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SUBMISSION TO THE REVIEW OF THE ABC AND SBS
ABC and SBS: Towards a digital future
1. The Role of National Broadcasting
The ABC Charter may need updating for the digital era, however it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that important principles for the existence of the ABC are clearly and deliberately set out in the new Draft.
I support the' Objectives of national broadcasting' on page 5 very strongly.
It is absolutely imperative that the ABC is:-
- Completely free from any commercial influence.
- Be fully and adequately funded to allow for this independence from commercial influence.
The SBS Charter should remain focused on the multicultural aspects of our society.
The ABC and SBS remain separate organisations.
If the Charters are to be changed, it is crucial that the draft version is available for public comment with plenty of time for debate.
2. Harnessing new technologies to deliver services
We note that the ABC and SBS have ideas to increase the number of digital channels.
This sounds like a good idea, but unless there is a significant increase in funding, it would merely spread the available dollars more thinly. I note that even the ABC 2 channel consists mostly of repeats and imported programmes.
Maybe to start with, one extra channel should be tried and properly funded - for example a Children's channel, then perhaps our children will be less likely to talk with an American accent and phrases!!
I live in a regional area and intermittently lose full TV reception during the summer months. With analogue transmission this usually allows us to still make sense of the image and sound until reception improves, however, when this occurs with digital transmission we lose the entire signal or the picture is so affected that it cannot be looked at. Until this problem is overcome analogue transmission should not be discontinued.
3. Informing and entertaining Australians
News and current affairs
It is crucial to Australian Society that the ABC/SBS continue and improve its ability to provide high quality, unbiased news and current affairs. I need to retain our 'need to know' what is happening in our nation and the world.
In this world of increasing media monopolies, the commercial broadcasters produce programmes that are either sensational, please their media owners or appeal to the lowest common denominator in our society. For example their nightly news programmes often consist of sensational trivia, ambulance chasing, police reporting and at their worst inaccurate or distasteful items.
Who else in our society would produce such interesting and sometimes controversial programmes as the long standing and excellent TV 4 Corners, Foreign Correspondent and independent news, SBS's Insight and Dateline backed by their unbiased and intrepid foreign correspondents, and the excellent informative radio programmes such as Background Briefing and the specialised programmes such as the Law Report, and the Science Show. It is a deeply disappointing to hear of the demise of such important programmes as the Religion and Media Report.
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR VERY DEMOCRACY TO HAVE ACCESS TO ACCURATE AND UNBIASED INFORMATION
I have been increasingly concerned over the last 10 yrs in particular, that there has been a "dumbing down" in the quality and subjects of both news and current affairs and entertainment programs on the ABC, I suspect due to political interference. Even the news seems to contain more of the' non-news' items found on commercial TV, as if trying to attract more audience.
I think that the ABC TV should:-
Have a mandated level of Australian content and the increased funding level required for this to include more drama, more children's programs and more science programs.