Tag Archives: Michelle Guthrie

Michelle Guthrie: ABC cut shortwave to operate within “funding envelop”

(Source: The Guardian via Phil Brennan)

The ABC’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie, has told Senate estimates she believes it is not her job to lobby government for more funding for the broadcaster but to work within the budget she is given.

Under questioning at a fiery Senate estimates committee, Guthrie revealed she saw her role as a manager rather than an advocate for more funding, a marked difference from her predecessor Mark Scott who was a consistent lobbyist for additional funding and critic of government cuts.

“On my second day in the job I was handed down the triennial funding in the May budget and as far as I’m concerned we operate within that three-year funding envelope,” Guthrie said.

Asked repeatedly if she believed it was her role to seek more funding to fulfil the ABC’s charter she said no because her focus was on providing content and operating efficiently.

[…]“I think what you’re asking is reasonably hypothetical. We are operating within the government’s funding envelope and making decisions on audience behaviour and technological advancement.”

She also refused to concede that anyone other than the 15 people who called the ABC to complain, or the 51 who gave submissions to a Senate committee, had been affected by the decision to scrap the shortwave radio service.

She appeared before a Senate estimates committee on Tuesday, answering questions about the decision to end the broadcasting of local radio through shortwave channels in the Northern Territory and Pacific region. The decision was been widely criticised, including by all major parties.

Guthrie was unable to provide evidence of prior consultation on the decision and claimed the ABC was not the official emergency broadcaster.

Asked by Greens senator Scott Ludlam about the “extraordinary cuts” to Radio National features, religion and music, Guthrie dismissed his premise, saying: “I wouldn’t characterise taking three music programs away from RN as an extraordinary decision.”[…]

Read the full article at The Guardian online…

New Managing Director of ABC signals a return to international broadcasting

Radio-Australia-BannerMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phil Brennan, who writes:

The following piece regarding Radio Australia caught my eye last week. It was authored by Hamish McDonald and appeared in the 18 June 2016 edition of the Saturday Paper.

[McDonald] reports on a variety of foreign policy matters from an Australian perspective:

“Guthrie’s world view

Our mole at the ABC tells us new managing director wants to pull back from the embrace of the Chinese Communist Party’s Publicity Department, as the Ministry of Propaganda is known.

In her first meeting with the board on June 9, Guthrie questioned the value of the ABC’s Chinese language portal, AustraliaPlus.cn, which has been pinged by the ABC’s own watchdogs for pulling awkward content to avoid displeasing the CPC.

We are told she also “forcefully expressed” her interest in the corporation returning to full-blooded international broadcasting, and raised the fact that Radio Australia no longer broadcasts in Mandarin, nor in Tok Pisin, the lingua franca of Papua New Guinea. A return to international TV broadcasting two years after the Abbott government scrapped funding for the ABC’s Australia Network (to please Rupert Murdoch) would not come cheap. Nor would a revival of Radio Australia, once the major arm of Australia’s soft power in the region.”

I also spotted a reference to this meeting of the new ABC MD in a previous issue by another columnist which seems to be outside the paywall. Click here to view.

Many thanks, Phil, for sharing this! As I’ve mentioned before, Radio Australia is a staple source of news for many.  I hope Guthrie does, indeed, re-focus on their international content and all forms of delivery.