Are Cuts to the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) about Curtailing Freedom of Speech?

I just noticed I wrote Australian Broadcasting Commission not Corporation, that has to do with my age.  When I was young it was called this.  What is really obvious now I look to see and see to look is that it is a corporation.  That means it can trade.  This is how the public loses control.  Public assets become corporatised, contracts happen with other external corporations and then assets are sold off.  That is the rationale behind corporatisation. It is a transfer from the public to private interests. There is no distribution of shares to the owners of the public asset, it is a shift in power. Then users pay comes and we pay for things that were free given taxes paid for the asset.  Cross subsidisation ensured equity and shared use of the asset e.g. education, hospitals, roads, electricity, carparks, parks, libraries and so on.  So as we corporatise we lose ownership but still have to pay.  That I find fascinating as a citizen.  So to the story….

Why is the ABC a threat to those in power?  I am not just referring to politicians here.  Can you remove opposition or critique?  Throughout history dictators have fallen always,  as Gandhi wisely observed.  He spoke of the way of love and truth, I subscribe to this and it opens me to my community as a shared interest.

My vote is for freedom of speech and real democracy where differences are excitedly invited not suppressed as a ‘enemy’.  I am noticing significantly these days that there is a movement towards shutting down different viewpoints and to control information that reaches the public. 

If opposition is shutdown where does that leave Australian citizens or for that matter other citizens around the world? What I do know is that contrast creates better ideas and to be challenged is to stretch beyond. If there is no ego involved you invite it as it is not personal just diversity showing up.  Who are you in contrast to that viewpoint?  It is about knowing yourself not the other.  HOwever, if power is the objective then a philosophical growth as a part of life will be suppressed, as change is threatening.  The truth is if you want the world in your image then that is much harder as people can’t conform as we are different.  They are not rebelling they just think differently and cannot be forced in a box, look at kids, they argue and defend their right to their own view.  That is natural in humans.  It has nothing to do with right or left perspectives. 

The right wing tends to be of a business orientation focussed on GDP growth as a primary belief (security, wealth retention) and the left is of an intellectual focus with a social conscience, that is my understanding. Canberra demographically had a very high intellectual percentage and were typically Labor voters as they were conscious of social issues.  The ABC is typically staffed by left wing intellectual journalists.  We have Fox news on the right that overtly seeks to influence the conservative agenda, it is really obvious.  Yet I believe media should be non political and provides intelligent discourse so that the public get both sides and can make decisions. When media moguls are allowed to dominate through ownership  with a disregard for democracy that is when mind control becomes a feature and that is not in the public interest.

The ABC is seen as threatening as they challenge power by raising questions that those interviewed clearly do not like as they see it as a threat rather than welcome it as a part of democracy and to open their minds to be better at what they do.   If the ABC is privatised that will mean that citizens can’t say anything as they lose collective ownership and rights, it is a way of weakening the voice of civil society by disempowering alternative narratives. It is reflective of mindsets that are not democratic.  It is a sign that democracy is is decline at this time. 

Typically these trends of shutting down democracy are global as power is concentrated yet transgresses international boundaries and nation states.  We are in interesting times that have not been seen in this country to this extent. It feels as if an experiment. 

I think and feel de-democratisation is happening and capitalism is on the rise, it is like a corporate takeover, interesting!  The management style in corproations is typically dictatorial not democratic. Therefore they wish to be obeyed not challenged.  That is viewed as disloyal or dissent in mindsets that are intolerant to challenges.

The question for citizens is what type of society do you want – democracy or capitalism?  Which is secure? Which is sustainable? Which is empowering? Which values human rights and diversity? 

Australia is multicultural, it is a microcosm of the world.  I look forward to observe what happens in this experiment of expanding control versus increasing freedom.  What we choose will change the world.

  • arts & culture

ABC funding slashed by $84m in budget to help broadcaster ‘live within their means’

Funding for the ABC has been cut by $84m with the treasurer, Scott Morrison, saying the reduction is justified because “everyone has to live within their means”.

Operational funding for the ABC will remain at 2018-19 levels over three years in what the government has called an “indexation freeze”. The government announced the funding reduction in Tuesday’s budget and said it would “ensure the ABC continues to find back-office efficiencies”.

The cuts come amid fierce criticism of the ABC from some elements of the Coalition, especially over economics editor Emma Alberici’s coverage of the government’s corporate tax cut plans. Last month the communications minister, Mitch Fifield, was forced to defend his membership of the rightwing thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs, which advocates for the privatisation of the national broadcaster.

The “indexation freeze” also echoes the Coalition’s “efficiency dividend” imposed on the ABC in the 2014-15 budget, which broke Tony Abbott’s election-eve pledge of “no cuts to the ABC or SBS”.

The cut will be phased in over three years, with a $14.6m cut in 2019-20, $27.8m in 2020-21 and $41.2m in 2021-22. Total funding for the national broadcaster will go from $1.131bn in 2017 to $1.122bn in 2018-19.

Mohandas Gandhi

“God has no religion”