Arts loss a breach of the ABC Charter? Not exactly….

Axing Art Nation isn't a breach of the ABC Charter because it's a broadly worded document that allows for a lot of artistic license.

This week there has been much debate about the ABC Charter, and whether the axing of shows such as Art Nation mean the public broadcaster is failing to fulfill it.

The Charter itself, which falls under the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act (1983), is not extensive and allows for a very broad interpretation.

First and foremost, it is a Charter for the ABC in its entirety: television, radio and online.

“The functions of the Corporation” decrees it is “to encourage and promote the musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia.” But there is no specific directive as to where or how this must be executed. ABC can showcase Arts on Radio and Online more than Television without breaching the Charter.

There is also no directive that it must feature Arts on ABC1 over multichannels (indeed there were no multichannels in 1983). There is also no directive it must be in primetime. And lastly there is also no directive Arts must be produced in-house as opposed to out-sourcing.

In any case, shows such as At the Movies already fall under its Arts genre -a primetime ABC1 in-house production. So too for the Jennifer Byrne specials. There are also sporadic ABC2 Live events that meet the criteria. Art Nation may be being axed, but Artscape documentaries will continue -alas none will be an ABC TV production.

A diminishing of Arts programming, which stems back to Sunday Arts being axed in 2009, is a valid concern. So too the very real prospect that in-house production is a poor cousin to outsourcing.

But under the very broad directives of the ABC Charter it may well be more of a moral breach than a technical one.

12 Responses

  1. The ABC puts a **** load of dollars into Saturday broadcasting of state based local second rate footy coverage (for example VFL in vic, SANFL in SA) with camera persons, broadcasting crew, commentators, the travel crew. Every footy weekend in 3 states so that each state can watch, which no one does. Then is followed by the lawn bowls spectacular. Now I love me footy and me bowls and dont really like that artsy fartsy stuff but we have a fare crack of sports on FTA TV. Art benefits many people in many different ways and we need it. Otherwise appreciation of colour would only mannifest from our sporting teams guernseys

  2. It missed mine too, LorenzoM.
    I no longer watch any programs such as 7:30, Q&A, etc, due to their blatant left wing bias. Even the news often has a leftie slant.
    I don’t want any bias at all from my ABC – not left or right.
    Facts only please, then I can make up my own mind.

  3. TvScene, no-one was watching Art Nation either, so what’s your point? Either way, you’re demanding ABC pay attention to ratings which is a slippery slope for any public broadcaster.

  4. It’s lamentable that our national broadcaster has basically completely dropped the bundle on Arts programming. I know a lot of folk like to think it’s only the wealthy lefty (insert pejorative term here) elitists like to watch the arts but there’s many quite ordinary, working/middle class people (a few of which I know) who enjoy watching programs about artists, music, performing arts, dancing and theatre. Shame, shame, shame.

  5. TvScene:
    Totally agree. Go in hard, Senator Conroy. Take no prisoners. Sort it. Squash the leeches.

    maryanne: is that right? If so, that’s a disgrace. And a subject for an inquiry. Any more info on this? Anyone?

  6. Thanks for that report, David.

    It might be worth bearing in mind that the rabid conservatives at the helm of the present ABC don’t do morals. Or ethics. It’s all about keeping women barefoot and pregnant, confined to the kitchen. Any children begetted by the poor must not be educated.

    The ABC has adopted the ethics, morals, of an alley cat, via the Institute of Public Affairs, a right-wing, rabid mob funded by dodgy American big business. Drip fed by News Limited.

  7. @TvScene, not wrong!

    Not to mention MediaHub was supposed to be making money for the ABC by now, but with no paying external clients using the unused extra channel capacity at MediaHub, paid for by the ABC in conjunction with WIN, is it any wonder there is a real big money squeeze at the ABC thesedays.

    Profits from MediaHub were supposed to be paying for the 24 hour News Channel, but rather the reverse is happeneing, as the ABC is still sinking money into MediaHub.

  8. Pouring millions of dollars into a 24 hour news channel which no-one is watching (and is a poor second-cousin of it’s elder sister channel) is no doubt responsible for the travesty evident at the ABC.

    Please Senator Conroy – save the day.

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