The ABC is an “impartial and independent source of truth” and should not be undermined by political or commercial forces, ABC chief executive David Anderson said in an impassioned defense of the public broadcaster.
In a book published Thursday, Now More Than Ever: Australia’s ABC, Anderson described the breadth and depth of the ABC’s output and its “overwhelming” influence on Australian life, saying “the reviews don’t deter us “.
“We know that for democracy to flourish, the citizens of a nation must have an independent source of truth to which they can turn – a source that is unwavering, unbiased and committed to providing the accurate and relevant information they need. “, wrote Anderson.
“This is the central role played by the ABC. And any attempt to interfere with or undermine the independence of the ABC, by political or commercial actors, must and will be resisted at all costs.
Any attack on the ABC’s legitimacy or interference in its operations will always be met with resistance from the vast majority of Australians who love the institution, he said.
Anderson’s heartfelt defense of the ABC’s value and independence comes a week after the Morrison government demanded that the ABC and SBS add a new layer of accountability, the so-called statements of expectations, in addition to the already stringent requirements for broadcasters to report to parliament.
Anderson told Senate Estimates on Wednesday that some of the information requested by the Coalition will not be released due to commercial privacy and confidentiality concerns.
In the book, the ABC veteran said support came from a wide range of people who use the services: Australians who rely on the broadcaster’s Covid-19 information; those in regional and rural areas who rely on news reports for their safety during extreme weather events; and those who enjoy public interest journalism that leads to royal commissions and changes in legislation.
“The ABC is important to Indigenous Australians, who for so long have not seen their own stories in our national narrative, but who now proudly declare and support their contributions and lead the conversations about reconciliation and a better life for their communities,” he said.
Although the government has reinstated the CBA’s indexation – cutting the budget by $84 million over three years – in real terms, the CBA’s funding is 30% lower than it was. was in the mid 1980s.
“This year, the ABC’s operational funding is more than 10% lower in real terms than [with] 2013-2014,” he said. ‘Meanwhile, our usual critics in the Australian media are continuing their campaign in an attempt to discredit the ABC as an institution.’
There is a dangerous right-wing agenda internationally to “defund” public broadcasters, including in Canada and the UK, which is fueled by social media, Anderson said.
Although often attacked, the ABC has plenty to be positive about, including being the nation’s leading digital news source, the No. 1 national radio network and the No. 1 daytime channel for Australian children, as well as the country’s most trusted source of news. and analysis.