pandemic, ABC chair Ita Buttrose says.

"Some shows will need to be suspended for now, like Foreign Correspondent ... we've told our international people they can't fly anywhere in the interests of their health and welfare," Ms Buttrose told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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'Whatever it takes': Ita Buttrose promises the ABC won't be muzzled
Helen Pitt - SMH - March 20, 2020

ABC chairman Ita Buttrose describes herself as a “news junkie”.

It’s no surprise, perhaps, after a journalism career of 63 years spanning newspapers, magazines, radio and television. What is a surprise, though, even to her now, is how she found herself at 78 at the helm of the national public broadcaster.

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ABC forced to delay five-year plan and job cuts announcement
Michael Lallo - SMH - March 19, 2020

The ABC has been forced to delay the release of its five-year blueprint – including job cuts – to prioritise its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The national broadcaster was due to announce its long-term plan at the end of this month. A three-year funding freeze that took effect last July, stripping $84 million from ABC's budget, will result in an estimated 200 redundancies.

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Democracy dies in darkness – but AAP closure shows it can be seriously hurt in daylight
Stephen Mayne - The New Daily - March 6, 2020

Can anyone else think of a situation when the two biggest players in a market, both of which are listed on the ASX, get together and agree to close a joint venture which is a key supplier to most of their smaller competitors?

Welcome to the News Corp and Nine decision to summarily shutter Australian Associated Press (AAP) on June 26, ending 85 years of history and jeopardising 600 media jobs.

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News Corp finds someone to blame after pulling the plug on AAP (hint: it's not News Corp)
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 6, 2020

The demise of AAP has unexpectedly ignited a war of words between media companies over who is to blame.

According to News Corp – one of the major shareholders who actually took the decision to close AAP – the shuttering of the vital news service is the fault of digital giants Google and Facebook … and the ABC and Guardian Australia. Wait. What?

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News Corp, Nine accused of closing AAP to damage competitors
The New Daily - March 5, 2020

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and fellow media giant Nine have been accused of closing news agency, Australian Associated Press, to damage their smaller competitors.

After repeatedly asserting that unfair competition from tech companies  Google and Facebook brought about AAP’s demise, new reports indicate News Corp and Nine might have had a more cynical motive for closing the decades-old news agency and putting hundreds of staff out of work.

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'You don't save money moving house': ABC boss resists call to shift
Jennifer Duke, Fergus Hunter and Zoe Samios - SMH - March 4, 2020

ABC managing director David Anderson says calls for the public broadcaster to move out of its offices in Ultimo, Sydney and Southbank, Melbourne are not realistic as it cannot afford to invest "hundreds of millions" into relocating.

Mr Anderson said the taxpayer-funded organisation was keen to better represent households in the outer suburbs of cities but noted this would present an additional cost and would not be an efficiency measure.

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AAP is Australian democracy's safety net – its closure will affect us all
Margaret Simons - The Guardian - March 3, 2020

The closure of Australian Associated Press, announced today, is a tragedy for our already under-reported nation. It underlines what was already clear: that the crisis in public interest journalism has reached a critical stage.

It affects us all, threatens our democracy and requires urgent and enlightened responses from our policymakers.

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Bushfires add $3m to ABC emergency broadcasting costs as Coalition cuts funding
Amanda Meade - The Guardian - March 3, 2020

The summer bushfires added an extra $3m in emergency broadcasting costs to the ABC budget at a time the corporation had to absorb an ongoing annual budget cut of $105.9m, the managing director, David Anderson, has told a parliamentary committee.

The ABC told the committee the Coalition’s $84m budget reduction announced in 2018 translated to a cut, but the defence minister, Linda Reynolds, insisted it was an “indexation pause” and ABC funding had been maintained.

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ABC urged to consider selling inner-city offices
Jennifer Duke - SMH - March 3, 2020

The ABC has been urged to consider selling its capital city offices in areas such as Sydney's Ultimo and Melbourne's Southbank and moving to "purpose-built" facilities elsewhere.

Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher "strongly encouraged" the public broadcaster to explore a sale of its inner-city premises as it grapples with a funding freeze projected to shave up to $84 million off its annual budget.

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ABC workers face anxious wait over job, program cuts
Michael Lallo - SMH - March 1, 2020

David Anderson did not mince words at a Senate Estimates hearing last October. “There will be job losses,” ABC’s managing director warned. “It's not something I can quantify at this point in time. There's still more work to be done.”

Towards the end of March, Anderson will reveal a five-year plan for the national broadcaster. To the frustration of staff, it’s unlikely to specify which parts of the organisation will bear the brunt of these cuts or how many workers they might lose.

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ABC staff fear bushfire funding boost won't be enough
Michael Lallo - SMH - February 29, 2020

ABC staff fear a potential boost in emergency broadcast funding could provide false reassurance to disaster-prone communities.

