Investigative journalist, Quentin Dempster, has prepared a report on political interference at the ABC. It finds that there has been a systematic and deliberate campaign at play to weaken our ABC.
For a short explanation - please click on 6 ways politics messes with the ABC.
If you would like to see the full report - please click on Insidious and intentional: political interference and harassment of the ABC.
Here are the top findings from the report (points provided by Quentin Dempster):
- The ABC has been starved of funding: Since elected in 2013 the Coalition has ripped $783 million from the ABC's budget with funding weaponised to undermine the ABC's independence and place strict conditions as to where budget can be spent. In every instance, the Coalition has broken election promises to properly fund our ABC.
- The Coalition exploits public arenas like Senate reviews and inquiries, parliamentary debates and the Murdoch Press to brazenly attack the ABC. Letters from the Minister to the ABC Board chair have also been strategically leaked to the media undercutting the ABC and proper process.
- Coalition Ministers appear on the ABC on average six times less than commercial media – allowing them to sidestep examination and accountability, and deprive the ABC's many and large audiences of crucial Government perspectives.
- Ex-ABC staff allege that Government officials place direct editorial and operational pressure by contacting staff behind closed doors to ask for major story edits and even staff dismissals.
- Legal threats from Government Ministers and raids by law enforcement agencies have increased, having a chilling effect on journalism. The Government's hostility towards the ABC is evident in its refusal to protect journalists from police overreach.
It would appear that the Coalition's campaign of intimidation and harassment runs much deeper than just cuts – and that's why it's so important we expose their agenda. A critical job of the ABC is to hold power to account without fear or favour and deliver news to communities who rely on it to survive – without the constant threat of defunding.
Creating a fairer future and safer climate is only possible if we have a healthy democracy and that can't be achieved without a strong, independent, fully funded public broadcaster.