Kim Williams: Arts ignored by ABC

Kim Williams: Arts ignored by ABC

Incoming Chair of the ABC Kim Williams has signalled greater coverage of the Arts as part of its Charter for all Australians.

Speaking to ABC Radio this week he acknowledged, “I think it’s probably the hardest job in media in Australia, but the real hard yards are of course with the (CEO). The Chair is there to accept the responsibility of uniting the Board behind agreed priorities and the strategies that the ABC needs to adopt in its multi-various strands of activity.

“I have an uncompromising view that the ABC is the Australian campfire (and I’m) very firmly wedded to the notion that it needs to reflect on what the Charter means in terms of having contemporary relevance.

“The ABC must at all times be an organisation that is relevant to its current time and not, in some way, bathe in past glories. It needs to really focus on what it is to be innovative and comprehensive in the 21st Century… what it is to actually inform the national identity in its news and current affairs, entertainment and informational programming. What it is to reflect cultural diversity of modern Australia. What education responsibilities it has, which is an area where clearly there is a continuing challenge in meeting the needs of the nation.

“What it needs to do to be a really relevant digital organisation, and to recognise that whilst not for all Australians, digital technologies are absolutely inseparable from the whole trend of modern media and modern media delivery.

“And what we need to do to encourage the real focus on the primary aspect in the Charter, for musical and for music, for drama, for theatre, and for the other arts (which) quite frankly is ignored by the ABC. I don’t say that in an aggressive way, I say it in a statement of simple description.”

ABC recently announced a 2024 Arts show Creative Types with Virginia Trioli and The Art Of
hosted by Namila Benson.

Williams declined to comment on the current saga surrounding staffing and ABC management but said of ABC News international reporting, “I think generally the ABC does an excellent job in difficult circumstances. Often in news coverage, one’s dealing with multiple moving targets and it’s difficult to maintain a through-line in those environments and that is when one is dependent upon the quality of the values, the training and the feedback loops and the internal sense of constant review and criticism to ensure that one is staying on a true-north path.”

You can hear the full interview here.

Photo: ABC