PMA commends ABC’s outgoing News Director for commitment to public media

19 October 2021
From general elections and raging wildfires to coverage of a global pandemic, Gaven Morris has overseen some of the ABC's most important public interest stories during his six-year tenure as News Director of Australia’s largest public broadcaster. The Public Media Alliance commends Gaven for his long-term support in promoting the values of public service journalism.

“Public media is a service for us all as members of the public…. In different parts of the world… there are different views both from governments and from the public, around the role a public broadcaster plays. I come back to the fundamentals of what we do and I still think the truth wins…” These were Gaven’s words spoken at PMA’s World Press Freedom Conference session in December 2020.

Earlier this month, Morris announced his resignation from the public broadcaster in order to pursue his “next challenge” but assures that he will stay until the end of his contract.

Gaven Morris
ABC's departing News Director, Gaven Morris

Having launched the ABC News channel in 2010 and appointed Director of News, Analysis and Investigations in 2015, Morris has demonstrated a clear commitment to public interest journalism. Morris set up ABC Investigations, which is home to well-known investigative programmes 7:30 and Four Corners. As News Director, Morris has defended the ABC’s independence against growing public and political scrutiny in recent years, most notably during the unprecedented Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on ABC’s offices in 2019, in which the files of two journalists who worked on a series of investigative reports titled ‘The Afghan Files’ were searched. Morris was also named in the warrant. Last year, he also spoke out about ABC’s China correspondent leaving China amid growing tensions with Australia.

In an internal memo to staff following the news of Morris’ resignation, David Anderson, ABC’s Managing Director highlighted Morris’ huge contribution to the organisation. “As the very best leaders do, he has always led by example, with a huge work ethic, absolute integrity, fearless independence and a lot of courage… His strategic vision and boundless drive and energy have been integral to a string of achievements… spearheading ABC News’s rise to digital excellence… and driving the strategy to make news’s content and services more relevant to all Australians.”

In the same memo, Morris wrote: “The ABC has always been a pioneer, but the current level of our creativity and innovation across digital, audio and video platforms, in addition to TV and radio, is leading the industry in Australia.” He explained how ABC News has been Australia’s “leading digital news provider for more than a year and well over half the population comes to our digital services every month, more than double that of six years ago.”

He added: “Given the ferociously competitive news market, that achievement alone is a remarkable tribute to your hard work. At the same time, our TV and audio services also reach huge audiences – in fact they continue to set new records as more Australians turn to us during the big events, most recently the COVID pandemic. In total, ABC News now reaches a bigger, broader, more inclusive and more diverse audience than it has ever done in our rich 90-year history.”

Among many other achievements, Morris’ efforts to increase diversity and inclusion at ABC was demonstrated through adopting the BBC’s 50:50 gender diversity project.

At a time when public media is increasingly under threat worldwide, it is important that we have strong voices that can defend the values of public media and its role in supporting a strong democracy. Gaven Morris’ voice has not gone unheard. Rather, his fight to improve press freedom in Australia, especially during the fallout of the 2019 police raids, is just part of the legacy he will leave behind as he pursues new challenges.

Featured Image: Melbourne, Australia – Jul 27, 2019: The ABC Studios news collaboration room. Credit: Alex Cimbal /