news Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare has stated that he is “very concerned” about claims that the ABC gagged its former technology editor from reporting on the NBN, and has joined his Victorian counterpart Philip Dalidakis in demanding answers from ABC managing director Mark.
Over the past several weeks, Ross has made a number of public statements through sites such as Reddit, New Matilda and PC & Tech Authority claiming that the ABC prevented him from publishing articles critical of the Coalition’s controversial National Broadband Network policy.
Ross served as the broadcaster’s editor of its Technology & Games sub-site from 2010 before resigning his position several weeks ago. The journalist came under fire from other media outlets and political figures such as then-Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2013, after he published a number of articles heavily critical of Turnbull’s rival NBN policy. He has published little on the subject since.
However, the ABC has denied it gagged Ross, telling BuzzFeed news that the journalist had been warned to take the role of a “reporter”, rather than an “advocate” and highlighting the ABC’s editorial policies. A spokesperson for the broadcaster added that Ross had been invited to contribute to the ABC’s business coverage, including on NBN issues, after the Technology & Games sub-site was scheduled to be shut down, but that Ross had declined.
Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare was asked about the issue in an interview wit Bendigo IPTV posted online last week (we recommend you watch the full interview here). The interview was first highlighted by New Matilda.
In the interview, Clare said he was “very concerned” about the allegations of a gag.
“I’ve read all of the articles that have been published recently about this, as well as looking at the transcript of the taped conversations that took place in the ABC, he said. “I’m concerned about references to not publishing articles because of the response that the ABC would get from “the Turnbull camp”.”
“I’m very concerned that editorial decisions inside the ABC might be affected by the views of one political party, the Shadow Minister in that case, for Communications.”
Clare said it was important that editorial decisions were made “independently by the ABC” and not affected by the views of politicians.
“I’ve written to the head of the ABC, Mark Scott, asking for answers to those questions,” Clare added, “because it’s very, very important that people have trust in the ABC and know that the decisions about what they publish and what they broadcast are not affected by the views of one politician or one political party.”
Delimiter has contacted Clare’s office requesting that the full text of the letter be released, and will also seek the full text via Freedom of Information laws.
Clare’s letter represents the second time over the past several weeks that a senior Labor figure has written to Scott regarding the issue.
Last week Victoria’s Innovation Minister Philip Dalidakis confirmed he had written to Scott requesting a meeting and internal investigation regarding what he described as “grave allegations” that the broadcaster had gagged Ross from reporting on the National Broadband Network.
You can read the full text of Dalidakis’ letter online here in PDF format.
Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting