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Apr 23, 2008

Anzac Day and the ABC: let's join the dots

There has been a minor kerfuffle today about the ABC and its Anzac Day coverage. What went on?


The ABC’s head of television has been on the front foot this morning:

April 23, 2008


Director of ABC Television Kim Dalton has confirmed this morning the ABC will provide “live” coverage of the Gallipoli Dawn Service to all networks, and also live coverage of the Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service.

ABC TV will broadcast the Gallipoli Dawn Service on ABC1 in each state after the coverage of the Anzac Day marches around the nation have concluded. This will be followed by coverage of the Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service.

Coverage of the Gallipoli Dawn Service will also be available to audiences on ABC2 followed by coverage of the Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service.

What went on? A TV insider writes:

If you ever wanted a good example of why media concentration is a bad thing, take a look at the Tele and the Herald Sun today. Their story about the ABC’s Anzac Day outrage is a desperate attempt by News Ltd to win a fight for its little-watched pay TV station Sky.

Sky, as I’m sure you know, is part owned by News Ltd, Seven and Nine, so don’t expect to hear this story reported fairly anywhere.

The ABC is putting up the entire cost and effort of broadcasting the dawn service live from Gallipoli. Out of respect for the diggers, whose marches are still underway in Sydney and Melbourne, they delay this to 1:30.

Sky, who don’t give a stuff about these things and just want to be first, take the live feed from the ABC and run it live. They therefore boast about showing live pics, and first AND DON’T PAY A SINGLE CENT for this privilege.

And they wonder why the ABC is upset.

This is typical behaviour for Sky, which refused to join the pool (and thus didn’t pay) for any of the video beamed back from the US, Europe and Asia on the PM’s recent trip, but still put it to air as soon as it arrived, before the networks who paid tens of thousands of dollars for the crews and air time.

Sky refused to pay on the grounds that the ABC wasn’t paying double — once for itself and once for its satellite TV service. This is not only sour grapes at losing that contract, but a bullsh-t argument and recognition that users should pay.

In short, Sky, owned by the biggest media companies in the nation, wants to scrounge off the ABC, and when it doesn’t get its way, uses one of its owners to go into bat for it.

Meanwhile, out west:

Kalgoorlie Miner editor Michael Gorey sent via email to journalists:

When writing Anzac Day reports the usual journalistic rules apply. There’s a tendency for some people to write mushy rubbish. Anyone who includes two or more adjectives in a sentence will be shot (metaphorically) and can start looking for work at the Golden Mail .


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2 thoughts on “Anzac Day and the ABC: let’s join the dots

  1. Daniel Ashdown

    Hopefully Media Watch pick up on this and run with it next Monday. Surely there will be outrage over News Ltd using the ANZACs to pick on their competition in a petty squabble over media rights, the competition being the national broadcaster no less. Surely this issue will gain traction among the public and we will see a national boycott of Murdoch-owned newspapers until they clean up their pathetic, muckracking ways.

    Oh who am I kidding.

  2. peter williams

    An interesting and timely exegesis – but unnecessary. No one with any brains believes either the Tele or the Herald-Sun


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