Friday, December 27, 2013

Where did ABC get its advice from?

Letter in The Australian today...

WRITING in The Australian about the ABC's publication of stolen intelligence documents that damaged Australia's relations with Indonesia, the ABC's director of news Kate Torney said: "We took advice from Australia's intelligence authorities on the matter and redacted sensitive operational information that might have compromised national security" ("Criticism of ABC's spying scoop reeks of sour grapes", 26/11).
A Freedom of Information request I made to the ABC for copies of the advice produced the following response from ABC's head of corporate governance: "The requested documents do not exist and therefore access to them is refused pursuant to s24A of the FOI Act."
As the ABC is a trusted source of news, perhaps Torney could explain where the advice came from.

This sent to the OZ on the 23rd of December. As readers here will know ABC's Head of Editorial Policy, Alan Sunderland has since provide clarification on the nature of communications, indicating they were provided "face to face" and ABC did not create any documents detailing that advice, hence the failure of my FOI request.

I have sent a follow up letter to the OZ indicating this and also asking some follow up questions of the ABC. Wait and see.

Update...That letter in Saturday's Australian...

SINCE my letter requesting the ABC reveal the source of intelligence advice it sought in relation to stolen intelligence documents (Letters, 27/12), the ABC's head of editorial policy, Alan Sunderland, has indicated it was provided face-to-face and the ABC kept no records.
Questions remain about which agencies the ABC contacted and the nature of the advice provided. If the agencies involved had Australia's best interests in mind, they would have objected to the ABC's involvement in reporting the documents. Why did the ABC ignore this part of the advice? If objections were not made by agencies supposed to have the national interest at heart, then why not? In the ABC's justification for reporting this story, its news director Kate Torney concluded: "We will not succumb to pressure to suppress or ignore legitimate stories to protect those in power." Will the ABC live up to this?


  1. OPEN LETTER from Drs Judy Ryan and Marjorie Curtis throwing down the gauntlet to the Managing Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 14th December 2013

  2. Perhaps the ABC is declining your request because it regards the (supposed) advice from Australia's intelligence authorities as sensitive operational material and for them to tell you anything would not be in the national interest. Could this be new ABC journalistic ethics in action? Ooh….I think I just saw a flock of gips flying backwards?

  3. Off topic , but What's the difference between Climate Warming Scientist @profchristurney and a crystal meth addict?

    The meth addict can predict when the ice will arrive.


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