After triple j revealed that they would be changing the date of their annual Hottest 100 countdown from January 26 to January 27 in light of mounting pressure to move the radio celebration away from Australia Day, it has been revealed that the ABC board will be asked to reconsider the decision.
The change has caused a minor uproar among politicians, with many criticising the ABC for what could be perceived as a political move.
After consulting with their listeners and the wider community, triple j moved in favour of changing the Hottest 100 date – arguing that the well-loved radio event was never intended to act as an Australia Day celebration in the first place.
Research conducted by triple j concluded that 55 percent of listeners were in support of changing the date. However, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield regarded this vote of support as a minority.
“There are a relatively small number of people who have an issue with the fact that Australia Day is celebrated on January 26,” Minister Fifield told News Breakfast, as reported by the ABC.
“I already have made my view clear to the ABC.
“I’ll be asking the board of the ABC, who have the ultimate programming and editorial responsibility, to reconsider this.”
Triple j will still be covering Australia Day along with the rest of the ABC in a new program revealed yesterday, including a chat with the Young Australian of the Year, and coverage of Indigenous events including Yabun.
“In recent years the Hottest 100 has become a symbol in the debate about Australia Day,” triple j detailed in a statement. The Hottest 100 wasn’t created as an Australia Day celebration. It was created to celebrate your favourite songs of the past year.
“It should be an event that everyone can enjoy together – for both the musicians whose songs make it in and for everyone listening in Australia and around the world. This is really important to us.”
As a publically funded national broadcaster, the ABC – and subsequently triple j – is bound by their code of conduct to remain apolitical.
Triple j and the ABC have caught themselves in a bind with this one. Surely, keeping the Hottest 100 on Australia Day (a day that’s contentious to many for a litany of reasons) could no doubt be perceived as political.
But to move it away? That’s perceived as political too.
Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
Written by James Di Fabrizio, via Beat Mag.