In Singapore last Friday, the A.B.C. formally opened new headquarters premises for its operations in?
In Singapore last Friday, the A.B.C. formally opened new headquarters premises for its operations in South-East Asia. The building also houses Asian staff of Visnews, the world's largest television newsfilm agency, whose operations in South East Asia are managed by the A.B.C.
At the opening were the Singapore Minister for Law and National Development, Mr. E.W. Barker, the Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore, Dato Abdul Jamal Bin Latiff. Other guests included members of diplomatic missions, airlines, representatives of British, Australian and Malaysian armed forces, Senior Singapore police officers, officials of telecommunications organisations, and prominent civil servants.
The A.B.C. has the most extensive network of correspondents of any Australian news gathering organisation in South East Asia. Through its management of Visnews it is, as well, responsible for coverage of Asian events for some ninety television organisations with millions of viewers in over sixty countries around the world.
The A.B.C. has staff correspondents in Singapore, Djakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Saigon. It maintains stringer cameraman - men who contribute news items on a freelance basis -- in every corner of Asia.
In addition, Visnews has a staff cameraman, Neil Davis, a former A.B.C. cameraman from Hobart, whose job it is to cover the major events in the region.
In Singapore, A.B.C. Representative, Peter Hollinshead controls a staff of 23, all but four of them local employees - Malay, Indian, Chinese or Eurasian.
One important task of the A.B.C.'s Singapore office is to handle mail for listeners to Radio Australia, the Commission's overseas service. Requests for broadcasting times of Radio Australia come in to Singapore from Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan and Brunei. More than five thousand people each six months receive Programme Guides from the Singapore office and this total is rising by two hundred a month.
Besides these registered listeners there are thousands more who tune regularly to Radio Australia, often in preference to their own internal broadcasting services.
Radio Australia's biggest audience is in Indonesia but because of confrontation requests from Indonesians go either to the A.B.C. Representative in Djakarta or to Radio Australia's head office in Melbourne.
The morning begins at the A.B.C. office in Singapore with a conference, at which developments overnight are discussed and plans for coverage decided.
Assistant Representative Graham Taylor, and Visnews film Supervisor Mohammed Kechik on this occasion discuss with Peter Hollinshead a stringer assignment in Vietnam.
As always, airline schedules are checked to find the quickest way of despatch -- through Bangkok or a later direct flight to Singapore.
Talks Officer, Tim Bowden, briefs Peter Hollinshead on developments in Borneo where, he believes, further incursions by Indonesians could touch off a delicate situation.
Mohammed Kechik returns to his office where a Singapore stringer waits to be told the requirements for covering a local story.
Meanwhile, A.B.C. reporter Tony Ferguson checks daily developments in Singapore with a government spokesman.
Nest door, a battery of teleprinters clatters away, pouring out a stream of newsagency messages and cables from staff men in Saigon and Djakarta.
At the other end of the building local employees on the accounting staff are busy checking the flow of paper generated by the combined A.B.C. - Visnews operations.
In the Visnews section, a despatch rider arrives from the airport with packages of film.
They are rushed to the processing tanks and within the hour are screened for quality and newsworthiness.
The films are edited, scripted by Journalist Charles Rodrigues, and prints run off to be shipped to Sydney, London and Tokyo for further syndication to Visnews clients.
Within twenty four hours viewers in Perth, Nairobi, Damascus and Frankfurt see another film of events occurring half a world away.