We think it's important to share this statement from our friends at Supporters of Australian Broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific (SABAP).

SABAP is pleased to welcome the appointment of David Anderson as managing director and editor-in-chief of the ABC.

The group says it hopes he moves quickly to commit to meeting the ABC’s charter obligations by revitalising the organisation’s international multi-platform broadcast services in the region.

SABAP says while it accepts the ABC is facing a funding dilemma with warnings this week of job cuts if the Coalition is returned, the ABC’s charter says it must transmit to countries outside Australia broadcasting programs of news, current affairs, entertainment and cultural enrichment that will encourage awareness of Australia and an international understanding of Australian attitudes to world affairs.

The group says Australia’s broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific is at its lowest ebb since the establishment of Radio Australia in 1939.

Co-convenors Jemima Garrett and Sue Ahearn said a lack of resources and commitment to covering the Pacific meant that the trusted international voice of the ABC was missing and in danger of being forgotten.

In 2014, the government’s decision to end its $220-million 10-year contract for the Australia Network just one year into the contract almost silenced the ABC’s voice. The ABC’s shortwave transmitters were turned off in 2017 and the frequencies are now being used by China Radio International.

The co-convenors said with increasing geo-political tensions in the Asia-Pacific, Australia needed a clear voice in its region.

“Broadcasting is a proven and effective ‘soft power’ tool. Other international broadcasters are expanding their activities (China dramatically so) and most are targeting our region” they said.

“The almost invisible media coverage of this week’s political turmoil in Papua New Guinea and recent riots in Solomon Islands highlight the need for an incoming government to restore funding to the ABC’s voice in the region,” they said.

SABAP is calling on both major parties to make a commitment to refund the ABC’s international services.

Supporters of Australian Broadcasting in Asia and the Pacific (SABAP) was established in May 2018 in response to the Review of Australian Broadcasting in the Asia Pacific. It includes current and former media executives and journalists, experts, members of the Asia Pacific diaspora communities in Australia and Australians with an interest in the region. We have members in most states and territories and supporters in ten countries including Indonesia, Timor-Leste, PNG and many in the Pacific.

SABAP is on Twitter and Facebook