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Education Commission accuses ABC of neglecting charter

The National Catholic Education Commission has said the ABC's decision to axe the long-running primary school TV program Behind The News "appears to go against the Charter" of the national broadcaster.

Stressing that Behind the News is instrumental in the development of an understanding of current affairs in Catholic primary school students, Commission Chairman Monsignor Tom Doyle said: "The provision of educational programming is part of the ABC's Charter, and the NCEC is concerned that this decision appears to go against the Charter."

Communications Minister Richard Alston yesterday also accused it of giving priority to "frothy" lifestyle shows while cutting the popular schools program Behind the News. He said MPs had received calls from members of the public "demanding to know why the ABC gives comedy and entertainment a higher priority than education".

Monsignor Doyle described the program as "an important resource for Catholic schools as they work towards the National Goals for Schooling".

Among other things, the Goals aim to make the students "active and informed citizens" with "the capacity to exercise judgment in matters of morality, ethics and social justice, and the capacity to make sense of their world".

Monsignor Doyle said he intends writing to the Chairman of the ABC to express the NCEC's concern.

National Catholic Education Commission

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6 Aug 2003