Complaint Two: ABC

August 9, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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An AIJAC complaint against an article on the ABC’s website, which claimed Hamas and Islamic Jihad are listed as terrorists by Australia simply because of “their continued resistance against Israeli occupation”, has been upheld by the ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs unit.

Dr Colin Rubenstein

The July 21 article, titled “What is terrorism? The controversial label that is used and abused around the world,” by Tracey Shelton, had a sidebar setting out “The 26 terrorist organisations on Australia’s watch list”. In the sidebar, it stated, “Palestine’s Hamas — Two Palestinian groups, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have been designated for their continued resistance against Israeli occupation.”

AIJAC noted that this description of the designation of the two groups is incorrect and “The Australian National Security website does not state anywhere that ‘occupation’ is the reason for their listing. It explains that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are designated as terrorist organisations because they are against the existence of the State of Israel and use terrorism to achieve this goal.”
AIJAC went on to note that:
“The description of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad being designated because of ‘their continued resistance against Israeli occupation’ frankly seems an expression of the views of the author of the article regarding these two groups, not Australian law. This appears to be part of a larger pattern with the article… which repeatedly makes claims about terrorism as a phenomenon which are disputed or contested in the relevant literature and public debate but treats them as factual and uncontested. Yet the article is labelled as neither opinion nor analysis on the ABC website.”

AIJAC concluded, “In the interests of accuracy and the ABC’s statutory requirements to be fair and balanced we therefore request that as a matter of urgency you amend the relevant section of the article to accurately reflect the reasons the Australian Government has given for Hamas and PIJ’s listing.”

In upholding the complaint, the ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs unit stated, “In response to your concerns, ABC News have advised that the summary in the sidebar for ‘Palestine’s Hamas’ did not accurately reflect the description by Australian National Security. Accordingly, the article has been amended to read: ‘Palestine’s Hamas — Two Palestinian groups, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have been designated for their attacks on Israeli citizens.”

The ABC response did not refer to AIJAC’s request that the article as a whole be labelled as opinion.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein stated, “We are pleased that, in this instance, the ABC acted expeditiously to rectify an obvious and frankly egregious error. We hope that, in the future, the ABC will take more care to ensure that there are no more instances of this type of blatant misrepresentation, resulting from what seems to be biased advocacy journalism, and that its journalists adhere to its Editorial Policies.

“It is, however, disappointing that an article that is clearly based on a one-sided opinion will continue to present on the website as a straight news story, and that the ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs unit ignored that part of our complaint. It is important for the understanding of readers, not to mention the integrity of journalism on the whole, that articles that are clearly the opinion of the writer rather than objective reportage are labelled as such,”
Dr Rubenstein concluded.


3 Responses to “Complaint Two: ABC”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    Without predjudice.

    It’s all in the eye for accuracy and detail and one has to be quick to catch it.
    That came home to me more recently viewed on YouTube in relation to the early church and how it was left mid air with the concluding statement ..”and the rest is history”.

    What history?

    For those who wouldn’t know the history they’re left to make their own conclusion……and with all the contadictions down through history even today.
    The destrtuction of The Temple in 70 CE is just one example.
    Believing the Jews had been subdued forever, that golden menorah depicted on the Arch of Titus a sign of the spoils of war is placed side by side with the Star of David, the Emblem of Israel when it became a state thousands of years later.
    Now that’s real history…..God never said it was going to be easy…..

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    From the ABC to Andrew Bolt many are getting tired of Dr Rubenstein constant whining.

    • Lynne Newington says:

      I think epistemic vigilance is what it’s called……meaning communication is a powerful but a dangerous tool.

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