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

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

Launch 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, includes: 

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