“A change is coming” for the ABC
“A change is coming”, and it has ABC staff concerned.
We covered ABC's Managing Director Mark Scott just a few short weeks ago. He outlined the ABC’s vision and purpose – and highlighted the dramatic shift in the media landscape.
Mark Scott was also realistic on the final pressures that will come to bare on the ABC.
“We face the immediate future knowing that funding cuts are coming, but their size has not yet been determined. At the ABC we must develop cost-effective and audience-focussed solutions to both these challenges: the renewal of a media organisation in light of pressures created by technology, audiences, markets—and the reduction in funding."
But what is of more concern to ABC staffers, is their “grave concern at the ABC’s conduct through its secret consideration of a radical transformation of ABC operations, in a pre-emptive response to government funding cuts.”
With the Lewis Review into the ABC and SBS efficiency, according to the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance they have advice that the review is “on the verge of suggesting cuts of more than $100 million year on year, dramatically exceeding the cuts of $120 million over four years in the Federal Government’s budget.”
With that, The Staff and Supporters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation have launched an online petition requesting the publication of the ABC's restructuring plans, public debate on the ABC and a level of transparency including regular publication of ABC and Executive board minutes.
That petition has already clocked over 1000 signatures of support.
Backing up the fight, MEAA federal secretary Christopher Warren said “The cuts the Lewis Review is set to propose would decimate the ABC. MEAA believes such severe cuts would have a direct impact on vital, unique services that only the ABC can provide. We would likely see a reduction in the number of foreign bureaus and a distinct drop in the ABC’s rural and regional footprint.
“Specialist journalists and programs would all be hit hard. Areas like state politics, courts, science, law, religion, investigative reporting, trade, defence and national security would all be under the scalpel,” Warren said.