Free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs has today called on the Morrison Government to privatise the ABC in light of allegations of editorial interference by ABC Chair Justin Milne.
“This episode proves once and for all that, despite its claims otherwise, the ABC is in no way ‘independent’,” said IPA Director of Communications, Gideon Rozner.
“A situation in which the chair of the ABC allegedly demands the sacking of a journalist because the government of the day ‘hates her’ proves that true media independence is totally incompatible with state ownership.
“The need for a state-owned broadcaster in Australia is well past its use-by date. The Government must end this farce and immediately move to privatise the ABC.”
The IPA’s comments come as it releases a new Parliamentary Research Brief titled Five Myths About State Ownership of the ABC, which was today sent to all federal parliamentarians.
“Rethinking state ownership is not an ‘attack’ on the ABC, any more than privatisation was an attack on QANTAS or Telstra,” Mr Rozner said.
“Many state-owned enterprises have benefitted substantially from private ownership. This would be no different for the ABC.”
The IPA also disputed the claim that state ownership of the ABC is essential to media “diversity”.
“Justin Milne has claimed that the ABC’s existence ‘is not and never was based on the premise of market failure’. If that is the case, then there is no reason to protect the ABC from the market in which every other media outlet is required to compete.
“A state-owned ABC is not essential to the production of Australian programming. Commercial networks produce local content well in excess of levels required under their license obligations,” said Mr Rozner.
Download the Parliamentary Research Brief: Five Myths About State Ownership of the ABC.
For media and comment: Evan Mulholland, Media and Communications Manager, on 0405 140 780, or at [email protected]