Comments Satirizing Domestic Violence Leave weren't offensive, press council rules - iMediaEthics

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An Australian blogpost on the Daily Telegraph‘s website poked fun at another media company, the Australian Broadcasting Company, and its union members trying to get family violence leave.

The Telegraph blogpost, “Tax-funded spousal assault community,” was by Tim Blair and published April 10. It notes that ABC staff want the family violence leave written into its “wages and conditions.” The Telegraph is owned by News Corp.

“Evidently the ABC employs so many victims of domestic violence that they require their own special leave allowance category – which is interesting, given how many ABC employees are married to or shacked up with other ABC employees,” Blair wrote. “What kind of carnage-strewn bloodhouse are they operating over there? Is that why ABC staff work so few hours – because they’re always recovering from the previous night’s beatings? Why are staffers not pressing charges instead of seeking leave?”

Blair’s short post also noted the union members working in the field want current iPhones and the “right to disconnect” when off the clock. Blair updated to link to a clip from the program The Slap 2, which was broadcast on ABC.

In follow-up updates, the Telegraph noted Blair’s blogpost prompted criticism of him for his comments on domestic violence.

“A number of people” complained to the Australian Press Council about the blogpost being offensive and unfair, the press council reported Nov. 13. The Telegraph responded to the press council complaints by noting Blair frequently satirizes the news, which is what that post did.

“The publication said it was an opinion article in a blog well-known and recognised for its satirical and frequently mocking commentary on political and social issues which favoured a ‘very specific Centre of Right readership,’” the press council reported the Telegraph said. “The blog entry was clearly satire with the writer engaging in his own style to make a point about the changing nature of workplace ambit claims, and a reasonable reader would have regarded it as such.”

That said, the Telegraph noted that some readers may have been unfamiliar with the satiric tone of the blog. “The publication said the intention of the blog was not to diminish the seriousness of domestic violence, an issue frequently examined by the blog’s author,” the council reported.

The press council agreed that the blogpost was obviously satirical and still contained factual information as its basis. There was a chance some readers may have been offended, but the council ruled that “in the overall context of the blog, its style and its readership,” it wasn’t offensive.

iMediaEthics has written to the Telegraph and ABC.

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Comments Satirizing Domestic Violence Leave weren’t offensive, press council rules

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