Thursday, March 11, 2010

Any examples of unprecedented attacks?

UPDATE 3/5/2010 reply received see outcome below
ABC HEADLINE: "Scientists buck political pressure over climate" posted ABC News Online 10/3/2010

ABC REPORTED: An uncredited article that reports that "CSIRO scientists say they are coming under political attack as part of an orchestrated campaign by climate change sceptics." The article includes comments from CSIRO Staff Association president Michael Borgas who is quoted as saying: "Now we're seeing some quite unprecedented attacks on the integrity of science in the CSIRO, that was in senate estimates recently."

THE COMPLAINT: This article lacks balance (ABC ED POL 5.2.2e) While there were several allegations made in the article that CSIRO scientists are "under attack" no examples of these alleged "attacks" are presented. As the alleged "attacks" supposedly arose from Opposition  Senators in a senate estimates hearing ABC could have easily provided specific examples of the "attacks" alleged by Michael Borgas by checking the transcript. Readers of the piece could then judge for themselves whether the questions constituted a political attack on CSIRO scientists or were part of legitimate inquiries into CSIRO.

Please update the article to include the questions from Opposition Senators and replies made by CSIRO.
OUTCOME: Thank you for your email regarding the ABC News online report Scientists buck political pressure over climate.

Your concerns have been investigated by Audience and Consumer Affairs, a unit which is separate to and independent of program making areas within the ABC.  We have reviewed the broadcast, assessed it against the ABC’s editorial standards and sought and considered material provided by ABC News.

The report makes clear the view of the CSIRO Staff Association president, Michael Borgas, that political pressure is being exerted on his members through the Senate estimates process; "Now we're seeing some quite unprecedented attacks on the integrity of science in the CSIRO, that was in senate estimates recently."

The perspective of the Minister for Science, Kim Carr, is also included in the report, identifying Opposition senators in estimates hearings as “extremists who have seized control of the Liberal Party”.

In the subsequent ABC News online report McGauran attacks CSIRO on climate change, the nature of the “attack” being defended by Mr Borgas and the Minister is made clear, with Liberal Senator Julian McGauran setting out the views of his Party.  For your reference, I have attached a link to that report:

Having reviewed both reports, Audience and Consumer Affairs believe that balance has been achieved in keeping with section 5.2.2(e) of the ABC Editorial Policies, which states; balance will be sought but may not always be achieved within a single program or publication; it will be achieved as soon as reasonably practicable and in an appropriate manner.  It is not essential to give all sides equal time.  As far as possible, present principal relevant views on matters of importance.

For your reference, the ABC Editorial Policies are available online at the attached link;

Please be assured that your comments have been brought to the attention of ABC News management.

Yours sincerely
Audience and Consumer Affairs
COMMENT: Without the evidence it's hard for readers to judge the veracity of claims made.

1 comment:

  1. Freedom of the press and climate skepticism debate hotting up in Australia

    Also have comment on my site.


Please keep to the topic. Abusive comments and bad language are simply not tolerated. Note that your comment may take a little while to appear.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.