Australia’s depleted international broadcasting is impairing the projection of Australia’s soft power at a time when government is seeking to increase its regional influence, particularly in the Pacific
As 2019 winds up, Lowy Institute staff and Interpreter contributors offer their favourite books, articles, films, or TV programs this year.
Earlier this month, Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, hosted its flagship Monday night program Q&A in Suva, Fiji. For Australian political
The refusal of the Vanuatu government to allow high-profile Vanuatu-based journalist to fly home on Saturday has given a sharper edge to concerns about a wider trend of attacks on media freedom in the Pacific and highlights both China’s influence and Australia’s policy failure in broadcast and
As the ABC chair Ita Buttrose reminded the audience at the weekend’s Lowy Institute Media Awards dinner, this year marks 80 years since Australia started broadcasting internationally. As she noted, Prime Minister Bob Menzies mused at the inauguration of the service on 20 December 1939, “The time
This article is based on the podcast series “Developing” featuring interviews with PNG journalists, industry leaders, and politicians.
Papua New Guinea has gained a reputation – at least, in international reporting on the country – for being corrupt, violent and poor, yet also a
I was surprised and disturbed The Interpreter published the recent article (Australian media: missing in action on Bougainville) which included claims of a “paucity of coverage by the ABC of one of the most important running stories in the Pacific”.
As Managing Editor Asia Pacific
The findings of two related government reviews – on international broadcasting, and soft power – should offer an incoming Australian government the potential of a substantial policy reset following the general election in May. Specifically, they may help clarify the purpose and place of state-
It is both apt and overdue that veteran ABC correspondent Sean Dorney was last night awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Journalism at the 2018 Walkley ceremonies. Judged by the trustees of the Walkley Foundation, this award not only recognises Dorney’s extraordinary body of work built over
The statements about the importance of the Pacific to Australia by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, backed by the Foreign Policy White Paper last year, are most welcome. The further decisions announced at APEC last week did even better. The fact is, Australia has
Scott Morrison’s recent response to Australia’s receding “voice” in the Pacific appears to be a Home and Away solution – namely, according to the Prime Minister, the provision to “our Pacific family” of more stories, news, drama, and sports from Australia’s commercial television
Last month, billboards popped up around Australian capital cities, urging commuters and shoppers to “see the difference” as a panda and a kangaroo writhe in a harmonious embrace, while marsupials that look to have been penned by Guardian cartoonist First Dog On The Moon look on.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's (DFAT) soft power review comes at a time when information is rising as an instrument of foreign policy. DFAT faces new challenges and therefore needs a renewed vision and mission for its soft power. The review is sorely required.
The Department of Communications is now reviewing submissions on the issue of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia-Pacific region. This is timely. As always, communicating Australia’s views and voices to the Asia-Pacific region is important. And, more than ever before, finding effective
Australia’s international voice, once strong, influential and broadcast across much of the Asia-Pacific, has become little more than a croak into the ether.
Substantial cuts to funding, waning government commitment, changing national priorities, and digital disruption have resulted in Australia
This week the ABC pulled the plug on shortwave transmissions to its Radio Australia (RA) audiences across the Pacific and South East Asia.
One by one, the lights of RA, Australia’s longest-running international public broadcaster, are being extinguished. The decision by the ABC to decommission
Alex Oliver and former Australian senator Russell Trood have written a chapter on Australia's public diplomacy in a new book from Palgrave, Understanding Public Diplomacy in East Asia, edited by leading experts on public diplomacy Jan Melissen and Yul Sohn. Set against the backdrop of
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has just announced that Australia will bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2029-30.
That's 15 years from the end of our last Security Council seat (2013-14). But it compares against the 27 years between our fourth and fifth outings at the Security Council.
Having a Catholic Pope and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China descend on Washington at almost exactly the same time helped illustrate something important about diplomacy. When staging a high-level state visit, there is a simple choice: emphasise either the head or the heart. This
As I wrote the other week, the Arab world, and the Gulf States in particular, have been happy to bat away any criticism of their complete refusal to resettle any refugees from Syria while leaving the West to deal with the tide of human misery.
Protests have been held in Europe debating the pros
Worried about the increased power and reach of state-owned broadcasters such as the Kremlin-backed Russia Today, it appears the BBC hopes to stem the trend of endless rounds of funding cuts by seeking government money to create a new channel to broadcast into Russia. It's also proposing services
By Yanmei Xie, International Crisis Group’s Senior China Analyst, and Rachel Vandenbrink, graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University.
China’s unsuccessful invitation to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to attend the 70th anniversary celebrations of the
By Marie-Alice McLean-Dreyfus, an intern with the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program.
According to Chinese media outlets, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's speech on 14 August commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II did not go far enough in
In a new Lowy Institute Paper, former ONA analyst Ken Ward makes the case for 'more realistic' expectations for the Australia-Indonesia relationship.
He writes that despite years of Australian governments prioritising the relationship, it continues to be marked by tensions and crises. The recent
Fear of ISIS, faltering economies and resentment over rising immigration from war-torn Iraq and Syria has resulted in a surge in right-wing populism in Europe and the UK.
