SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

By Michael Giles

ABC Radio in Gippsland provides an excellent service.

In times of emergency and adversity; during bushfires, floods and drought, for example, their broadcasting services are especially crucial but right through the year, they highlight issues of importance and interest fully in line with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act and the ABC Charter.

The government should not only continue to support such regional services, it should be looking at ways to expanded ABC services in the country.
ABC TV, not so much!

In recent times, ABC TV, and to a lesser extent, national and state-wide programs have become far too much focused on politics and political analysis to an extent that is well beyond its charter.

While the charter does mention in particular encouraging and promoting the “musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia”, it does not call for the obsessive interest in federal politics, especially the behaviour of MPs, at the exclusion of more weighty issues such as the parlous state of aged care, the failure of the banks to properly serve the community and the lack of a national energy policy.

The ABC should be leading the way on these important matters rather than arguing over the impact of Prime Minister’s religious beliefs.

Certainly, the charter talks about covering current affairs but analysing the minutiae of government and the personal preferences of MPs is way out of whack with what the community and the charter is calling for.

The charter also says the ABC should be “…broadcasting programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community; and broadcasting programs of an educational nature”.

It should be “reflecting” what we see in the community and “contributing” to the sense of national identity that already exists not trying to reinvent it.