October 7th, 2009 at 05:57am
Anybody with a basic understanding of the events surrounding the tragic Victorian bushfires of earlier this year knows that commercial and community broadcasters performed an absolutely crucial role in keeping people informed about the unfolding emergency. The ABC, in the official role as emergency broadcaster did their job too, but in many ways were hamstrung by a lack of information flowing from authorities, and fire destroying large chunks of their infrastructure, taking them off their air in a number of fire affected regions, leaving the critical emergency broadcasts to the commercial and community radio sectors.
Despite this, the Victorian government is claiming that commercial radio has no interest in providing around-the-clock emergency coverage during times of emergencies. Where these people get off is beyond me. Commercial and community broadcasters are required by law to provide emergency information, and in times of emergencies step up to the plate time and time again, going well and truly beyond the call of duty to keep people informed and safe. The broadcasters were a long way ahead of the authorities during the Victorian bushfire crisis, and I am simply gobsmacked by the utterly ridiculous and thoroughly debunked claims being made by the Victorian government, who seem to be more interested in deflecting blame than in taking steps to ensure their lack of communication doesn’t occur in the future.
Lately I have been discussing media matters on a fortnightly basis with Oly Peterson on the drive show on Sydney’s North Shore’s FM 99.3, and we discussed this yesterday around 5:20pm. Normally I wouldn’t post audio this soon after an appearance, but in this case I think it’s well worth it as the audio illustrates the point I am trying to make.
One can only hope that the Victorian government settle down and see sense, because they aren’t doing themselves or their constituents any favours with their current ridiculous behaviour.