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ABC Radio’s Mark Colvin and I talk censorship

April 9, 2014

I was very honoured to be asked to join Mark Colvin on his PM radio show to talk about censorship recently. Here is a link to the conversation transcript and the audio file so you can listen to it, if you wish.

The PM, Tony Abbott, has recently attacked the ABC, claiming it is biased and not on Australia’s side. In my opinion, what he’s really complaining about is that the ABC is, in fact, reporting in an unbiased way and is asking the PM awkward questions. He doesn’t want the ABC to talk about Edward Snowden or about the plight of boat people arriving here. He prefers the tame press who know that if they keep the PM happy, he’ll give them the scoops. There is very little true journalism left. The days when journalism was about uncovering the truth, no matter whom it might upset, are almost gone. There are powerful corporations to consider, mining contracts to take into account. In the UK, the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent soldier on and do a valiant job. In the USA, The New York Times and The Washington Post are still brave enough to delve into delicate topics. In Australia? The ABC and SBS. I’m saddened to see the commercial TV news channels in Australia doing beat up stories on minor issues that are little more than gossip and propaganda. Where are the intelligent, well-researched, and challenging stories about the truly big issues impacting us all?
Hands off the ABC, Tony Abbott, and get used to criticism. Or would you rather a subtle censorship of the ABC? Is that where you are heading?

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