Just last night I commented on ABC Managing Director Mark Scott’s new Twitter presence, and indicated that so far he was a relatively bland Twitterer.
Well that has changed. This morning he tweeted thus:
“Only the ABC can deliver what we are offering in new channels”
and linked to this article from today’s Australian, in which he is quoted as opposing SkyNews’s bid to tender for the international Australia Network TV service by saying it would harm Australian diplomacy:
“There is an agreed understanding that you can’t outsource your diplomatic activities, and you can’t outsource it to Rupert Murdoch’s international operations.”
This needs to be read in the context of the aggressive attempt by pay television to take on the public broadcasters and convince Government that it should not be giving Auntie money for something that the private sector can do. Hence Foxtel’s launch of the public affairs channel, A-PAC, at the very same time as the ABC is trying to get Government funding for a similar project. I have written about this in more detail here and here.
And I would add in passing that given the quality of Foxtel’s public affairs channel A-PAC so far, I would hope that it is possible to do this one a whole lot better, whether with public or private money.
I suspect Scott is playing to the fact that there are plenty of people inside Government with reservations about giving too much control over Australian public affairs to News Limited.