Well there’s ABC independence and then there’s cabinet solidarity. From The Age:
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has strongly defended the ABC’s editorial independence in the face of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s attack on the national broadcaster, which he says ‘instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s’.
Mr Turnbull defended the Prime Minister’s right to critique the ABC but, in comments that could be interpreted as resistance to Mr Abbott, he said the ABC was rightly accountable to its board of directors, not politicians.
Do I get this right? The Government sets up a media organisation that has been captured by its ultra-left staff and staffing policies and that’s the end of it. This is not Fairfax or News Media whose life and death is dependent on earning an income in the market. This is a government-paid-for media organisation over which the government apparently has no control. Is that the point? Is that what he means? Doesn’t work for me. This works for me, from The Australian:
THE ABC’s $223 million Australia Network Asian broadcasting service is likely to be scrapped in the May budget to save money and end the pursuit of “soft diplomacy” in the region through television.
Federal cabinet has already discussed the option of dropping the ABC’s contract to broadcast Australian news and entertainment in the region, with the Government Solicitor providing advice on the ramifications of stripping the ABC of its 10-year contract.
Cabinet ministers believe the ABC’s coverage of Australia in the region is overly negative and fails to promote the nation as originally intended in the Australia Network’s charter by using the “soft diplomacy” of Australian news and cultural programs.
The ABC is unresponsive to what its market wants, more than half of whom voted for this government which the ABC is viscerally opposed to. No one says that the ABC has to be a government news service but it is also not supposed to outrage more than half the country with its approach to political issues.