Petition update

Save shortwave - Australian senate calls for submissions

Pacific Freedom Forum

Mar 6, 2017 — . . .

Thanks to an independent senator in Australia, shortwave supporters have a further opportunity to #saveshortwave.

Senator Nick Xenophon has tabled an amendment in the house seeking to restore shortwave services.

"It's the role of Parliament to ensure that the ABC is fair dinkum about adhering to its charter," Senator Xenophon told Shepparton News, referring to legislated responsibilities of the public broadcaster towards remote communities in Australia, and the Pacific.

Other senators are supporting the call for shortwave to be restored, including Senator Bridget McKenzie, pictured above.

Grilling ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, Senator McKenzie pushed past claims that "only 15 people" contacted the corporation about the shutdown of shortwave.

Not just the Pacific is affected by the shutdown - remote communities in the north of Australia and tens of thousands of mobile workers like truckies regard ABC shortwave as a lifeline.

Official bit:

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Restoring Shortwave Radio) Bill 2017 has been referred to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee, for inquiry and report by 10 May 2017.

To #saveourshortwave, supporters can make submissions directly to the committee. This can take the form of copying this PFF petition, and/ or adding it to your own submission.

Submissions can be made here:
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Shortwaveradio

Submissions can be short and to the point - #auspol - Australian politicians have lots to read, so tell them your stories of how shortwave has helped you, or the communities you love.

See Senator Xenophon's comments here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMnxrc_OgLA

Why is this important?

Most attention has focused on saving lives during natural disasters such as cyclones, tsunami and flooding.

But there are also equally important media freedom issues to consider.

Some people think that the region can survive on remaining shortwave services from RNZI, Radio New Zealand International and that we don't need Radio Australia anymore.

Reality?

Political pressure is a reality, and that means there are things that Radio Australia cannot easily cover, but RNZI can, and vice versa.

Worst case scenario?

That the loss of shortwave is just the start of long-term plans by critics of public broadcasting, and that ABC loses more and more of its funding, to the point where services such as Pacific Beat are reduced to a shadow.

RNZI may enjoy support for shortwave services now, but as we're seeing in Australia, that may change.

For example, cost savings of $1.2 million were claimed by ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, when it announced it was going to shut down shortwave services to the region.

That was three months ago.

Just over a week ago, senate hearings into the shortwave cut heard that savings would be around $4 million, in Australian dollars.

The same hearings heard further claims that just 15 people had contacted ABC about the shortwave shutdown.

This is despite around 1,000 people signing this petition so far - including Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna.

What else is different?

Other links:

ABC defends decision to axe NT's shortwave radio service amid emergency update concerns
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-20/abc-defends-shortwave-axe-radio-nt-emergency/8134690

ABC Pacific shortwave exit a 'diplomatic misstep'
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/01/30/abc-pacific-shortwave-exit-diplomatic-misstep

ABC shortwave service a lifeline for Aussie expats in PNG
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-31/abc-shortwave-service-a-lifeline-for-aussie-expats/8228440

World Radio Day: Broadcasting still cherished by Solomon Islanders
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-13/world-radio-day:-broadcasting-still-cherished-by/8264926

Michelle Guthrie answers questions about shortwave radio (video)
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-28/abc-managing-director-michelle-guthrie-answers/8312500

Transparency PNG head criticises ABC MD Guthrie over shortwave cuts
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-02/transparency-png-head-criticises-abc-md-guthrie/8317760

ABC Shortwave Service: Timeframe for Xenophon’s bill to travel through readings
http://swling.com/blog/2017/02/abc-shortwave-service-timeframe-for-xenophons-bill-to-travel-through-readings/

. . .


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