Don Westley writes: That a journalist
of such high respect and integrity should be treated in such a way shows that
there is something very wrong with the ABC.

Alison Vickery writes: Thanks for your
story on I am wondering what this story also says for media law
changes. Seems like all the major TV stations are acting strangly and as a
television addict I am wondering how on earth this is going to work if the
media law changes happen on top of all of this. Nine seems to have forgotten
that they can have all the egos they want but at the end of the day if they
dont have programming then they can get rid of as many people they like but it
will never work.

Seven seems to be motivated by pay-back to
nine – and it shows – although lets face it at least they have some
programmes. Ten doesn’t seem to have any limits on what it will do for a buck.
And the ABC well they seem to be backing away from what they do best and by the
way a story I want to hear. By the way I saw Media Watch last night and noticed
that Alan Jones’ lawyer was Mark O’Brien at Gilbert & Tobin who is
also the Packer lawyer. Maybe it is not relevant and call me cynical but
with everything else going on it does make you wonder. I also heard some
discussion on ABC Radio this morning about the fall out between Rupert Murdoch
and James Packer/PBL. Is this all a power play?

Graeme Major writes: As happens with many a
banned book, the ABC Board has done Chris Masters a favour by putting his into
the best-seller list even before publication. Please reserve my
copy. I will even pay in advance.

Laurie Gantner writes: Little John now has
HIS ABC. Australia has lost another point of view from another perspective that would
question the Little John view of life.

Gus Kernot writes: I will be lining up to buy this book.

An ABC broadcaster writes: What will be
interesting to see is whether or not there’s any attempt to prevent programs – radio in particular – interviewing
Masters when the book is finally released. Authors can spend a a full day, and
more, in a ‘Tardis’ in Sydney or Melbourne, talking to different ABC Radio outlets. Will
that be the case with ‘Jonestown’, or will there be an – unprecedented – attempt
to influence content? Should be interesting.

Annie Bryan writes: I think that Chris
Masters is is a very fine journalist with a great deal of integrity and
this is where my disappointment lies: that a journalist of such high
calibre can be treated so badly by the people that employ him, and
requested him to write the book in the first place (I believe).I am
looking forward to reading “/Jonestown/”, not
because I dislike Alan Jones (I don’t even know him), but because the
man has a great deal of influence over our society and I would like to
know what worthy
things that he may have done for this country.I am curious about board
appointments, funding constraints and what appears to me to be continual
criticism of the ABC by the Government. What are they afraid of, I do

Jim Hart (former publisher) writes: Isn’t everyone getting a bit
over-excited about the Jonestown thing? I reckon it’s time a few people
had a nice cup of Kool-ade and good lie down. The board of any private
publisher should be entitled to veto any project provided they don’t
mind losing some money and possibly their publishing staff. So why not
the commercial arm of the ABC? It’s hardly censorship since the author
is free to go to any number of other publishers. The book will no doubt
find a home very quickly and will probably sell well, and then the
outraged voices will cry “told you so”, but of course now it has the
benefit of being a banned book which is always good for sales.

Joan Coxsedge writes: I’m increasingly
unhappy with the direction taken by what we once thought was ‘our’ ABC,
has come to a head over its refusal to publish Chris Masters’ book.
Sadly, it’s symptomatic of a broader malaise infecting our society,
where our public institutions have been corporatised, privatised and

Penelope Toltz writes: Having been
president of the Friends of the ABC for six years, I take very
seriously the fact that I am a shareholder in the ABC. I have been
saying for some time that, although things looked
quiet on the front since Shier went, we all had to realise that the
appointments to senior management were largely his and many of them
were people who were more interested in commercial realities than
ethical, investigative or journalistic values. Alan Jones is an
extremely influential man. He works on
the principles of the advertising industry – commitment, authority,
personal liking – all of these in the book Influence the Psychology of
Persuasion written by Robert Cialdini. His real genius is that he is on
air every day, he doesn’t let anyone state any opinions which he
personally doesn’t agree with and he sticks to a simple message which
he repeats over and over again. He is not only influential, he is also
dangerous because when he does turn against someone – watch out. I had
my only contact with Mr Jones during the first campaign against selling
the insurance arm of the NRMA. He was niceness itself. He berated
members of the NRMA board to came on air to talk about the float. He
used all my questions and answers that I carefully sent him.

Next time around, what a different story. By then Mr Jones already
had the NRMA as a major advertiser on his morning program. THIS time
around,instead of looking after the “little people on struggle street”
spent his time touting for the NRMA Insurance to be privatised. What a
difference a few years and a few hundred thousand dollars made.

I am very sad at the shadow that the ABC has become. When Quentin,
Phillip, Kerry and a few others go, there will be no-one left who even
remembers what the ABC’s real raison d’etre is — the thin paring of the
salami as it is known, or the slow boiling of the frog will be
complete. The only plus in this very ordinary saga is that the public
now know that the ABC wasted many tens of thousands of its precious
dollars on getting a book ready then dumping it. And of course the plus
for Chris Masters is, that he will probably make much more from the
book once it is published due to the inadvertent and foolish publicity
the ABC’s decision has

I thought that the people on the ABC board were put there not only
because of their right wing credentials, but also their ability in
business. This decision shows that they don’t know a possible best
seller when they fall over it.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey