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General Media Issues

While the primary role of the ABC Alumni is to support a strong, relevant and effective ABC, it will also from time to time make comments on broader media issues that are relevant to the role of public broadcasting.

Australia’s defamation laws have had a significant chilling effect on investigative journalism in Australia. In an extended two-part essay in 2021, Alumni Chair Jonathan Holmes teases out the issues. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

In 2019, following the raid by the AFP on the ABC’s Ultimo HQ, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) held an inquiry into “the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press”. ABC Alumni made a submission. The Committee’s report can be found here.

In 2020, the Senate’s Communications Committee held a parallel inquiry and produced a report into the state of ‘press’ freedom. ABC Alumni made a submission focusing on the ABC’s role, and you can read it here. 

Subsequently, the Alumni’s Jonathan Holmes produced two articles on the topic: the first, in August 2020, on the shortcomings of the PJCIS’s report; the second, a year later, on the inadequacies of the Senate Committee’s report, and the lack of government action on the recommendations of either inquiry.

In 2020, the Senate’s Communications Committee held an inquiry into media diversity in Australia. ABC Alumni made a submission, focusing on the specific role of a healthy ABC in contributing to media diversity. 

Following the election of the Albanese government, Jonathan Holmes wrote an Open Letter about press freedom, on behalf of the Alumni, to the new Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus.