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17 April 2019


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Chris Overland

We should not be too hard on the ABC.

It has suffered serious budget cuts as the LNP reactionaries attempt to stifle the one media outlet that actually asks difficult questions which, of course, they regard as an impertinence and obvious evidence of incipient socialism.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media feeds its audience of a steady, calorie rich, nutrient depleted diet of ephemera, sensationalism, shock jock screeching and the frequently vacuous doings of the rich and famous.

Also, lets be frank with ourselves, few Australians give a tuppenny damn about PNG or any of what Donald Trump contemptuously described as "shit hole" countries.

We are far too busy obsessing about the price of real estate or the cost of child care or whether we really need health insurance to turn our minds to what is going on in Bougainville.

To paraphrase Neville Chamberlain's famous remark, "why should we care about a country far away of which we know nothing".

So, have mercy on the ABC. They can and will do better if we Australians are collectively smart enough to dump the idiot's version of Game of Thrones that we currently call a government.

Sally Jackson | Communications Lead, ABC News, Analysis & Investigations

The Interpreter article, 'Australian media: missing in action on Bougainville - But you can count on New Zealand – again!', is seriously misleading about the extent of ABC coverage.

A simple search of online coverage is manifestly inadequate in conveying the breadth and depth of coverage ABC News provides and a very unfair way to judge the contributions made by our teams.

As anyone familiar with the Pacific and media coverage will tell you, it’s one of the few regions in the world where you could argue that digital content offerings are less relevant than radio and TV (although clearly not irrelevant), and this non-digital coverage won’t always be surfaced through search.

It’s also misleading to treat ABC Radio Australia as something separate to the wider ABC.

The article does not even acknowledge the role ABC plays by funding a PNG bureau. So often the questions the ABC asks on the ground provide the grabs that the other media run with.

As one example, the article mentions the deferral of the Bougainville independence referendum. It was ABC PNG correspondent Natalia Whiting’s sit-down interview with Bertie Ahern, which ran on radio and TV, that provided the first confirmation the referendum would be delayed, after ongoing speculation. Natalie then covered the meeting where the new date was set and broke the news online of when it would be.

And there are other issues.

The writer did not get in touch with us to check anything or put any questions, and we’re concerned the article will be cited as an accurate representation of ABC coverage.

Kellie Mayo, ABC Managing Editor, Asia Pacific, is preparing a full response, which we would like to have published.

PNG Attitude will also publish the response when it's received - KJ

Philip Fitzpatrick

The answer is stupidity Annmaree.

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