Vale Australia Network. At midnight on Saturday, the ABC’s Australia Network will switch off. After it airs the AFL grand final, it’s gone. It lost funding in the last budget, and the ABC has already laid off or reassigned most of its dedicated journalists, staff and producers.
Through Australia Plus, the ABC will still broadcast Australian content (though nothing specifically produced for the purpose) into many Asian countries. One Crikey reader who lives in Laos wondered how he’d go on watching the ABC now. Subscription TV service TrueVisions, according to the ABC, will be airing Australia Plus, but as our tipster noted, TrueVisions made no mention of its Australian content on its website. He’ll be channel-surfing come Sunday to try to find Insiders.
Interestingly, it seems the Australia Network is still airing ads for next week’s shows. Casual viewers enticed to tune in next week may be disappointed.
The Australia Network transmits a curious blend of news and current affairs, sport and Australian drama and entertainment (think Home and Away and The Block) into 46 countries. Seen as a soft-diplomacy tool, it was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The tender process to run it in 2011 was controversially rejigged by the previous government as it appeared DFAT was about to award the contract to Sky. It went to the ABC instead, and then, this government entirely abolished the network in the past federal budget. The ABC told Crikey in February the network was beamed into 40 million homes across the Asia-Pacific, giving it a potential viewership of 131 million. A 2010 report into who watched it by the Lowy Institute found it had 7 million viewers a month. — Myriam Robin
How Londoners reckon we talk. A journalist passed on this media release (sorry, “bodgy unsolicited pitch”) he was sent …
Please forgive the bodgy unsolicited pitch, but I’m writing from London, England, to quickly tell you about an Australian cobber of mine whose amazing TRUE story of what happened to him in the Philippines after leaving Surfers Paradise (which involves President Ferdinand Marcos, murder, stolen treasure and gold bullion deals) is taking to Kickstarter to help raise funds to finally get the story told. It’s a ripper …
Would you like to help a fellow Aussie tell his amazing story to the world? If so, bonzer. If not, ask yourself why… and do it anyway. Give it a bur …
Essentially, we’re looking for some publicity to drive people to the Kickstarter page before time runs out and the campaign is cactus. I’m not a professional PR bloke (no, seriously), I’m just helping a mate out, and I’d be incredibly grateful for any type of coverage we can get.
As Bruce of Bondi used to say … if you can’t hold on, don’t let go!”
We’ll, um, “let go”. Though we’re not really sure what any of this means. — Myriam Robin
Alam and family consider suing Fairfax. Following on from yesterday’s debacle on the front pages of the Fairfax metro papers, the publisher has apologised again in its print editions. A slightly extended statement now also reads: “We are reviewing and changing our internal processes to ensure such a mistake is not repeated.”
The man who was misidentified as dead alleged jihadist Numan Haider spoke to several media outlets yesterday about his experiences. Abu Bakar Alam told the ABC’s Lateline he was “scared and terrified” following the front pages. He told Fairfax-owned 3AW the photo, taken at an engagement party, was never uploaded to Facebook, where Fairfax’s captions yesterday said the image came from. His family is considering legal action, he says.
“I know that people are going to recognise me, and they might harm me and my family,” Alam said. “The apology doesn’t — it’s not going to get that reputation that we had within the community [back]. We’ve had a good one. We haven’t had a bad name.”
Speaking to 3AW yesterday, The Age‘s editor-in-chief Andrew Holden said: “We got our wires crossed.”
“We basically got the wrong [photo] … It’s a terrible mistake and that’s why we’ve had no hesitation in apologising for it.”
Alam’s grandfather was killed in a bomb blast near Kabul in 2006 when he went back to Afghanistan to govern a province known to be very dangerous, the Herald Sun has reported. — Myriam Robin
Video of the day. SBS chases the ratings …