Howard hoses down advertising on ABC
After a storm that threatened to break over talk of allowing advertising and sponsorship on our public broadcaster ABC, John Howard has quickly rejected that possibility. On ABC radio this morning, I heard Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan trying to explain that the government was only flagging the possibility of the ABC Board allowing advertising down the track, and insisting that it was not on the government’s immediate agenda. On John Faine’s show on ABC Melbourne, they reported that the idea was initially flagged by a government backbencher, but that Howard soon rejected the idea on the basis that the commercial broadcasters would oppose the move. Apparently, they would resent competing for the advertising dollar with a publicly funded ABC! Well, pheew! I’m glad we don’t have to fight a long campaign to prevent commercial interests undermining the ABC, but isn’t it really telling that Howard’s motivation for opposing it is not pissing off the commercial broadcasters, rather than a principled support for an advertising-free, publicly funded, responsive, national public broadcaster. Hmm. The principle of loving media barons wins.