Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The ABC's undergraduate style

The ABC continues to deny being anti-monarchist. It is more as if the ABC sees itself as a victim of a “royal censorship”, especially after the BBC threatened to block the ABC from its entire royal wedding coverage unless the ABC cancelled plans for as “alternative” Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary on ABC2. Known for their “undergraduate style” (The Age), ABC’s director of television, Kim Dalton, implied the incident was a form of censorship: “In Australia, we’re not used to these sorts of conditions being placed on the media and you can’t help but observe these restrictions are being placed on the media on behalf of a future head of state of Australia.”

This remark came shortly after Trevor Graham, “a filmmaker best known for his progressive documentaries" (The Age, 21st April 2011) had his own encounter with the ABC's attitude. When Graham, who was described by The Age as "firmly believing that Australia should become a republic” suggested his latest documentary on Australia’s Royal Family A Royal Romance to the ABC “there were sneers that the line he was taking wasn’t as pro-republican as it ‘should have been or could have been’.”

In the end the film was shown on ABC1, but it is obvious, that the public broadcaster’s sympathies lies more with a royal satire which the Chasers thought they could provide.

Another example of a pro-republican bias? Here’s one that announced a discussion between Deputy Chair of the Australian Republican Movement John Warhurst, Chairman of the Australian Monarchist League Philip Benwell:
On the eve of the Royal Wedding Statewide Mornings presenter Leon Compton took the opportunity to analyse the on-going question of whether Australia should become a Republic or remain a loyal servant to the British Monarchy.

An equal treatment would look differently. Since when is an Australian Monarchist “a loyal servant to the British Monarch”? The ”republic” as a neutral term, but the Monarchy connect with a negative inclination. Is this really the open-mindedness the ABC is officially proclaiming?

And we won’t mention the last Sunday's “Insiders” programme that made up a story about the Queen’s republican tendencies. Just ridiculous, not even good as an April’s fool joke.

The ABC must do more to dissipate doubts of its objectivity.

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