Evidence of ABC bias

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Evidence of ABC bias

The Australian Broadcasting Authority is the regulator of radio and television in Australia. Its members are appointed by the government. The Chairman of the Broadcasting Authority is the well known monarchist, Professor David Flint. All of the current members of the Authority were appointed by the Howard government

It can hear complaints against the ABC and the SBS, as well as against commercial and community broadcasters. Under the system established by the government complaints must first be made to the broadcaster concerned. If the complainant is not satisfied with the response they may complain to the Broadcasting Authority.

Given the noise that Senator Alston has been making about the need for external review of the ABC it is interesting to see how many complaints against the ABC have been upheld by the Authority.

In the period July 2002 to June 2003, according to the Broadcasting Authority's website, 3 complaints have been upheld against community television stations, 17 complaints have been upheld against commercial stations and one complaint has been upheld against the SBS.

During this period no complaints have been upheld against the ABC.

Note that not all these breaches related to bias, unfair or inaccurate reporting. While a number (especially in TV) did relate to these issues, other complaints upheld related to excessive advertising or inappropriate material in childrens time slots.

However allegations of biased, inaccurate or unfair reporting were upheld against A Current Affair (three separate occaions ), Sixty Minutes (two separate occasions), Today Tonight (three separate occasions).

Details of the Authority's findings are at http://www.aba.gov.au/tv/investigations/breach_findings/index.htm and at http://www.aba.gov.au/radio/investigations/breach_findings/index.htm

-- Anonymous, September 01, 2003


While Goebbels Alston might think that the ABC is biased and left- leaning, the people of Australia, by and large DO NOT!

Findings from a new opinion poll by Newspoll released on 9/9/03 indicate that in relation to the 7pm News, 7.30 Report, The World Today, AM and PM, the vast majority (ranging from 85-93%) of viewers or listeners believe each program does a good job of being balanced and even handed. This is similar to the 2002 survey.

Thus, 85 - 93% of Australians DISAGREE WITH SENATOR ALSTON!

The survey results can be found at http://www.abc.net.au/corp/

-- Anonymous, September 10, 2003

ABC bias complaints upheld October 10, 2003

IN 12 cases of the ABC's Iraq war coverage serious bias was displayed, an independent review panel found.

Former communications minister Richard Alston, who lodged 68 complaints against the ABC's AM current affairs radio program, was crowing today about the findings.

He said it was a devastating indictment on the ABC's self-indulgent, self-assessment complaints handling procedure.

"This brutal reality check must shake ABC senior management out of its entrenched culture of denial," Senator Alston said.

The Independent Complaints Review Panel upheld 17 of the 68 complaints, and said 12 of them involved serious bias by a reporter or presenter within an individual broadcast.

In relation to another four complaints, the panel identified breaches of an ABC editorial directive requiring presenters and reporters to refrain from emotional language or editorialising in reporting the war.

In another instance, sources were inadequately identified.

ABC managing director Russell Balding said he accepted the review's findings and stood by the program's war coverage.

"As editor-in-chief of the ABC, I have also instructed senior news and current affairs management to take note of the ICRP review, particularly in relation to the upheld complaints," Mr Balding said.

Senator Alston, who quit the communications portfolio last month ahead of his impending retirement from parliament, said he remained concerned at what he claimed to be the superficial nature of responses to his complaints.

The panel is an independent body set up by the ABC board to investigate allegations of serious bias, lack of balance and unfair treatment arising from ABC broadcasts.

Senator Alston said a fully independent arm's length assessment of serious complaints was needed.

"It should also be abundantly clear to the ABC board that no major body, let alone a fully taxpayer funded organisation, can possibly be judge and jury in its own cause and expect complainants and the general public to take it seriously," he said.

-- Anonymous, October 13, 2003

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