We’ve heard of Friends of the ABC, but what about the Real Friends of the ABC? It appears a rival group has arisen to the long-standing viewer group. The Real Friends of the ABC held a small vigil outside Ultimo yesterday, handing out flyers urging the ABC to change its “lack of reporting on domestic human rights matters”.

 ”We are the friends of the ABC, but real friends, who wish for the best for the ABC … but also demand that it lives up to the ABC Charter, and exposes abuses of power and rights, and the reduction of our freedoms. The words of renowned Australian journalist John Pilger are relevant here: “It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agenda of the message and the myths that surround them.”

The group demands “proper reporting” of the “hostage crisis” on Manus and Nauru, of indigenous affairs, of East Timor and West Papua, and of climate change.

We ask for democratisation of the ABC. Why are letters to the ABC not answered? Where is Australia Talks Back? Where isPerspective? Were is the ABC’s connection to civil society and its many environmental and anti-war groups?”

The group also supports more conventional causes, such as a restoration of the ABC’s funding, safeguards against political interference, and a lack of advertising.

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Peter Fray

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