Davis Accuses ABC of Surpressing News
This is the item, from Graham Davis's Grubsheet.
Posted: 31 Jul 2013 07:15 PM PDTIt’s taken Radio Australia more than 60 hours to broadcast a landmark speech given on Monday night to the Australia Fiji Business Forum by the Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop. (see previous posting) In that speech, Ms Bishop signaled a radical overhaul of Australia’s policy towards Fiji if the Coalition wins the forthcoming Australian election. But the evidence shows that Radio Australia chose to willfully ignore it, broadcasting instead two pieces on its public affairs program, Pacific Beat, that were highly critical of Fiji.
This morning, Grubsheet blew the whistle on this blatant act of censorship with the previous piece. At 5.14 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time, we sent the link to one of Julie Bishop’s principal advisors, Sam Riordan. At 6.21 AM, we sent the link to senior ABC executive, Alan Sunderland, who handles formal complaints on behalf of the news division, which includes Radio Australia. At 7.59 AM, Alan Sunderland sent Grubsheet an email saying he would “follow up”on the story and pointing out an inaccuracy in our original account. Then at 9.12 AM, Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat finally posted a large slab of Ms Bishops address, more than 60 hours after she’d delivered it. It ran it without comment. After all, what on earth could the broadcaster’s journalists say?
As detailed in the previous posting, we know that the Australia Network’s Pacific Correspondent, Sean Dorney, sent the Bishop speech to Radio Australia on Monday night. What happened to it? We still haven’t had an answer from ABC management. But we have clear evidence that senior Radio Australia journalist, Bruce Hill, knew about it but chose not to report it. Instead of broadcasting what was a major change of policy signaled by the Deputy Opposition Leader were the Coalition to win the forthcoming election, Hill chose instead to carry an interview with a former Fiji opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, lashing Fiji’s Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, for his own speech at the Business Forum. Where Julie Bishop had praised Ratu Inoke in her speech, Mick Beddoes lacerated him. Bruce Hill needs to explain himself, as does the entire Radio Australia news team. Because without a doubt, it is one of the most blatant instances of censorship and news manipulation Grubsheet has ever witnessed.
The timeline above speaks for itself. Julie Bishop is advised, the ABC management is advised. Within a couple of hours, Radio Australia finds the “missing” tape and puts it to air. It is not good enough and the whole episode demands an explanation. There should be an inquiry into why Radio Australia chose not to broadcast a tape that was in its possession for nearly three days. There should be a inquiry into why the rest of the ABC – domestic radio and television, including the ABC’s 24 hours news channel – also ignored the story. Only Sean Dorney emerges from this episode with any credibility at all. Having faithfully reported Ratu Inoke’s original speech, he faithfully reported Julie Bishop’s speech for Australia Network. The rest of the ABC – including its overseas radio service – should hang its head in shame.