ABC News admits “human error” wiped Israel from map

November 13, 2017 by David Singer
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ABC News has belatedly admitted that “human error” caused Israel to be wiped from the following map…


This admission came during the investigation of a complaint lodged by me concerning a segment aired on Media Watch featuring the above map titled “Misplaced map outrage”

Audience and Consumer Affairs (“AACA”) – a unit separate to and independent of the content making areas of the ABC – dealt with my complaint alleging that Media Watch had breached the ABC’s editorial standards of accuracy.

Media Watch had focused on a Daily Mail story dated 19 August which accused the ABC of wiping Israel off the map.

Media Watch sought to provide the context missing from the Daily Mail article – namely, that the ABC report was about repealing a law which allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims, that Israel had never had that law whereas such laws had been applied in Palestinian territories.

The ABC had responded to the Daily Mail on 21 August:

 “[t]he graphic did not represent a map of the Middle East but a visual representation of the countries relevant to the story”.

Media Watch presenter Paul Barry justified Israel’s omission from the map:

“But two days is obviously an age in the Mail’s hectic newsroom. And clearly no one bothered to watch the ABC report.

Because if they had they would have known that the nations in blue are where this law has been abolished. And the nations in yellow are those that still have it on their books.

And Israel was not on the map because it never had the offending statute.”

AACA’s investigation found otherwise:

“With regards to the original image used on The World, we have sought additional information from ABC News who have advised that unfortunately due to human error the yellow shading covered a larger area than where the laws are applicable. But as marry-your-rapist laws have never been enacted in Israel, Israel was not labelled on the map so as not to mislead viewers that Israel had or has any such laws. However, this was not an implicit political comment or any attempt to delegitimise Israel.”

AACA determined:

 “Within the context of the Media Watch segment which especially sought to provide context to the Daily Mail’s article, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied that viewers would not be materially misled by the inclusion of the graphic from The World. Nevertheless, we have noted your concerns and made them available to the program, ABC Television and ABC News for their consideration.”

Challenging AACA’s determination as “perplexing” – I responded:

“The yellow shading in covering a larger area than where the laws are applicable was not accurate because:

(i) the yellow shaded area mistakenly included Israel and 

(ii) the yellow shaded area mistakenly identified and clearly labelled “Israel” as “Palestine”

Surely this admitted “human error” needs to be publicly acknowledged by the ABC and a public correction or clarification issued.

I would further submit that this human error comes within part 2.1 of the ABC’s editorial standards – which you do not appear to have even considered:

“2.1 Make reasonable efforts to ensure that material facts are accurate and presented in context”

AACA replied:

“We have nothing further to add to our substantive response.”

This dismissive response coming from the annual $1 billion taxpayer-funded ABC is not acceptable.

Reprimanding those responsible for this “human error” and those who sought to publicly justify Israel’s exclusion from the map using artificially contrived reasons is surely warranted – particularly as the ABC has been recently accused of anti-Israel bias.

Media Watch certainly needs to issue a clarification and apology.


13 Responses to “ABC News admits “human error” wiped Israel from map”
  1. john nemesh says:

    well done david.

    Human error my a..e!

    It was deliberate human exclusion of Israel and inclusion of Palestine .

    The person who did it and got away with it should be kept away from maps from now on.

    but will it happen?

    The ABC is a clubhouse for greens and left labor……I know .

    • Diana Reynolds says:

      Dear Mr Nemesh,

      You are absolutely correct – but human error? There are obviously no homosapiens working either in the ABC’s Television Newsroom/Media Watch or in the ABC’s complaints department. Probably this applies to the entire ABC organisation. Watch this space!!!!

      Nevertheless we must continue to fight the good fight against hatred and blind ignorance.

      Congratulations David Singer.

    • david singer says:


      Whether the “human error” now uncovered by my complaint was intentional or not seems to be something the ABC is not too interested in exploring at the moment.

      However I hope they will be eventually forced to go down that route. One obviously needs patience when dealing with our $1 billion annually-taxpayer funded- ABC. Apologizing does not come easily to this behemoth.

