Q&A, ABC, AIJAC: complaint lodged

June 21, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has recently lodged a complaint with the ABC’s in-house complaints body regarding the 27 May 2021 episode of Q&A covering the cessation of fighting between Hamas and Israel.

Randa Abdel-Fattah and Dave Sharma       Image: Screenshot

The complaint argued that the weekly panel discussion program breached its statutory obligations by not balancing the appearance of high profile pro-Palestinian advocate Randa Abdel-Fattah with an equivalent pro-Israel Jewish speaker.

AIJAC argued that the failure to ensure balance on the panel breached the ABC’s legislative obligations as set out in the ABC Act (1983) which requires the ABC Board to ensure news is “accurate and impartial” and the ABC’s own inhouse Code of Practice (2019) requirement that “news and information is impartial according to recognised standards of objective journalism”, particularly when covering contentious subjects.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said the complaint did not criticise Ms. Abdel-Fattah’s appearance on the panel.

“To feature a well-known pro-Palestinian advocate who is of Palestinian descent and not balance her appearance on the panel with a Jewish, pro-Israel representative, is a clear and unacceptable breach of the ABC’s obligations that it be impartial and include a diversity of opinions, especially when focusing on contentious topics,” Dr Rubenstein said.

While noting the panel did include the non-Jewish Liberal MP Dave Sharma who is also a former Australian Ambassador to Israel, Dr Rubenstein said, he was there as a balance to the Labor MP Ed Husic, not to Ms Abdel-Fattah’s participation.

Dr Rubenstein added that “Mr Sharma is undoubtedly highly qualified to discuss the suite of issues involved. His support for Israel is well-known, but he is not an advocate for Israel in the way Ms Abdel-Fattah is for the Palestinian cause.”

“There is a clear expectation that a panel show format such as Q&A, when covering a contentious issue such as the conflict between Hamas and Israel, would balance the discussion of the issue with at least one panellist from each side. Q&A did not do this. It chose to have a panellist of Palestinian descent to articulate the Palestinian narrative while effectively silencing the pro-Israel, Jewish perspective.”

AIJAC has requested that ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs publicly states that the program breached ABC’s Code of Conduct obligations and requires an editorial note be included on the Q&A webpage where the episode is archived.


4 Responses to “Q&A, ABC, AIJAC: complaint lodged”
  1. Eddy Boas says:

    I have been surprised why Jewish ‘leaders’ in Australia are afraid to speak out when Media, like the ABC and Sydney Morning Herald and others present and publish blatant one sided anti Israel reporting. I send an email to ABC, immediately after Q&A programme, questioning them about their blatant bias and not checking the facts. the Q&A programme was not only anti Israel but was anti Jewish and programmes and stories like these encourage attacks on Jewish property and individuals. When in the 1930’s the Nazis started their verbal attack on Jews, there were also Jewish leaders who kept quiet, this did not help the Jewish population of Europe nor did they help themselves. Jews who kept quiet and the few that tried to stay friends with the Nazis all ended up being part of the 6 million Jews that were murdered. Keeping quiet is not the answer it encourages the likes of Hamas and Iran to attack Israel and clear it of Jews ‘from the River to the Sea” It also encourages anti-Semitic attacks as has occurred, lately, all over the world.

  2. Naomi Benheim says:

    The ABC is openly anti Israel and biased to the extreme. Their ‘Israel Palestinian feature fests’ are handled by people like Stan Grant who has been an AL Jazeera ‘journalist’ for many years. We have written to them dozens of times even including historical facts and timelines as well as verifiable Hamas leadership quotes to counter their false narratives, But the ABC never responds nor do they correct anything.
    ABC stands for Antisemitic Bias Company

  3. Eion Isaac says:

    In the Programme no -one was able to get in the argument that the Jews accepted the UN partition Plan of 1947 that divided Palestine into a Jewish State An Arab State and an International Zone of Jerusalem
    which would allow a few hundred thousand Holocaust Survivors to Return to the Ancient Holy Land .
    The Palestinians rejected this Resolution with Violent Terror that led to the War of 1947-1949
    and the Palestine Refugee Crises .

  4. Michael Burd says:

    Well done AIJAC

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