A tipster says new ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has begun to review operations across the network, and one of her first areas of focus is the ABC’s International Division. It’s gone through a weird period lately. The Australia Network contract was cut by the Abbott government in 2014 (the ABC had a DFAT contract to provide English-language content into the region — that contract was cut one year into its operation to save money), leading to the loss of several highly experienced ABC reporters on the Asia-Pacific, as well as the closure of the Melbourne-based Asia-Pacific News Centre. Crikey’s tipster said the current, top-heavy regime wasn’t working:

“The most popular content, English language, has been decimated after huge staff cutbacks. Most language services have a staff of two max, who are expected to provide content for 7-days a week. Under the current regime, hard news is de rigeur but fashion news is well, fashionable.”

Of course, the money that funded the Australia Network isn’t coming back. Can much be improved without it?

Peter Fray

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