Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No! No! No! No ads on ABC! No more broken promises!

The Howard government's newly proposed to media ownership laws will not only threaten the diversity of media and public opinion in our country, it will also threaten the very heart of public broadcasting – by introducing advertising and sponsorship on the ABC, our only public broadcaster to be ad-free!

Nationals Senators are threathening to cross the floor over the proposals, but this time we musn't rely on the squirming deal-making of the likes of Barnaby Joyce. Concerted public action will be needed to stop this!

Lobby group Friends of ABC have whole-heartedly rejected the proposal, and very pointedly reminded us that the Howard Government promised at the last election (2004) that no advertising or sponsorship would be introduced on the ABC. This is a further example that this government cannot keep its election promises. Liars! Liars!

Friends of ABC have called for people to write to Senator Coonan (Communications Minister) or local members of parliament.

However much – or little – you think of letter writing campaigns, I think that every little bit will help to stop the errosion of our free, public, commercial-free, and interesting broadcaster!

Advertising is not the way to solve the ABC's funding crisis. It is incredibly disingenous of the Howard Government to destabilise the ABC by constantly cutting its funding and attacking its editorial integrity, and then turn around after 10 years later of these attacks and say, 'Here, if you're short of money, sell advertising time to increase your income'! This will no solve the ABC's problems!

According to the ABC News Online report, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) federal secretary Christopher Warren said that "advertising on the ABC is an inadequate suggestion that will not only compromise the independence of the ABC, but also neglect the severity of the national broadcaster's funding situation".

He also said:
Once they put advertising on the ABC they will profoundly change the nature of the organisation that Australians know and love.
That is just what I'm afraid of!


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