Australia — Victorian bushfires highlight the importance of our national broadcaster – Friends of the ABC
According to David Risstrom, President of Friends of the ABC (Vic), Victoria’s recent tragic bushfires have once again reminded Australians of the importance of our national broadcaster.
The ABC worked in close cooperation with emergency services to provide vital information. It let people isolated by fire know they were not forgotten. The significance of the ABC’s extensive local radio network, that doesn’t require electricity or a phone line to receive, came to the fore.
The public broadcaster dealt sensitively with those who suffered terrible loss, and kept a concerned nation informed. Through the ABC, governments and other important services were quickly able to relay reassurance of help for survivors to rebuild their lives.
The ABC is assisting the community to grieve through its open discussion lines, and has united the country around providing emotional and practical support for those affected. The community depends on it to moderate public debate and to provide objective information and analysis as we look to prevent such loss of life from ever happening again.
Our treasured public broadcaster is part of the glue that holds this country together. A national broadcaster – one that all Australians know to tune to in times of emergencies and one which has the trust of the nation – cannot suddenly be resurrected if it is eroded and loses its pre-eminent position in Australian life. Any government that allows that to happen does so at our peril.
Friends of the ABC urges people affected by Victoria’s bushfires to give their feedback and ideas on the ABC’s role in the preparation and response to the fires to The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.