SBS reporting on Al Jazeera journalist’s death breaches Code of Practice

June 23, 2022 by Henry Benjamin
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A tweet by SBS News published on May 11 stated that Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla was shot dead by a member of the Israeli Defence Forces.

A Perth member of The Australian Jewish Association was allegedly attacked while walking with his assailant calling him an Israeli and Jewish on the day following the tweet. He said he was rescued by a man who was sh0wn the tweet by the attacker.

The incident was not  reported to the police.

The AJA helped the victim lodge a complaint with the broadcaster.

The complaint addressed to the SBS ombudsman stated “There has been no inquiry or proof that it was Israeli troops.”

SBS ombudsman has found the tweet to be in breach of its Code of Practice involving SBS social media and a linked article.

Code 32 states:

“SBS will not knowingly and materially mislead audiences in the presentation of factual material.

SBS will apply reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material including news and current affairs is gathered and presented with due accuracy having regard to the circumstances and facts known at the time of broadcasting or publishing the content.”

Dr David Adler told J-Wire: “This is a rare but important symbolic victory in response to anti-Israel reporting.

SBS, unlike the ABC, does have an Ombudsman who can review complaints against the SBS Code of Practice.

We are pleased that the SBS Acting Ombudsman did an independent review to identify the breach of the Code. Journalists and commentators need to be cautious not to attribute wild unsubstantiated conclusions, particularly for issues charged with emotion and controversy.”

It is important that our community remain vigilant and use available complaint processes when we see examples of unjustified anti-Israel or antisemitic bias.”


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