When you purchase a product from a freely operating market place, if it disappoints you, then you have many ways of getting your money back.
A full refund, is usually the case, for either a defective product or misleading advertising.
Paul Murray’s West article Shame, ABC, shame was widely circulated last week (for those few who may not have received it click - here).
In Paul’s words, “The ABC’s (Australian Broadcasting Commission) self-indulgence extends to providing online replays and transcripts of such evanescent pap at taxpayer expense.” If you don’t like this stuff, that you’ve paid for, just try getting your money back!
He spoke for many of us who are wondering if having to endure such “pap” is too high a price to pay for us to enjoy the remnants of quality programs on the ABC from time to time.
That ‘our Government’ has such a foothold on our listening and viewing media often fascinates visitors to our country.
Such a situation is more normal in ‘tin pot’ dictatorships where they openly delight in brainwashing the populace.
Perhaps it shows up a Constitutional deficiency in Australia (where no such media existed when our Constitution was framed).
In the United States there is a lively debate on this topic where government-funded media companies are problematic and impossible to reconcile with either their First Amendment or a government of constitutionally limited powers.
The U.S. Constitution does not give Congress the power to create media companies and their government is often reminded of the Founders wisdom on this matter.
A more recently created Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been established in the U.S. and it is competing with the vibrant non-profit media, who without government funding remain free to criticize government policies wherever they wish.
Author Trevor Burrus in his recent book, If You Love Something, Set It Free: A Case for Defunding Public Broadcasting, argues the case that public broadcasting should not be supported with taxpayer funds and should be made to survive on its own merit.
It is interesting to contemplate the Australian broadcasting scene if ‘we’ sold off the thousands of ABC / SBS / Radio Australia facilities.
Those that we value would survive and at least we would then have the ability to measure those programs that are valued.
The ‘weak links’ would not survive and we would not need to ask why Radio Australia continues to broadcast ‘shortwave’ signals around the world, where people can no longer purchase ‘shortwave’ radio receivers. Why continue this expense when all the programming they desire is freely available these days on the internet.
Yes, let’s look again at selling off the ABC. It might even help Treasurer, Wayne Swan, balance his budget. “ Yes, Wayne, I’m from the Australian Taxpayers Alliance and I’m here to help you!”