Hands Off Our ABC

What we stand for: editorial independence

The ABC is consistently ranked as Australia’s most trusted source of news.

This is a reputation built on the foundations of more than 80 years of impartial and uncompromising news gathering in Australia and around the world.

With 56 offices and studios around the country, 14 international bureaux, and more than 4313 staff (FTE), the ABC has a reach that is unmatched by any other media organisation in Australia.

The ABC is governed by a legislative charter to provide innovative and comprehensive broadcasting services that contribute to a sense of national identity and inform and entertain, and reflect the cultural diversity of, the Australian community.

For more than 80 years, the ABC has been delivering on that charter as both an essential national service and a powerful institution serving all Australians.

It has brought the world to Australia and taken Australia to the world.

As a news service, the ABC has informed Australians accurately and impartially about events and issues at home and overseas.

Its network of correspondents reaches most corners of this vast nation and extends abroad like no other Australian media organisation.

The ABC continues to enjoy enormous public respect and support. 

However, in addition to funding cuts that will make it increasingly difficult for the ABC to fulfil its charter, we have concerns about political interference in the running of the ABC, especially its editorial independence.

The integrity of the ABC lies in its editorial news coverage being without fear or favour and independent of any political influence. 

This has been reinforced by regular editorial reviews to ensure the accuracy and impartiality of ABC news and current affairs content. The most recent review, conducted by Ray Martin and Shaun Brown, focussed on the weekly current affairs program Q&A.

Journalists and editorial staff at the ABC cannot perform their duties effectively if they are second-guessing how their reporting will be viewed  by politicians.

For some time, Coalition politicians have run a campaign to intimidate and criticise the ABC with the objective of influencing its editorial decisions to be more favorable towards the Coalition parties.

Q&A has been a specific target of these complaints.

But the Martin and Brown editorial review concluded: “We believe, after close analysis, this general impression is not substantiated.”

We cannot have freedom of speech and freedom of the press if the ABC is to simply be a mouthpiece for the government of the day.

We demand that all political parties respect the editorial and programming independence of the ABC as enshrined in the ABC Act.

Governmental interference in the ABC undermines the integrity of its news coverage and it must always be independent of any political influence.