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Hard news and free media as the sharp edge of Australian soft power

Speakers Graeme Dobell, Geoff Heriot, Jemima Garrett and Michael Shoebridge

ASPI warmly invites you to attend a panel discussion following the release of ASPI’s latest Special Report: ‘Hard news and free media as the sharp edge of Australian soft power’ by Graeme Dobell, Jemima Garrett and Geoff Heriot.

In this report, three Asia-Pacific media specialists have produced three perspectives on the history, dynamics and politics of funding of the ABC’s international efforts over the past two decades. They show that, while Australian politicians and ABC leaders themselves have been distracted by domestic and institutional issues, other state-owned media organisations—such as China’s—have expanded their footprint across Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Australian Government decisions over the past decade haven’t just meant that Australia has trod water while this happened—in fact, we have stepped back and silenced broadcasts and local content while others have stepped up.

Taken together, these three contributions set out a compelling, urgent case for investment in a new approach to engaging with the peoples of our near region through a new Australian International Broadcast Corporation.

This panel, moderated by ASPI’s Director for Defence and Strategy Program, Mr Michael Shoebridge, will include: 

  • Graeme Dobell, ASPI Journalist Fellow
  • Geoff Heriot, Director, Heriot Media & Governance
  • Jemima Garrett, award-winning freelance journalist and communications consultant specialising in the Pacific

A drinks and canapes reception will conclude the event.


Graeme Dobell

Graeme Dobell, a journalist since 1971, has been reporting on Australian and international politics, foreign affairs and defence, and the Asia Pacific since 1975.

Geoff Heriot

Over the past decade, Geoff Heriot has advised the boards and senior management groups of media and media-related organisations in Asia and the Pacific.

Jemima Garrett

Jemima Garrett is freelance journalist/media trainer and communications consultant specialising in the Pacific.

Michael Shoebridge

Michael Shoebridge is the Director of ASPI’s Defence, Strategy and National Security program.