Tag Archives: Radio Australia Cuts

Australia: International broadcasting, soft power and the wisdom of the crowd

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nigel Holmes, who writes:

Here are a couple of interesting url following the joint Australian DFAT & DCA Review of Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific. [One] gives a good overview and the [other] is a concise assessment of HF and Radio Australia in the role of broadcasting to remote areas. Have a look. Former RA Head Jean-Gabriel Manguy made a submission, I did not this time. The submissions are in the public domain.

Click here to read Trevor Bird’s submission (PDF).

Click here to read Jean-Gabriel Manguy’s submission (PDF).

(Source: Lowy Institute – The Interpreter by Geoff Heriot)

International broadcasting: the ABC vs the wisdom of the crowd

The findings of two related government reviews – on international broadcasting, and soft power – should offer an incoming Australian government the potential of a substantial policy reset following the general election in May. Specifically, they may help clarify the purpose and place of state-funded international broadcasting/digital media in Australia’s foreign relations, following a decades-long cycle of investment and dis-investment.

Shortly before Christmas, the Department of Communications published most of the 433 submissions (92 private individuals, 31 organisations or groups, and 310 signatories to a pro-forma submission) made to the first of those reviews, Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific, excluding those whose authors wished them to remain confidential. Finalisation of the broadcasting report precedes the related Soft Power Review, being undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which has proposed a completion date of around March.

So it is timely to take note of the wisdom of the crowd, as expressed through the more discursive submissions to the broadcasting review, and to compare them with the institutional perspective of the ABC as the responsible agency for international broadcasting.[…]

Click here to read the full article.

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Australian Foreign Minister says her party did not support shutting down shortwave

The Shepparton transmitter site of ABC/Radio Australia

(Source: RadioInfo via William Lee and Dennis Dura)

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has told [ ABC’s Radio National ] RN’s Fran Kelly that her party did not support the ABC’s decision to switch off short wave services in the Pacific.

“It is not a decision of the Australian government,” she said.

Bishop has travelled to Samoa to launch a radio transmission facility, funded by Australia’s aid program, to support disaster management and emergency management.

“We have a media assistance scheme to ensure that radio transmission can continue… I would certainly encourage the ABC to continue shortwave transmission in the Pacific.”

Asked by Fran Kelly if that funding could have been given to the ABC given that the cuts were the result of funding decisions at the time, Minister Bishop said: “The ABC determines its priorities…”[…]

Continue reading at RadioInfo.

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RNZ and the “Chinese shortwave foray into the Pacific”

(Source: Radio New Zealand via Mike Hansgen)

China is taking up a lot of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s former shortwave radio frequencies into the Pacific region.

In response to budget cuts, the ABC last year ceased shortwave broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region ahead of a transition to FM transmission.

Since that withdrawal, frequencies on which Pacific Islanders listened to ABC radio for many years are being filled up by China Radio International.

Radio New Zealand Pacific is of course still broadcasting to the Pacific region on shortwave.

Its Technical Manager, Adrian Sainsbury, spoke to Johnny Blades about the Chinese shortwave foray into the Pacific.

Click here to listen to this story via RNZ.

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“Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific”

(Source: Devpolicy Blog via Mike Bird)

On our Australian doorstep is an amazing place, Papua New Guinea. Seven of us were there for the month of August, exploring a remote region of islands and atolls in the Massim district of Milne Bay Province by boat, visiting places most people would not think of seeing.

[…]As Australians we were warmly received everywhere. Australia was the PNG administrator for decades and has left many good things in place. The Australian influence was there in diverse ways, including an inspired wooden Hills Hoist and outdoor bench setting at Boagis village, way out at the extreme end of PNG territory.

[…]But there was a worrying side that we shared. We visited many remote islands where basic services are deplorable, particularly their health services. At one sub-provincial health centre in Guasopa village [Woodlark Island], they had nothing but Panadol. We shared our first aid resources and knowledge, and treated those we could with spare drugs we had brought from Australia. There are so many issues facing PNG that we despaired at its future prospects.

Australia is the lucky country, but right now New Guinea is not. We were most surprised and quite angry to learn that Radio Australia no longer transmits to the region, or even the wider Pacific. One small service that Australia could offer is the return of shortwave radio.

The island of Panaeati, south of Misima, is typical of many we visited. It has a population of 2,080 people, many well educated, and fluent in English. The missions and the former Australian administration are responsible for this. Our contacts there expressed great disappointment at the loss of Radio Australia services in January 2017. So much so, that they discussed the prospect of raising a petition at local government level to the Australian government.[…]

Click here to read the full article at the DevPolicy Blog.

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The Guardian: Study shows ABC cuts to shortwave & rural broadcasts “jeopardising safety of remote communities”

(Source: The Guardian via Ian P)

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”.[…]

Continue reading at The Guardian.

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Nick Xenophon champions review of ABC shortwave broadcasting to Pacific

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ian P, who shares the following via ABC News:

ABC shortwave broadcasting to the Pacific to be reviewed

The decision to end Australian shortwave broadcasting to the Pacific earlier this year could be revisited.

There’s to be a review of Asia Pacific broadcasting services, as part of a wide ranging package of reforms to the country’s media laws agreed to by independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

The Department of Communications and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are to conduct a review, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used.

The review will include public consultation and the report will be made public.

Senator Nick Xenophon has been strenuously opposed the decision by the ABC to end shortwave services, and he was a key crossbench figure in negotiations over the media reforms.

Click here to download the interview.

Click here to read and listen to the interview via ABC News.

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ABC scolded for cutting shortwave service

(Source: news.com.au via Trevor R)

The ABC has been slammed by all sides of politics over its “foolish” decision to cut the transmission of shortwave radio to remote Australia and the Pacific Islands.

The Senate debated a private bill on Thursday by crossbench senator Nick Xenophon to force the ABC to restore transmission after it was cut earlier this year.

“It seems a terrible decision that’s been made by the ABC board,” Senator Xenophon told parliament, accusing the public broadcaster of ignoring the bush and Australia’s neighbours.
The ABC insists listeners can still tune in via FM and AM frequencies, the viewer access satellite television (VAST) service and online.

But senators say the ABC fails to understand those alternative methods are not available to everyone in the bush and the information people are missing out on can be life threatening, such as weather warnings.

Senator Xenophon said the ABC had miscalculated how many people relied on the service.
“There are some question marks over the methodology used by the ABC in relation to this.”

Continue reading the full article at news.com.au…

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