In conversation with Matthew Ricketson and Patrick Mullins

Matthew Ricketson and Patrick Mullins will be in conversation with Frank Bongiorno on their new book, Who needs the ABC. Why taking it for granted is no longer an option, which charts how the best-trusted news organisation in Australia arrived at its current predicament: doing the most it ever has, with less than it needs, under a barrage of constant criticism.

The book examines the profound changes that have swept through the Australian media, technology, and political landscapes in the past decade, and explores the tense relationship between the ABC and governments of both stripes over the past 40 years. It dispels any complacency about the ABC's future by charting the very real threat now posed by the hostility of the Liberal-National Party coalition, and the damage that it has done to the ABC over the past nine years.

Who Needs the ABC? identifies the vital role that the ABC has played and continues to play in Australia today: in its award-winning journalism, in its vast array of cultural programming on television, radio, and online, and the comprehensive service it provides, geographically and culturally, to people across the country.

At a time when the truth has to vie with obfuscation and misinformation, this book offers a rejoinder to the ABC's critics, points to a way out of the ABC's current predicament, and answers the question posed by the title. Who Needs the ABC? We do.

Professor Matthew Ricketson is an academic, author, and journalist. He is head of the Communication group at Deakin University; before that, he was inaugural professor of journalism at the University of Canberra between 2009 and 2017, and ran the journalism program at RMIT for 11 years. He has worked for a number of newspapers and media organisations, and is the author of several books. He assisted former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein QC in the Independent Media inquiry that reported to the federal government in 2012.

Dr Patrick Mullins is a Canberra-based writer and academic, whose first book on Billy McMahon, Tiberius with a Telephone, won the 2020 NSW Premier's Non-Fiction Award and the 2020 National Biography Award. He is also the author of The Trials of Portnoy: how Penguin brought down Australia's censorship system.

Professor Frank Bongiorno AM is Professor of History in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU. He is the bestselling author of the award-winning books The Sex Lives of Australians: A History and The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia and a regular contributor to media outlets, such as Inside Story and The Conversation.

Dr Chris Wallace, Associate Professor, 50/50 By 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra, will give the vote of thanks .

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.


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