Executives at the broadcaster are lobbying the federal government to lift a three-year indexation freeze that took effect last July, stripping $84 million from its budget. Senior managers say the request is a long shot and that if ABC receives any additional funding, it's likely to be a smaller sum in the form of a tied grant, which can only be spent on emergency news coverage.

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Court ruling against ABC highlights the enormous deficiency in laws protecting journalists’ sources
Dennis Muller - The Conversation - February 18, 2020

The federal court’s rejection of the ABC case against the Australian Federal Police raid on its Sydney headquarters in June 2019 reveals two issues of great importance to freedom of the press in Australia:


If AFP raid on the ABC was legal the law is wrong
Editorial - The Canberra Times - February 18, 2020


Search warrant authorising AFP raid on ABC valid, court rules
Georgina Mitchell, Michaela Whitbourn & Fergus Hunter - SMH - February 17, 2020

A search warrant authorising the Australian Federal Police raid on the ABC's Sydney headquarters was legally valid, a Federal Court judge has ruled, prompting calls for an overhaul of laws to protect journalists' sources.

The decision, which may be the subject of an appeal, was handed down by Justice Wendy Abraham in Sydney on Monday. In a 103-page judgment, Justice Abraham comprehensively dismissed the ABC's legal bid to overturn the warrant and ordered the broadcaster to pay costs.

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Federal police raid on ABC over Afghan files ruled valid

Amanda Meade - The Guardian - February 17, 2020

The ABC’s legal challenge to the validity of a raid by the Australian federal police on the national broadcaster has been dismissed by the federal court.

The ABC’s news director, Gaven Morris, said the decision was “really disappointing” and a blow to press freedom and the public’s right to know.

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Senator James McGrath takes swing at ABC, as government rorts spiral out of control

Michael Pascoe - The New Daily - February 13, 2020

The dogs are barking at the ABC that its excellent disaster coverage over summer has blown the news budget.

That means more jobs will have to go.

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Australian federal police obtained six warrants to hunt down journalists’ sources in 2018-19

Josh Taylor - The Guardian - January 29, 2020

Australian federal police accessed the metadata of journalists 20 times and obtained six journalist information warrants to identify those journalists’ sources in the last financial year.

The data is contained in the federal government’s report on law enforcement agencies’ use of telecommunications data for investigating crimes and surveillance for the 2018-19 financial year.

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Clearest evidence that Morrison must reverse ABC cuts

Michelle Rowland MP, Shadow Minister for Communications - Media Release - January 23, 2020

Scott Morrison has received the clearest evidence yet that he must reverse his cuts to the ABC, with the ABC Managing Director this morning highlighting the whole of agency impact of the unprecedented bushfire season.
 
David Anderson today confirmed the ABC has covered 850 emergency broadcasting events since 1 July 2019 so far. That’s more than double the number of emergency broadcasting events they covered all of last year, and almost triple the year before that, and we’re only halfway through this year’s reporting period.

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'Life and death': ABC battles to restore damaged networks during bushfires

Zoe Samios & Fergus Hunter - SMH - January 11, 2020

The ABC's radio and TV networks have sustained heavy damage from the bushfire crisis across NSW and Victoria, forcing the national broadcaster to call on the military, commercial media rivals and members of the public to maintain emergency broadcasting.

With a range of radio and TV services knocked out in parts of the country, the broadcaster has been mobilising to restore local radio stations as the priority because of their critical role in providing information to communities during disasters.

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ABC’s coverage of the Australian bushfires
Public Media Alliance - January 10, 2020

ABC’s extensive emergency coverage of the bushfires in Australia across television, radio and online services is in no doubt lifesaving, with staff working tirelessly to provide accurate, reliable and rolling coverage under incredible pressure and in precarious conditions.

Since the bushfires began in early September last year, the scale of the crisis has been unprecedented. More than 20 people have been killed, close to 2000 homes have been destroyed and wildlife and livestock have been majorly affected across the country. Conditions are predicted to worsen. 

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Two media executives and lawyer passed over for Ita Buttrose as ABC chair, FOI confirms
Margaret Simons - The Guardian - January 9, 2020

Two senior media executives and an eminent media lawyer were passed over for appointment as chair of the ABC board last year in favour of prime minister Scott Morrison’s “captain’s pick” of journalist and businesswoman Ita Buttrose, documents released on Wednesday under freedom of information confirm.

Buttrose was appointed as the direct choice of the prime minister despite the fact she had not been through the arm’s length independent selection process.

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ABC under 'growing' cost pressure as bushfire emergency broadcasts surge
Jennifer Duke - The Age - January 3, 2020

The ABC's extensive coverage of bushfires ravaging the country threatens to push the taxpayer-funded news organisation into more budget strife with emergency broadcasting events on track to double in 2020.

There have been 670 emergency broadcasting events for the 2019-20 financial year so far, an ABC spokesman said, compared to 371 for the full 2018-19 financial year. In 2017-18 there were 256 events, a figure that had been surpassed by mid-September 2019.

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