A new book by Professor Sinclair Davidson and Dr Chris Berg ‘Against Public Broadcasting: Why We Should Privatise the ABC and How to Do It’ was launched last night at an Institute of Public Affairs event in Sydney.
RMIT Postdoctoral Fellow and IPA Senior Fellow Chris Berg said, “The ABC is a 1 billion dollar public policy initiative that is increasingly out of date. The ABC was formed in 1932 – a time of media scarcity. The economics and technology of broadcasting is vastly different now. Public broadcasting does not make sense in an age of media plenty.”
“ABC has a distorting effect on the media and political landscape. While the ABC produces much high quality content, our view is that it should be exposed to the market and be more responsive to the demands of media consumers,” said Dr Berg.
RMIT Professor and IPA Senior Fellow Sinclair Davidson said, “The ABC has a very confused vision of the role it plays in Australia. It is not as a market failure broadcaster. It does nothing unique that the government couldn’t otherwise achieve at a much lower cost to taxpayers.”
While survey data shows that Australians ‘trust’ the ABC, the book finds that ratings data shows that few Australians consume its product.
“There are good and bad reasons for privatising the ABC. Bad reasons include punishing the ABC for political bias and realising the value for ABC for budgetary purposes. Good reasons for privatising the ABC include meeting consumer satisfaction, eliminating taxpayer subsidies, and to ensure competitive neutrality in media markets.”
“Given its potential value, the government shouldn’t simply defund the ABC. The ABC should be given away to either the Australian public or a group of people. It is likely that best people to manage and realise the ABCs true value are the past and existing staff. They could then pay the value of the ABC through the capital gains tax,” said Professor Davidson.
The book, ‘Against Public Broadcasting: Why We Should Privatise the ABC and How to Do It’, is available now from Connor Court Publishing.