ABC: Enemy of the state

Published:

"The ABC are our enemies"

That's a direct quote from a Liberal National Party conference last weekend, right before they voted in favour of "enforce[ing]... balanced debate" at our National Broadcaster.1 

And it isn't an idle threat. 

The Morrison Government has quietly tabled insidious changes to the ABC's charter that could force dangerous ideas – peddled by anti-vaxers, tobacco and gun lobbyists, and climate deniers – into our living rooms.2,3 

Even though Labor and the Greens are opposed to the changes, we need to make sure a solid majority of the Senate will stand strong and vote against this attack on our ABC's editorial independence. 

That's where you come in. 

Together, we can expose these warped changes for what they are. But it'll take expert policy advice, hard-hitting research, creative tactics that cut through Morrison's spin and strategic interventions targeting whichever politicians need to be pursuaded. 

It won't come cheap and, with the government planning to push these changes through in the next three months, we need to get started as soon as possible. 

Can you chip in $12 to the campaign to ensure the crossbench sees this bill for exactly what it is and stands for our ABC? 

Here's what we can pull off with enough support:
  • Commission world-class researchers to produce a report on case studies where editorial intervention has forced coverage of dangerous fringe issues

  • Run a public awareness campaign to put that research up in lights, and show people just how twisted these changes to our ABC's charter are, ensuring massive support for our public broadcaster as this government ramps up its attacks on Press Freedom

  • Run discrete targeted strategies to ensure enough Senators come out in support of a fully-funded, politically independent ABC

We know this kind of campaign works. Earlier this year, Scott Morrison tried to appoint a new ABC chair with connections to the Liberal Party. Thousands of you came together – chipping in to fund an investigation into the candidates and redouble the public pressure on the government to appoint a truly independent Chair. In the end, Morrison was forced to back down from his widely-reported front-runner. 

But to effectively fight back against this fresh attack on our ABC, we need your support. 

Can you chip in $12 to fight back against these warped changes to our ABC's charter? 

Former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes has described this legislation as having the potential to "become a weapon aimed straight at the ethos, and the reputation, of the most trusted news source in Australia".3 

Which is exactly what the government wants – putting them at odds with a united public that is more concerned about press freedom than ever before. 

Armed raids at the ABC, criminal prosecution threats against journalists, and a sweeping series of laws targeting whistleblowers have captured our attention. Across the political spectrum, there is growing support for a robust, free, and independent press. 

The escalation is terrifying – but it's also an opportunity. An opportunity to build people-powered support for a free and independent press, to champion the importance of publicly funded journalism, and to draw attention to the dangers of the Murdoch media's creeping dominance of our media landscape. 

The fearless work of our ABC has never been so important. Click here to chip in $12 and fight back 

In Determination, 
Ruby, Patrick, Sarah and Tosca – for the GetUp team 

PS - These changes to our ABC's charter are the brainchild of Pauline Hanson. The Coalition agreed to push these changes in exchange for One Nation's support for laws that increased the power of the Murdoch media. Hanson's inspiration? The actual motto of Murdoch's rabidly right-wing US TV station FoxNews – "Fair and Balanced". Click here to chip in to fight back against the "Murdoch Amendment" to our ABC's charter 

References: 
1. ABC described as 'enemies' of the LNP at state convention, Brisbane Times, July 12 2019 
2. Legislation proposed for introduction in the 2019 Winter/Spring sitting, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Government, Canberra 
3. What One Nation's plans for the ABC charter would mean for fair reporting, Jonathan Holmes in the Sydney Morning Herald, August 16 2017
 
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