One of the unions representing staff at the ABC says it is concerned about a new 'bias test' to be formally announced later today.
The ABC has come under sustained pressure over allegations of left-wing media bias by some sectors of the Federal Government.
One suggestion to fix the ABC is to privatise it:
The ABC today comprises businesses that include television, radio, 38 retail outlets, book publishing (over 120 titles each year), magazines, videos and DVDs, contemporary music including Renee Geyer and Kate Ceberano and logo licensing. These are all crowded commercial markets, yet Australian taxpayers are subsidising ABC businesses to the tune of nearly $800 million each year. In broadcasting, Australia has 627 operating radio stations and 138 TV stations, plus pay TV. The internet is a further ubiquitous source of information and entertainment. Why is a government broadcaster competing in this mix?
Government broadcasting is favoured by totalitarian states and Islamic theocracies. New Zealand has no government broadcaster and the CBC in Canada gets 60 per cent of its revenue from commercials.
It started out with roughly 50 per cent market share of Australian media in 1932; today its total media market share must be 5 per cent or less. The Government has a clear role to regulate media, but there is no compelling reason why it should own and operate an entertainment business.
Personally, I rarely watch the ABC (even when we had a TV The Bill didn't float my boat) and I never listen to Radio National. I tune into JJJ occasionally Sunday nights. Still, the ABC costs $800 million in tax-payer money (sheepishly, I am currently not a taxpayer - I like to think of myself as an investment).
I don't want to lose a radio station that plays some half-way decent music. Then again, if privatisation of the ABC gets rid of that screeching arse-clown Wil Anderson, I'm all for it. The man is as funny as cancer. Failing all else, axe The Glasshouse.