Technological and cultural exchange with Asia through the Australian Broadcasting Commission/Corporation has been critical in building cross cultural awareness in both Australia and Asia. This project aims to record and assess the breadth and character of this exchange. It addresses farm and educational broadcast training as well as journalism. Analysing the interaction of a liberal democratic broadcasting model with social organisation in Asia will enhance Australian media's capacity to engage with a changing regional media environment. A critical assessment of the ABC's international role will contribute to debates on the value of public broadcasting.
In his seminal analysis of public broadcasting Michael Tracey (1998) said of its decline, 'here was a death so lingering as to have become a new form of life' (Michael Tracey, 'The decline and fall of public service broadcasting', Oxford University Press, p.viii). The project charts this metamorphosis with regard to Australian public broadcasting activities in Asia between 1956 and 2006. Through archival research and oral histories this project will document the shifting civic values of a national institution in its international operations. The research questions posed are: What values and priorities have motivated the ABC in its fifty years history in Asia? What are, and what response has there been by the ABC to, the consistencies and tensions between public broadcasting's goals and Australian national and foreign policy? How has the interaction with Asia shaped the ABC? What has been the impact of ABC activities on Asia historically and what may we expect in the future?