06 March 2009

Sky seeks piece of pie

From today's Australian

Tensions have ignited between the ABC and Sky News, with ABC managing director Mark Scott suggesting pay-TV's push to operate Australia's international television network could harm diplomatic relations.

Mr Scott's comments follow remarks by Sky News chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos at a broadcasting conference yesterday, when he said Sky would re-tender to provide the Australia Network TV service next year when the current contract with the ABC expires.

Sky News, which is part owned by News Corp, provides a good if Sydney and Canberra-centric news service on a shoestring (its coverage of last year's WA state election was run out of Sydney). The ABC, which is funded by taxpayers, has a more substantial news gathering and reporting infrastructure which draws upon other sources without being dependent on them as Sky's budget obliges it to be.

IMO it would be foolhardy to hand over responsibility for a TV service which, as the Oz article concedes, is designed to supplement outr diplomatic efforts, to an organisation whose roots reach well beyond our borders. In this instance what's good for Mr Murdoch is clearly not good for Australia.

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