2015-09-09 17:01:42 Releases

A new report about the ABC has reinforced concerns that the national broadcaster is struggling to fill gaps left by cuts to local commercial media, says the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

MEAA says today’s report, Heartland: Why the bush needs its ABC, should be a wake up call that two years of cuts to the national broadcaster have gone too far.

The report, prepared by The Australia Institute, shows there is strong support for additional funding to the ABC for regional news services from all parts of Australia. Even a clear majority of capital city residents say there should be an expansion of ABC funding for the regions.

MEAA CEO Paul Murphy said that at a time when newspaper publishers were slashing editorial staff in regional Australia, a strong ABC was needed more than ever.

Last week, Fairfax’s Australian Community Media publishing arm announced it would be cutting 46 in the Newcastle and Hunter area, reducing the Newcastle Herald from 61 editorial positions to 24. Earlier this year, 62 journalists were made redundant from Fairfax’s regional newspapers in Victoria.

Commercial television stations have also been closing or centralising their regional news services, with the losses of dozens of journalists’ jobs.

Mr Murphy said the ABC continued to be a major provider of local news and information in regional Australia, but this has been compromised by the closure of regional radio offices and specialised programming as a result of the $487 million cut from the ABC in the last two federal Budgets.

“The cuts to media organisations in regional Australia in the past couple of years have been nothing short of devastating,” Mr Murphy said.

“Fewer journalists means less local news. It means that people are less informed about what is going on in their communities.
“With the financial pressures that are forcing cutbacks to regional newspapers and TV stations, the importance of the ABC as a news service is crucial.

“But the last two rounds of budget cuts are endangering the ABC’s ability to deliver on its charter to provide comprehensive broadcasting services for all Australians.

“The Australia Institute report clearly shows that there is strong public support for increased funding to the ABC for its regional news services,” Mr Murphy said.
For more information contact: Mark Phillips 0422 009 011

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ABC needs more funding to service regional Australia

A new report about the ABC has reinforced concerns that the national broadcaster is struggling to fill gaps left by cuts to local commercial media, says the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

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Last update: October 21, 2015