Ita Buttrose has linked the storming of the Capitol in the US to the low level of funding America’s public broadcaster receives.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Chair Links Funding To Extremism Cases
ULTIMO, Australia — Countries without well-funded public broadcasters often have instances of right-wing extremism, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation chair says as she braces for the federal budget.
Ita Buttrose says the role of a public broadcaster is essential to democracy.
“In those countries that do not have a securely funded public broadcaster democracy is not as robust as in Australia,” she told, in Canberra on May 5.
“Countries that do not have a well-funded public broadcaster often have examples of right-wing extremism, as we saw in America where the mob stormed the Capitol.
“What country in the world puts the least money into public broadcasting? The United States of America.”
Buttrose pushed back on suggestions the Australian Broadcasting Corporation should be privatized and have to rely on advertising revenue in order to broadcast.
“It’s folly to suggest that we be sold off, that we be privatized, that we go commercial,” she said.
“You have to think what you wouldn’t know, the stories you would never know if there wasn’t an Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Fortunately, there is an Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and we are able to bring stories that Australians do need to know about to their attention.”
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation chair also fended off questions relating to the broadcaster’s legal case with former attorney-general Christian Porter.
Porter has launched a defamation case against the broadcaster over a news report outlining historical rape allegations against an unnamed federal minister.
He denies the allegations and was not named in the story, but his lawyers say Porter was easily identifiable to many Australians.
Buttrose refused to comment on the case as it is before the courts.
She says the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is not expecting any funding cuts in May 11 federal budget.
“The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has been assured our funding is guaranteed under the current triennium. We’re not expecting any surprises in the budget, but one can often be surprised,” Buttrose said.
“We are not expecting any particular cuts. It may be different next year when we go to the polls.”
Buttrose also questioned why she has such a limited role in helping fill two vacancies on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s board.
Interviews have been done but the government has not announced who it has picked.
Buttrose did not have any input.
“That’s a mistake. I don’t know chairs of other companies who have no input into the composition of their board,” she said.
“As chair you know where you need to plug up a few gaps, you know what you’re looking for.
“It doesn’t make any sense to me that the chair isn’t included in the decision-making.”
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Nikita Nikhil)