      The ABC also needs to explain why “human error” was not given as the reason when the following official explanation was given for Israel being wiped off the map by Sally Jackson Media Manager ABC News:

      “On Thursday 17 August, ABC News broadcast a story about the repealing of a law in Lebanon that allowed rapists to escape punishment if they married their victims. The accompanying graphic showed countries where this law had already been repealed (in blue) and countries where campaigners were actively trying to have it repealed (in yellow). This law does not exist in Israel, and never has, so it was not shown in the graphic.

      The graphic did not represent a map of the Middle East but a visual representation of the countries relevant to the story.”

      That explanation has now been blown out of the water and been shown to be misleading and deceptive.

      There is a lot more in this “Mapgate” saga to be revealed.

      Hopefully the ABC will fess up and make a full investigation into this disgraceful incident.

      As they say in the classics – watch this space.

  2. Suzanne Aladjem says:

    Not surprised Israel is removed from other media outlets, when confronted they apologise, why not be honest and admit the real reason, bigotry antisemitic.

  3. Adrian Jackson says:

    What a storm in a tea cup. The map on the ABC was not an atlas map – got it.

    The countries shown as blue and yellow were those affected by rape/marriage laws in the countries shown.

    • david singer says:


      I am afraid you are the one who does not get it.

      What has been established so far is:

      1. The map in question was prepared by someone within the ABC or on that person’s instructions. The fact it was not an atlas map is irrelevant.

      2. The map showed “Israel” being labelled as “Palestine” – which is misleading, deceptive and a downright lie.

      3. The reasons initially given for doing this have been blown out of the water by the revelation that what happened was in fact really caused by “human error”. Whether this was intentional or not remains to be determined.

      This is not a storm in a teacup – it is the calm before the storm. There are some very serious questions the ABC needs to answer about these extraordinary events.

      • Adrian Jackson says:

        Israel and Palestine’s borders are still disputed but this is not the issue here.

        This map issues is getting neurotic by the right wingers in this debate and have been going on for over a month. Move on.

        • Adrian Jackson says:

          The Palestine tag is shown in the sea too.

          • Erica edelman says:

            That is NOT the point Jackson
            The points are:
            1. Israel is OMITTED from the map
            2. Israel is frequently DISMISSED by the ABC
            3. This is not the ABC’s first rodeo – they are DISMISSIVE
            Of Israel and recognizing her on a regular basis
            4. The ABC owes an (another) apology
            5. All of the above is not only repetitive but unacceptable
            Stop making excuses for them Jackson; it’s a blight on
            Your intelligence

          • david singer says:


            Brilliant observation Adrian. Does this indicate to you that Palestine is actually located in the Mediterranean Sea?

            There will be no moving on until the ABC gets rid of this false and deceptive map – which incidentally still remains unaltered on the Media Watch site.

    • Diana Reynolds says:

      Adrian Jackson,

      What an unfortunate phrase to use, ‘storm in a tea cup’. There is a long list of historical events that originally had this term attached to them and they turned out to be the seeds of major disasters.

      The weakness of your argument is shown by your need to resort to the tactic of using derogatory terms such as ‘right wingers’ rather than cogent arguments.

      Diana Reynolds

  4. Erica edelman says:

    Don’t be holding your breath David.
    No apology will be forthcoming
    The producers were FULLY aware of what they were
    Doing and what was ultimately portrayed.
    They do it because THEY CAN and because it’s their
    Contribution to THE LEFT And because they know the repercussions
    Will be minimal to zero.
    Ultimately certain producers will hang themselves (out of a job)

    • david singer says:


      The ABC will be doing its image a great disservice if it is not prepared to get to the bottom of this biased reporting and the attempt to cover up that “human error” was what caused Israel to be wiped off the map and “Palestine” substituted.

      AACA has referred my concerns to Media Watch, ABC News and ABC Television for their consideration. That is a good start. I hope each of these ABC arms address my concerns without delay.

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