ABC opposes bill to restore Pacific shortwave service
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has made a Senate submission opposing a bill which would force it to restore its shortwave services for the Northern Territory and the Pacific.
The bill was introduced by South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon after the ABC switched off its shortwave transmitters in late January.
The ABC is opposed to the bill and said in its submission that its passing would impinge on its independence by directing the ABC to use broadcast technologies for diminishing audiences and at significant maintenance costs.
The ABC has turned off its shortwave radio transmitters, leaving Australians in remote areas without easy access to lifeline radio
OTTAWA — On Jan. 31, state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp. shut down its shortwave radio transmitters; ending both international broadcasts of Radio Australia and the ABC’s domestic service in Australia’s Northern Territory. The transmitters were located at ABC broadcasting facilities at Katherine, Tennant Creek, and Roe Creek (Alice Springs).
According to the ABC news release that announced the shutdown on Dec. 6 — less than two months before it took place — “The move is in line with the national broadcaster’s commitment to dispense with outdated technology and to expand its digital content offerings including DAB+ digital radio, online and mobile services, together with FM services for international audiences.”
[…]The majority of ABC audiences in the Northern Territory currently access ABC services via AM and FM and all ABC radio and digital radio services are available on the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) satellite service.”[…]
The government of Vanuatu sent a formal submission to the Australian Senate asking for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to resume its shortwave service.
[…]In a letter, Vanuatu’s prime minister Charlot Salwai said removing the shortwave service to Vanuatu could cost many lives in the likelihood of a major natural disaster, like cyclone Pam two years ago.
The Daily Post said radio broadcasts to remote parts of the country have been cited as a reason the death toll from the category five storm was relatively low.
After the storm there was practically no domestic communication, with shortwave the only radio means to reach a scattered population.
Mr Salwai said it could be reasonably stated that Australia’s shortwave service helps save Pacific lives and Australian tax dollars.
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