Censure of the ABC is not censorship


Since Monday night’s extraordinary episode of Q&A, when the ABC became a platform for a jihadist apologist, the ABC and its defenders have argued that criticism and calls for an enquiry are an attack on its independence. Moreover, The XYZ has been accused of hypocrisy, given that as forthright defenders of free speech, we are apparently attacking the free speech of the ABC and Zaky Mallah.

But these arguments are a misdirection.

The ABC is required by its charter to avoid institutional bias. The ABC and its defenders appear to be pretending that this latest episode is just a one off, but the fact is that the ABC has a long history of institutional bias to the left. That it often attacks the Labor Party, as well as the Coalition, is beside the point. The entire institution appears dedicated to promoting a worldview based on left wing ideals.

It is thus in breach of its charter, and the government has every right to investigate. It goes without saying that the ABC is supposed to be an organisation independent of the government of the day. At The XYZ, the last thing we want is a government broadcaster which becomes the mouthpiece of the government. But, and this cannot be stressed enough, the ABC is not independent of its own charter.

imageAt The XYZ, we want to set the ABC free. We want the ABC to do and say whatever it wants. We want the ABC to be able to host the most extreme, the vilest, the most violent opponents of everything we in the Western world hold dear. We want it to be able to descend as deep into the pit of leftist thought as its Green-supporting journalists desire. It can do this if it becomes truly independent of any government scrutiny, truly independent of any pesky charter requiring it to be unbiased.

It can gain this independence in two possible ways:

Firstly, it can have its budget split in two, with the other half given to a public broadcaster which will be as equally biased to the right as the ABC is to the left. Under this first proposal, The XYZ offers its services to the government to fulfil this balancing role;

Secondly, the ABC can be sold off, privatised, and compete on an equal, independent footing in the market-place of ideas. Those who argue that it would lurch to the right ignore the success of commercial media outlets which lean strongly to the left, such as The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, and the Channel 10 TV Network as well as well as countless international media outlets. Given the ABC’s iconic status in Australian culture, it would have a tremendous foundation on which to build as a commercial entity, and would no doubt improve its content as it is subject, for the first time, to true competition.

In conclusion, either of these two courses of action would lead to the ultimate leveling of the media landscape in Australia. At the moment, ideas from the left are given an unfair advantage in their competition with those of the right. Furthermore, these ideas promoted by the ABC are paid for by Australian tax payers. Currently everybody, no matter what their political persuasion, is forced to subsidise the propagation of left wing ideas, in the form of the ABC. If Mark Scott is serious when he say that the Australian people “are our owners – it is to them we owe our service,” he must acknowledge that the ABC longer serves a strong proportion of the Australian people.

The Australian people no longer own the ABC. It is time to let it go.