Here in the UK, following the departure of three sisters with their nine children to join ISIS, and the emergence of the first
Australia's approach to digital diplomacy is second-rate and entirely inadequate for a nation that sees itself as 'a top 20 country'. Despite an expanded social media presence, Australia continues to lag far behind other countries – large and small – that are investing serious resources into
After a decade of swimming against the tide, the Australian Government is slowly engaging in the world of digital diplomacy.
The term 'DFAT the Dinosaur' no longer applies, a label slapped onto our foreign affairs department in 2010 after a series of public refusals to incorporate the internet
By Maya Wang, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch. Maya is an expert on human rights defenders, civil society, women's rights, disability rights and criminal justice in China. Follow her on Twitter at @wang_maya.
What's at stake in the Chinese Government's proposed new restrictions on
On 3 March, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, 'We must use the celebration of International Women's Day to highlight the plight of women still fighting for freedom and equality, for when that is achieved it will be for the betterment of us all.'
That fight is ongoing in the Asia-
As we learned from a recent Lowy Institute poll, 62% of Australians oppose the use of the death penalty in the case of Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia. But what do Indonesians think about the case?
While I have yet to find a similar survey of Indonesian public
Conflict has broken out across Asia. Militaries aren't involved and there are unlikely to be human casualties, but this conflict is already re-shaping our most important partners in Asia.
Last week, under very different circumstances, two documentaries went viral online and now the Chinese and
During my Army career I was a military planner. I worked on lots of plans. Most were never executed, but others were. Some were standing plans that were annually revised, while others were worked up at the behest of someone higher up the operational chain. I got to know the ADF planning process
It has been almost two months since The Interview was released online, but it is due to hit Australian cinemas tomorrow.
The critical consensus seems to be that the film is juvenile and mildly funny, a poor if necessary choice for the defence of artistic expression, but also possibly somewhat
When Chancellor Angela Merkel's gave the annual Lowy Lecture in November the day after the end of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, The Guardian (UK) called it a 'major shift in European geo-politics.'
Now we know why.
In a recent Financial Times series on the West's relations with Russia, the Times
In his State of the Union address on Wednesday, President Obama mentioned China a total of three times.
One was to praise China's commitment to cut carbon emissions. The second was to encourage American manufacturing executives to bring back jobs from China. The third was a call-to-arms to
Fiji held its highly anticipated election in September 2014, but does that make it a democracy?
There's much more to a functioning democratic system than people putting a mark on a piece of paper and dropping it in a box. Even the international election observers didn't go so far as to say the
More than three million people took to the streets of French cities last weekend in a unprecedented public response to an act of politically motivated violence.
It made me think back to the massive worldwide public outrage to the abduction of over 200 school-age girls in Chibok, a town in
Last month I spent time in a tank thinking about think tanks. Admittedly it was a very architecturally interesting tank at The Graduate Institute Geneva, which this year hosted the Global Think Tank Summit with the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
The $254 million in cuts to the ABC budget, outlined today by ABC Chief Executive Mark Scott after Malcolm Turnbull's statement on Wednesday, have been coming for a long time – at least since the Lewis review which proposed efficiencies to reduce the ABC's annual budget requirement.
By Justin Brown, acting Deputy Secretary of DFAT with responsibility for consular, passports, corporate administration and information management. He has been Australia's High Commissioner to Canada, Ambassador for the Environment and Deputy of Australia's Mission to the European Union in Brussels
For six weeks, from 3 September to 14 October, Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, disappeared from view. The rumours it triggered became increasingly outlandish. He was dead or dying; body doubles were being prepared (a favorite theory about his father); his sister was running the country (a
Journalists are often advised to report the story, not become part of it, but Australia's coverage of and broadcasting to Asia have been making headlines for years.
In 2014, the trend has continued with the Federal Government eviscerating its publicly funded overseas television service, Australia
The latest news from the ABC bunker is that while Lateline may survive the latest round of cuts, the bureaux in Tokyo and Delhi may be shut down.
The ABC Board met yesterday, reportedly to decide on measures to achieve efficiencies of up to $100m following the Budget and the Lewis Review, and in
Tomorrow I begin a bleary-eyed month of World Cup watching. In part to justify my reduced productivity over the next four weeks, I wanted to identify some of the key points at which global politics and world football intersect.
…(cue crickets chirping)…
I know others have done it, I have done
Every sector is speculating on how it will be hit by next week's federal Budget following the National Commission of Audit's recommendations on cost cutting. As Alex Oliver outlines, even the cash strapped Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may not be immune.
Given its razor gang mandate, it
In this article for CSIS' CogitASIA blog, Lowy Institute Thawley Scholar Jack Georgieff looks at US soft power and public diplomacy in New Zealand and Indonesia, and how that can be harnessed effectively by the Obama Administration's rebalance
Australia’s military forces have often acted as effective agents of international policy. But while defence diplomacy has complemented Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade efforts, this has often been due to ad hoc coordination and personal initiative
Ediplomacy is no longer a boutique extra. Serious foreign ministries are embracing it to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Australia’s own Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a lot of catching up to do. It also has a lot to gain.
As the number of Australians travelling and living overseas continues to increase, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has been forced to devote a growing proportion of its resources to providing consular services to Australian travellers