Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) chair Ita Buttrose has called for additional funding for international broadcasting so the public broadcaster can be a “clarion” voice of trusted news and play a bigger role in soft diplomacy in the region.
“The importance of journalism to our country’s Asia-Pacific interests cannot be underestimated and I believe a renewed ABC focus on international broadcasting would greatly benefit Australia,” Buttrose said.
“The ability to report critically on our own political system is a powerful demonstration of democratic values, particularly to countries with limited press freedom,” she said.
“As a statutory independent broadcaster, the ABC has a reputation throughout the region for its credible, frank and impartial coverage of our own backyard,” she added.
The ABC would launch an international version of its iview streaming platform, called ABC Australia iview, at the end of the month, Buttrose said.
However, the cost of international TV rights means the offering would be limited to selected episodes of ABC titles.
She compared the ABC’s limited funding for international broadcasting since the termination of the Australia Network with the BBC World Service, which receives ￡330 million (US$429 million) a year.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2014 cut the ABC’s international service, which had broadcast content to 46 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and had a potential audience of 144 million people.
Australia has fallen from sixth to 10th place in the University of Southern California’s Center for Public Diplomacy Soft Power 30 index since 2015.
The ABC’s international arm has ABC Australia, which broadcasts into 40 territories across the Indo-Pacific region, Radio Australia and an international app.
“The ABC is Australia’s trusted voice in Asia and the Pacific,” Buttrose said. “It has a proud record of achievement, having told Australian stories, reported fairly and fearlessly, taught generations to speak English and delivered critical information in times of crisis for 80 years.”
BEIJING BAILOUT: Pyongyang’s economic woes would not lead to famine because China will not let that happen due to its fear of a pro-US unified Korea, experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for another “arduous march” to fight severe economic difficulties, for the first time comparing them to a 1990s famine that killed hundreds of thousands. Kim had previously said his nation faces its “worst-ever” situation due to several factors — including the COVID-19 pandemic, US-led sanctions and natural disasters in the summer last year — but it is the first time he has publicly drawn a parallel with the deadly famine. North Korea monitoring groups have not detected any signs of mass starvation or a humanitarian disaster, but Kim’s comments still suggest how seriously he views
SUBMERGED 6,500M: The 115m-long ship was sunk on Oct. 25, 1944, in the Battle of Leyte Gulf as the US fought to recover the Philippines from Japanese occupation A US Navy destroyer sunk during World War II and lying nearly 6,500m below sea level off the coast of the Philippines has been reached in the world’s deepest shipwreck dive, a US exploration team said. A crewed submersible filmed, photographed and surveyed the wreckage of the USS Johnston off the coast of Samar Island during two eight-hour dives completed late last month, Texas-based undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic said. The 115m-long ship was sunk on Oct. 25, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf as US forces fought to recover the Philippines, then a US colony, from Japanese occupation. Its location in
‘VOSTOK 1’: The first flight attempt is planned to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first space flight by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin NASA’s Ingenuity mini-helicopter has survived its first night alone on the frigid surface of Mars, the US space agency said, hailing it as “a major milestone” for the tiny craft as it prepares for its first flight. The ultra-light aircraft was dropped on the surface on Saturday after detaching from the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on Feb. 18. Detached from the Perseverance, Ingenuity had to rely on its own solar-powered battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night, where temperatures can plunge as low as
LOSING CONTROL? Fitch Solutions said that a revolution pitting the military against the anti-coup movement and ethnic militias was likely due to the rising violence Burmese security forces yesterday arrested Paing Takhon, a model and actor who had spoken out against a military coup, his sister told reporters, as people placed shoes filled with flowers in parts of Yangon to commemorate dead protesters. Troops on Wednesday opened fire on protesters, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, protesters and media said. Nearly 600 civilians have been killed by security forces since the junta in February seized power from the elected government of Aung San Su Kyi, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said on Wednesday. The advocacy group said that 2,847 were being held in detention. A spokesman