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ABC Four Corners’ code breaches demand journalistic standards review not arrogant attack on media regulator

The attack by the ABC on Australia’s media regulator reeks of arrogance and self-entitlement, and is completely unacceptable.   

The finding by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that the Four Corners program “Fox and the Big Lie” breached accuracy and fair and honest dealing requirements of the ABC Code of Practice is serious.

The finding warrants a comprehensive review by the ABC as to how journalistic standards at Four Corners, and across ABC news and current affairs programs more broadly, can be improved.

However, rather than learn the lessons of these code breaches, the ABC has improperly attacked the independent regulator demonstrating an untenable disregard for the need to comply with its own Code of Practice.

This response, in itself, brings the ABC into disrepute and builds the case for further legislative reform of the national broadcaster.

I call on Managing Director, David Anderson, to implement a full review of ABC journalistic standards in response to the ACMA’s adverse finding.  How can Australians have full trust in a public broadcaster which does not consistently acknowledge and remedy its failings?  I also raise concerns about the ABC’s failure to declare a potential conflict of interest between the author of its public statement on this matter and a Four Corners reporter.

I note with disappointment that Labor’s Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, has declined to defend the important work of the ACMA, an independent Commonwealth statutory authority, which is responsible for regulating communications and media services in Australia. 

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