The chairman of the ABC Justin Milne has penned a loaded op-ed on the apparent ‘take-down’ of the ABC by commercial media and ‘fringe politics’.
In the piece published Wednesday, Milne slams critics of the ABC, suggesting those who vilify the public broadcaster only do so as they take “delight” in seeing the ABC tumble.
“Some people delight in undermining trust in public broadcasting because they’d rather darkness where we shine light, or because their commercial interests are served when Australians have less media diversity and choice,” Milne said.
“Fringe political interests, populists and commercial media all have a shared interest in weakening the ABC and confining it to market-failure activities.
“Each would benefit in their own way from a poorer, less capable, less nosey and less relevant ABC,” he adds.
Recently, heated criticism has been levelled at the ABC with many accusing the broadcaster of using taxpayer’s money to preach biased ideology.
However, according to Milne, “The ABC costs each Australian half what it cost 30 years ago”.
Milne goes on to address the broadcaster’s “declining” ratings.
“The declining audiences reported by commercial media are not and never have been the fault of the ABC.”
Milne pins the issue down the digital duopoly, or as he calls it, “FAANGs”.
“What has changed for all media is the arrival of the FAANGs — or Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google — with their mega-billion-dollar production budgets and global scale-economies that have upended business models the world over.”
Looking to the future, Milne predicts, “television and radio as we currently know it will cease to exist as Australians complete their migration from broadcast to digital services and stream content on demand to the device of their choice.
“The coming decades will be no different. As media companies consolidate and businesses use their global scale to dominate, the existence of an independent ABC will protect diversity and Australian culture — as it always has.
“The ABC will help define Australian culture in a fragmenting world,” he adds.