Michelle Guthrie takes aim at commercial TV bosses

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie says ABC does not need to update its Charter and says “whingeing” commercial TV rivals should stop blaming the public broadcaster for their own problems.

Speaking at an ABC Friends Public Conference dinner in Sydney last night she said, “There is no pressing need to change the ABC Act and its Charter, no matter how much commercial chief executives and their compliant media outlets argue otherwise.

“The public understand and support the ABC’s remit, knowing that it provides the quality, independence and commercial-free space that they want.

“Should your children and grandchildren be denied the right to watch Play School and Peppa Pig on an iPad because (Nine CEO) Hugh Marks, (News Corp executive chairman) Michael Miller and (TEN CEO) Paul Anderson are finding life tough?

“Should the ABC be forced, as they have asserted, into a pure market failure role; simply doing the things the commercials don’t want to do, or can’t? Absolutely not.”

Her comments follow Commercial Free to Air Networks lobbying the government to lift their obligations to meet Children’s TV quotas.

But Guthrie criticised the bosses of the commercial television networks and Foxtel, who “seem to spend more time whingeing about the ABC than addressing their own audience challenges”.

“My advice to them is that attacking the national broadcaster does not – and will never – constitute a viable business model,” she said.

Criticising the Turnbull government’s media law reforms, which include an undertaking to hold an inquiry into the ABC and disclosing staff salaries she added, “Legislation designed to further a political vendetta by one party uncomfortable with being scrutinised by our investigative programs is not good policy-making.

“Neither is using the ABC Act as a bargaining chip in industry machinations that have nothing to do with the national broadcaster.”

Source: Fairfax, The Australian


  1. Ms Guthrie also said that the ABC was not after commercial media companies’ advertising revenue. Certain MP’s should realise that a privatised ABC would think differently, especially with an MD who has worked for both News Corp and Google. An ABC with the handcuffed and half pregnant SBS model would still be formidable.

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