ABC responds to the ECAJ
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has apologised to The Executive Council of Australian Jewry for publishing anti-Israel comments on its ABC2 Facebook page following the broadcast of ‘Five Broken Cameras’.Executive director of the ECAJ Peter Wertheim wrote to the broadcaster on August 20 lodging two complaints, one on general perceived anti-Israel bias and imbalance and the other on the Facebook comments.
The independent ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs unit examined both complaints dismissing the one of general bias but finding that some of the comments made relating to ‘Five Broken Cameras’ “should not have remained online.”
The unit detailed programs broadcast by the ABC on the Israel-Palestine conflict including interviews with Dror Moreh who made the documentary “The Gatekeepers” and with former Australian ambassador to Israel Ross Burns and was satidfied that ABC News had covered the conflict in accordance with their standards.
But the ECAJ did score a result on the Facebook comments.
The report continued: “The comments have been removed and ABC Television apologise for the oversight.”
The report concluded that “following the broadcast of ‘Five Broken Cameras’, audience members had the opportunity to post contributions on the A?BC2 Facebook page. The complaint has raised concerns that some of these comments were racist and anti-Semitic containing ‘malicious analogues between Israel and the Nazis’. ABC Television have agreed that these comments should not have remained online.”
Wertheim commented on the response to his complaints: “The ECAJ has a significant difference of opinion with the ABC about what the ABC considers to be “balanced” coverage of Israel. That the ABC cites interviews with film-maker Dror Moreh and former Australian Ambassador Ross Burns as “balancing” its otherwise negative coverage of Israel, suggests that the ABC has failed to understand our concerns about its coverage. The overtly racist comments of viewers posted on the ABC website, for which the ABC has now apologised, may indeed represent the cumulative effect of the consistent negative coverage of Israel in the ABC’s news and current affairs programs, including the screening of “Five Broken Cameras’. The ECAJ intends to again raise these and other issues with the ABC.”