ABC opposes bill to restore Pacific shortwave service

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has made a Senate submission opposing a bill which would force it to restore its shortwave services for the Northern Territory and the Pacific.

RNZI reports the bill was introduced by South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon after the ABC switched off its shortwave transmitters in late January.

The ABC is opposed to the bill and said in its submission that its passing would impinge on its independence by directing the ABC to use broadcast technologies for diminishing audiences and at significant maintenance costs.

The ABC also said that in the bill there were factual errors and misconceptions, including the figures for the actual cost of the services.

The bill said that the cost of the services was $US1.4 million but the ABC said if the Bill was enacted, the total transmission cost would be closer to $US3 million per annum, with costs of $US 880,000 for the domestic services and $US2 million for the international services.

It also said while it had received numerous submissions from pressure groups, politicians and members of the public since switching off its shortwave service, it had only got complaints from 20 listeners.

The ABC said it believed that the limited response from individual audience members in affected regions bears out the weight of evidence it used in making its decision to cease these services.