Reduction of local news and station closures disastrous for people living outside Australia’s cities, researchers say
Cuts to the ABC in regional and rural Australia and the corporation’s increasing reliance on digital technologies is jeopardising the safety of remote communities and their access to emergency warnings, Deakin University research has found.
The ABC’s increasingly “digital-first” approach to emergency information and the reduction in ABC reporters’ local knowledge is causing great distress among rural populations who rely on broadcast signals because they don’t have the bandwidth or coverage for digital, researchers say.
A reduction of local news and information, centralised newsrooms in metropolitan areas, the closure of several ABC stations and the scaling back of broadcast programming has been disastrous for people outside the cities, according to a new study, Communication life line? ABC emergency broadcasting in rural/regional Australia.
But the ABC has played down the study’s significance, saying it is based on parliamentary submissions and is not an “accurate or up-to-date” summary of the corporation’s role in rural and regional Australia; and that the ABC is not funded as an emergency service.
Based on public submissions to a parliamentary inquiry, the researchers Julie Freeman, Kristy Hess and Lisa Waller found “burgeoning discontent about the corporation’s ability to fulfil its role as a designated emergency broadcaster and provide communication life lines to rural and regional communities”.[…]
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.
As Radio Australia cuts shortwave services, RNZI becomes the voice of the Pacific
Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) continues to serve people across the Pacific region, delivering essential day to day news and information and providing a vital lifeline in times of natural disaster, as Radio Australia closes its international shortwave transmission service to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
Emphasising the importance of RNZI’s 25-year relationship with New Zealand’s Pacific neighbours, RNZ CEO, Paul Thompson said: “Remote parts of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu who may be feeling the loss of the ABC can rest assured RNZI will continue to provide independent, timely and accurate news, information and weather warnings as well as entertainment to its Pacific listeners.”
Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s decision to switch off its shortwave services as a money saving measure has already drawn criticism and protests from a number of groups in Australia.