ABC Friends News

ABC: OUR WANING SOFT POWER STAR

Lowy Insitute Fellow Annmaree O’Keeffe has written a thought-provoking article about how Australia is now losing the soft-diplomacy competition. 

The ABC’s budget for international broadcasting is one of the smallest in the global comparison. This affects the ABC’s ability to meet its target audience’s expectations and demands for relevant, timely, and credible programming. With little money available for country and language-specific programming, there remains the prevalent and cheaper option to rebroadcast content made for Australian audiences which is of little interest or relevance at least to two of its targeted audiences – the game changers of Asia and the peoples of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

The article’s publication follows a call by ABC Chair Ita Buttrose for more funding for overseas broadcasting.

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(Ita Buttrose speaks to the Lowy Institute)

The Facebook group “Supporters of Australian Broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific” published this report:

ABC CHAIR CALLS FOR MORE ASIA PACIFIC FUNDING 

When ABC Chair Ita Buttrose was asked to deliver the Lowy Institute’s annual media lecture she was also asked to deliver ‘news’, and she did
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A call for more funding for the ABC in Asia and the Pacific and the announcement of the launch, next month, of an international edition of iview – no mean feat considering the complicated and expensive rights issues this entails.

The international edition – to be called ABC Australia iview – will include selected episodes from dozens of ABC titles including Australian Story, Four Corners, Gardening Australia, Waltzing the Dragon, Foreign Correspondent, Q&A and an un-geoblocked stream of the ABC News channel, Ita told the Lowy media dinner.

The ABC’s flagship discussion program Q &A will also venture into the Pacific for the first time, with a broadcast from Fiji with an international panel on 2nd December.

Is the ABC back with a real commitment to its international mandate?

Yes, according to Ita. And the resolve of this media trailblazer who has worked across all parts of the industry should not be underestimated.

With or without new funding Ita says international broadcasting is a ‘bedrock’ ABC charter responsibility.
“Whatever budgetary constraints we may face, the ABC is committed to it because we recognise its intrinsic public and national value,” Ita said.

“ABC Australia iview is an example of how, with determination and drive, we can deliver great value for international audiences, Australian taxpayers and the national interest,” she said.

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