There is a little poll at Senator Andrew Bartlett web-log that asks the question: “Which group is more damaging to the proper functioning of Australian democracy: journalists, politicians, apathetic voters?”
When I last looked most people had voted for apathetic voters. I voted for journalists.
And there is a great article at Online Opinion titled ‘T is for Freedom Fighter at the ABC’ all about the ABC Style Guide (see,
It also prompted me to dig out some information from Barry Chipman about his ongoing battle with the ABC and reporting by journalist Ticky Fullerton.
Chipman is Timber Communities Australia’s Tasmanian Manager and he has successfully challenged the ABC Television Program Four Corners on the basis its program titled ‘Lord of the Forest’ contained misleading, biased and unfactual reporting. The video of the program has been withdrawn from sale in ABC shops.
Christian Kerr (from Crikey.com) has told some of the story in the March Issue of the IPA Review see,
Chipman is still pursuing journalist Ticky Fullerton for return of the $10,000 which she won as part of the Australian Museum Eureka 2004 prize for outstanding environmentalism based on the Four Corner’s program.
Chipman also wants the process for reviewing complaints at the ABC completely overhauled.
I understand the latest ‘reform’ of the process for ‘independent’ complaints handing determined that while the ABC recognized the need for an independent process, the final decision about what to do once a finding had been made, for example a finding against the ABC, would rest with the ABC’s Managing Director.
Seems extraordinary! The guilty decides whether or not she should be convicted?
I quote from a letter from Chipman to Helen Coonan of 18th May,
“…We are also greatly concerned that the reforms fail to provide proper delegated independence for the ICRP to direct appropriate remedial action to redress a complaint that has been upheld. At present the ICRP findings are acted upon only at the ABC’s Managing Directors discretion. 12.6.11 of the ABC editorial polices states: “The Managing Director will decide what action, if any, will be taken as a result of the report. The report will be made public.” For the ICRP reforms to have any meaningful improvement this failing must be addressed. Without this being addressed it can not be claimed by the ABC that the ICRP is at arms-length from the ABC.”
While Chipman keeps fighting for reform, it seems that the ABC will keep doing its own thing.
In the most recent issue of Quadrant (July -August 2005, not yet available online) Frank Devine in an article titled ‘Take That, Russell Balding!’ provides an amusing example of the ABC caught tampering with the transcript of an interview by Tony Eastley with Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone on the subject of the deportation of Vivian Alvarez.
In closing, I would like to thank the Barry Chipman’s of the world for the time and effort they expend in the on-going fight for accurate reporting. It is a fight against propaganda.
Chipman is a freedom fighter – but perhaps to Fullerton a terrorist?