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Australia: Govt Criticises Hottest 100 Move
Source: http://www.skynews.com.au
Source Date: Friday, December 01, 2017
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: Australia
Created: Dec 01, 2017

The Turnbull government and the ABC are out of tune with each other over Triple J's decision to shift the Hottest 100 countdown from Australia Day.

The radio station announced it will no longer hold its popular music countdown on January 26, moving it to the fourth weekend of the month, prompting Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to urge the public broadcaster's board to intervene.

'It is a political statement,' Senator Fifield told ABC TV on Tuesday.

'If you're saying that there are people who have an issue with Australia Day and you are changing your programming as a result, that is a political intervention by the public broadcaster.'

Triple J has defended its decision, pointing to a survey of its listeners showing 60 per cent supported changing the date amid debate about Australia Day's meaning to indigenous Australians.

It will now rebrand the countdown as the Hottest 100 Weekend, with next year's being broadcast on January 27.

The ABC insists this benefits everyone.

'The network conducted extensive research showing that the Triple J audience wanted to decouple the countdown from the politics, with a focus exclusively on the music,' a spokesman said on Tuesday.

'Triple J's community continues to celebrate the countdown and the great music, now over an extended weekend, while the network has more time to join the rest of the ABC in providing comprehensive coverage of Australia Day.'

At Tuesday night's ARIA awards, musicians backed Triple J's decision.

'We want to remove the associations with difficult sociopolitical issues away from something that should be about the music,' Gang Of Youths frontman David Le'aupepe said.

The Preatures guitarist Jack Moffitt said it was a really monumental thing for the national broadcaster to do.

But Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm said he didn't think indigenous people 'give a rat's arse about what Triple J does on Australia Day'.

Labor senator Jenny McAllister called for perspective, reminding people the debate was over a 'top of the pops music countdown'.

Nevertheless, the conversation was worth having, she said.

'There are many indigenous Australians who feel their culture, their story, their experience prior to European settlement and since is not captured in the national discourse,' she told reporters in Canberra.

The peak body for indigenous people the National Congress is urging Triple J and the ABC to hold firm.

'For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australia Day represents oppression and dispossession,' spokeswoman Jackie Huggins said.

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