Australian Broadcasting Corporation adopts new “bias” rules

By Mike Head, published on World Socialist Web Site, 2006-11-05 – Just weeks after Prime Minister John Howard announced a major military expansion and launched an accompanying “Australian values” campaign, his government’s handpicked Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) board adopted new editorial guidelines designed to ensure the national broadcaster serves as an official mouthpiece.
The ABC is already increasingly promoting the government’s foreign agenda. In recent months, its broadcasts have helped engineer the removal of Mari Alkatiri as prime minister of East Timor and uncritically reported Canberra’s quest for similar “regime change” in Solomon Islands.

Nevertheless, in the guise of combating alleged bias at the ABC—invariably “left wing”—recently-appointed ABC managing director Mark Scott last month announced new editorial rules that will require “impartiality” throughout the ABC television, radio and Internet network. According to Scott, the new rules are the “most significant statement of values the ABC has made in over 20 years”. No details of these “values” have yet been released publicly, but judging from Scott’s remarks they will mirror Howard’s “Australian values”: nationalism, jingoism, xenophobia and anti-Muslim racism.

Over the past two decades, both Liberal-National and Labor governments have foisted ever-more sweeping policy regulations on ABC news and current affairs. The current 50-page editorial guidelines were published in 2002, and updated three times since the invasion of Iraq—in July 2004, February 2005 and June 2005. Now, for the first time, political monitoring will extend beyond news and current affairs to all ABC programs, including comedy, entertainment, performance and local radio. The first target has been “The Glass House”, a popular satirical show that occasionally ridicules Australian and US politicians, the “war on terror” and the occupation of Iraq. Next will be “The Chaser” for the same reasons. (Read the rest of this long article on above link).

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