There are many opinions as to ABC’s status a non-advertising tolerant media outlet, but now Friends of the ABC (FABC) are lobbying for legislation governing the ABC to be amended to prohibit advertising on the national broadcaster’s websites as well.

The FABC’s Victorian branch, in its submission to a government review of the ABC and SBS, believes the underfunded national broadcaster’s efforts to earn more money through commercial activities is “undermining and diverting its focus from its raison detre”.

Current legislation prohibits advertising on ABC radio and television but as the law predates the internet it does not cover online advertising.

The FABC submission lists 14 cases in which the ABC’s commercial activities contradict the aim of its governing legislation, including affiliated websites such as and children’s programs such as Active Kidz that were commissioned on the basis that it would have merchandise spin-offs.

“The national public broadcaster has been built and paid for through taxes by three generations of Australians. It is not meant to be a business,” the submission states.

Results of the review will be sent to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and are expected to help shape the two national broadcasters’ three-yearly funding submissions for 2009-2011.