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Turnbull's media censorship and his NBN mess

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The failure of mainstream media to report on Turnbull's NBN mess, Australia's mostly costly infrastructure project, has been left almost entirely to social media. John Menadue looks at the pattern of failure including the "gagging" of ABC's Nick Ross.  

THE ABC’s outgoing editor of its Technology and Games subsite, Nick Ross, has claimed that he has been “gagged” by ABC management from publishing further articles about the NBN. He has now left the ABC.

There is a continuing pattern of failure by the mainstream media to expose the mess that Malcolm Turnbull has left us in the NBN. It has been almost entirely social media and a small number of online sites (like this one) that have carried stories about Malcolm Turnbull’s failure in his administration of the NBN.

There has been an unfortunate habit of successive governments blaming a previous government for its failures on the NBN. But Malcolm Turnbull cannot avoid his responsibility for his decision on the multi-technology mix (MTM) model which incorporates Telstra’s copper network and also for his failure to continue with fibre to the home/premises. The MTM and FTTN are his and only his to own. The ALP got one important thing right —   and that was the importance of rolling out fibre to the end-user.

In September 2010 Abbott ordered Turnbull to "demolish the NBN". Malcolm Turnbull seems to be doing his best to do just that..

The same media failure to research and analyse what has been happening on the NBN has been apparent on many other issues. In particular there was a failure to report and analyse government spin on boat arrivals. (See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.) The ABC and Radio National in Canberra was one of the worst offenders.

We now know that boat arrivals had been reduced from 48 in July 2013 to 5 in October 2013 when Tony Abbott’s Operation Sovereign Borders came into effect.

Just as with boats, the media, including the ABC, has failed to properly research and analyse where the NBN is now headed.

The NBN failure is a major set-back. That is a major story in itself.

But the failure of the media to professionally report on the issue is also a major story in itself. A compliant media pulled out all the stops concerning pink batts and the school building program under the Labor Governments. But the problems with those programs were minor compared with the NBN mess which is now upon us.

The media prefers to turn a blind eye to what is happening with our most important infrastructure project.

For more on this issue read Renai LeMay's article of 14 January in Delimiter 'ABC tech editor claims broadcaster “gagged” his NBN coverage' and Dave Donovan's article of 19 January in IA 'Malcolm Turnbull, Nick Ross and the sad story of a broken ABC'.  

This article was originally published on John Menadue's blog 'Pearls and Irritations' on 19 January 2016 under the title ‘John Menadue. Media censorship and the NBN’.

You can follow John on Twitter @johnmenadue.

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