ABC’s David Anderson Calls For Greater Diversity Among Panel-Shows

ABC’s David Anderson Calls For Greater Diversity Among Panel-Shows

Managing director of the ABC David Anderson is calling for a wider scope of viewpoints among guests on its panel show.

The push follows the broadcaster’s impending “tough” budget decisions.

Anderson revealed to The Sydney Morning Herald/Age the ABC was facing some difficult choices about content and staff over the next three years in order to meet funding commitments.

The new MD, who took over from Michelle Guthrie in May, would not reveal which panel shows he was referring to but did say the programs needed to better reflect the views of Australians.

He said: “[From] time to time … the perspective of views that we represent is something that we could improve on.

“We haven’t done it sometimes because someone didn’t want to come onto the panel or there are [other] reasons as to why this has happened. But if I can see an area to improve, I can see that.”

Liberal MPs often complain there is a left-wing bias on the ABC. However, Anderson said there was no evidence of systemic bias but conceded the makeup of broadcasters panel, could possibly sway public perception in a negative way.

Anderson said: “I think that is what leads to people’s rush to judgment about the ABC being biased perhaps, that we haven’t accurately reflected what would be the views of the country for whatever reason.

ABC chair Ita Buttrose said last month some staff at the broadcaster “might be biased” and supported the call to broadcast a more diverse range of views.

How the ABC spends its money is a big choice for Anderson to make after the Turnbull government imposed an indexation freeze on the ABC’s $1 billion-a-year budget for three years.

Anderson revealed he will be reviewing ABC Life, a controversial website launched in August 2018 under  Guthrie’s leadership.

The website covers topics such as well-being, food, home and garden, and sex and relationships, and has faced criticism from some for being a bad use of taxpayer’s money, considering lifestyle content is already covered by many other commercial media outlets.

Anderson said: “ABC Life is relatively new, I think we have set to review ABC Life in the coming months to see if it has done the job that we wanted ABC Life to do [and] look at its relative success.

“That means quantitatively and qualitatively and assess what we do and whether we continue that or not.”

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