What would a privatised ABC be?

John Boyd writes: Re: “Privatise the ABC? The case for and against” (Thursday). One salient point missing from all this discussion is the question of what does “privatisation” mean? If you privatise a bank, it is still a bank, but a privatised ABC would be a totally different animal from what it is now, and we would certainly lose that independence and depth of programming in the race to achieve ratings for every program at the expense of any concept of community service, to itemise a few of the differences. If the government were misguided enough to “privatise” the ABC, it might as well just sell off all the assets to the existing networks and be done with it. There would be no reason to have just another commercial network.

Don Wormald writes: As a Sydney resident I consider it vital and in the public interest to save the ABC in all its forms. There are three major daily papers in Sydney: The Sydney Morning Herald, (Murdoch-owned) The Daily Telegraph and The Australian. A decade ago two weeks of the Herald filled my recycling bin and then some. Now it’s below a quarter of the bin. Reporting and the news being reported upon has diminished accordingly.

The Terror is not a newspaper. It campaigns rather than reports. It sensationalises and pontificates rather than leave its readers to make up their own minds. The Australian has a distinct Right-of-centre bias. I don’t want my news serving some political agenda. I want facts.

Turning to TV:  news is dumbed down to the ubiquitous 30-second grab, and current affairs on commercial channels consists of chasing shonky penile implant providers and the like. It’s not news or even newsworthy. The only TV news or current affairs is on either the ABC or SBS. Commercial radio is dominated by over-stuffed and undereducated shock jocks, again with their own agendas, or music.

Like many people I rely upon the ABC to provide what is lacking in the commercial operations. The ABC must remain the public broadcaster and firmly in public hands.

The black box myth

Peter Bruce writes:  Re. “Did the Chinese find flight MH370? In Malaysia, there are no straight answers” (Thursday). I Thought Ben Sandilands story on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was great, clear, concise and comprehensive. Then I got to the last paragraph, which spoiled it all.

Flight data recorders and flight voice recorders are not and never have been encased in “black boxes”.They are painted in yellow and orange stripes to make them easier to find in the event of a crash. The black box myth was created by and is perpetuated by sensationalist media and lazy journalists. I was disappointed to see it in Crikey.

Peter Fray

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