Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lateline: unsceptical journalism in action?

Update 2 Just in case we didn't hear it the first time ABC have responded again. reply 2 received 7 June 2010.
Update ABC reply received 21 April, 2010-see below
COMMENT: The current issue of The Spectator Australia, contains a article by John Styles titled "Maurice Newman is dead right about the ABC."
The report indicates that Lateline host Tony Jones claims to have interviewed all the main scientific sceptics.  "From around the year 2001 on Lateline, we began interviewing everybody we could about this subject; and we interviewed all the main scientific sceptics." Tony Jones - 6 April 2008.
However Styles report that for in-depth one on one interviews:
"A trawl through the archive netted more than 20 one-on-one interviews in the same period with experts on the true-believer side of the debate. It is a scandalous scorecard: believers 20+, heretics 1."
This suggests a  lack of balance on reporting climate change at the ABC. We have forwarded this on the ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs for comment.
Read the rest of the article HERE.

Outcome: ABC reply received 21 April, 2010
Thank  you for your email of 17 April.
Audience and Consumer Affairs investigates complaints raising editorial issues from the ABC audience on specific broadcasts.  We require that complainants provide reference to particular ABC broadcasts to support their complaint, including the date of broadcast and name of the program or content in question.  We do not investigate matters raised in stories by other media outlets.
Nonetheless, please be assured that your email, and The Spectator article you refer to, are noted by the ABC.  For your reference, the ABC's Code of Practice is available at:

Yours sincerely
Audience and Consumer Affairs

Reply Received 7 June 2010
Thank  you for your email.  I apologise for the delay in responding.

Please be assured that your comments are noted and a copy of The Spectator article has been conveyed to ABC News.  However, I should explain that Audience and Consumer Affairs can only engage in detail with your concerns to the extent that they raise specific issues about particular items of ABC content, and their compliance with the ABC's Editorial Policies and Code of Practice.  If you have concerns about a specific ABC broadcast, we will review your concerns and respond as appropriate.  Audience and Consumer Affairs does not investigate the claims made in magazine stories about ABC programs.

It is also perhaps pertinent to note that the ABC is not obliged to respond to a complaint about a program which is made to the ABC more than six months after the broadcast to which it refers; this is in keeping with section 7.1 of our Code of Practice.  Rather, we consider such complaints on a case by case basis, taking into account such matters as the availability of the program itself, and other related material required to properly investigate the concerns raised.

For your reference, the ABC's Code of Practice is available at:

Yours sincerely
Audience & Consumer Affairs

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