Australian Broadcasting Corp. Re-Posts Tax Cuts Article It Deleted - iMediaEthics
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Earlier this month, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. attracted attention when it unpublished Emma Alberici’s analysis article about corporate tax cuts. That analysis was criticized by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who called it “one of the most confused and poorly researched articles.”

The article was republished Feb. 21 with an editor’s note appended reading,

Editor’s note: This analysis has been revised and updated by our chief economics correspondent. Passages that could be interpreted as opinion have been removed. Our editorial processes have also been reviewed. Emma Alberici is the ABC’s chief economics correspondent and is a respected and senior Australian journalist.”

On Twitter, Alberici wrote that “nothing of substance was changed” when her article was re-posted. “No facts have been altered at all. Only the tone of my language that may have been interpreted as opinion. And I added some more sage voices like @JMDixonVU.” She noted that “the new version is 100% my rewrite. My words.”

Australian news site The New Daily reported that its anonymous sources at the ABC said Alberici had lawyers involved over the unpublishing. “ABC sources told The New Daily that lawyers were involved as the former Lateline presenter, now the ABC’s chief economics correspondent, fought for her credibility, reputation and career,” the New Daily reportedThe Guardian also reported that Alberici’s lawyers were involved. iMediaEthics has tweeted Alberici and e-mailed the ABC to verify this.

The ABC’s spokesperson Sally Jackson told iMediaEthics, “We don’t comment on internal staff matters.” Jackson pointed to ABC’s editorial guidelines, telling iMediaEthics, “while there are one or two very limited circumstances where ABC staff can publish or broadcast opinion, our statutory role as a public broadcaster means that almost without exception, that is not part of the job of our journalists, or anyone involved in news and information content.”

The ABC guidelines. which Jackson noted have been in existence “for years” and “are pretty consistent with other public broadcasters around the world,” differentiate between

  • Reporting – “reporters go into the field to bear objective witness, cultuivate well-placed sources and use careful methods of cross-checking and verification prior to publication”
  • Analysis – “aid understanding and provide richer context and information, rather than to pass judgement or sway opinion.”
  • Opinion – “particular views and persepctives of the identified person or group expressing it”

“Far from bending to political pressure, the ABC is acting to ensure we uphold the highest standards of journalism and protect the ABC’s editorial standards,” Jackson wrote, noting that in the case of Alberici’s analysis, the ABC found it was too close to opinion than analysis.

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Australian Broadcasting Corp. Re-Posts Tax Cuts Article It Deleted

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