Who Needs the ABC? Matthew Ricketson and Patrick Mullins

Who Needs the ABC? Matthew Ricketson and Patrick Mullins

For the past nine years, the ABC has been besieged. Its funding has been slashed. It has been assailed by complaints from ministers and prime ministers. Its board has been stacked with political appointees. It has been relentlessly attacked by commercial media outlets. And it has endured crisis after crisis.

Who Needs the ABC? charts how, in its 90th year, the best-trusted news organisation in Australia arrived at its current plight: doing the most it ever has, with less than it needs, under a barrage of constant criticism.

This book examines the profound changes that have swept through the Australian media, technology, and political landscapes in the past decade, and explores the tense relationship between the ABC and governments of both stripes over the last 40 years. It dispels any complacency about the ABC’s future by charting the very real threat now posed by the Liberal– National Party coalition, and the damage that it has done to the ABC while in office.

Who Needs the ABC? identifies the vital role that the ABC plays in Australia today: in its award-winning journalism, in its vast array of cultural programming on television, on radio, and online, and in the comprehensive service it provides to people across the country.

At a time when the truth has to vie with obfuscation and misinformation, this book offers a rejoinder to the ABC’s critics, points to solutions that will see the ABC thrive, and answers the question posed here: Who Needs the ABC? We all do.

Matthew Ricketson and Patrick Mullins joined Per Capita at our monthly John Cain Luncheon on 20 July 2022 to discuss their recent book.

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Professor Matthew Ricketson is an academic, author, and journalist. He is head of the Communication group at Deakin University; before that, he was inaugural professor of journalism at the University of Canberra between 2009 and 2017, and ran the journalism program at RMIT for 11 years. He has worked for a number of newspapers and media organisations, and is the author of several books. He assisted former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein QC in the Independent Media inquiry that reported to the federal government in 2012.

Patrick Mullins is a Canberra-based writer and academic who has a PhD from the University of Canberra. Tiberius with a Telephone, his first book, won the 2020 NSW Premier’s Non-Fiction Award and the 2020 National Biography Award. He is also the author of The Trials of Portnoy: how Penguin brought down Australia’s censorship system.