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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 3019

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

(Question No. 582)

Senator Abetz asked the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, upon notice, on 8 April 2011:

Given that:

(a) the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has previously advised that '[a]cross all news and current affairs coverage, its decisions about reportage are guided by judgements of news value and public interest';

(b) in August 2010, Israel's Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was reported as having appealed to God to inflict the plague on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas;

(c) in February 2011, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the world's foremost Sunni Muslim scholar prayed for the conquest of Jerusalem during a sermon at Tahrir Square, Cairo;

(d) in January 2009, in the course of several sermons broadcast on Al Jazeera, Qaradawi urged Jihad against the Jews and declared that the Holocaust against the Jews was divine punishment and expressed the hope that 'the next time will be at the hand of the believers'; and

(e) the ABC reported on the Rabbi Yosef sermon but it did not report on the Qaradawi sermons:

Can an explanation be provided by the ABC as to why the exercise of its judgements of news value and public interest resulted in very different decisions in these two cases.

Senator Conroy: The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

Coverage of any news issue will be affected by such things as the availability of the material, the impact of the material, whether the specific comments represent a new strand of thought, a new idea or are relevant to a particular running story, and the competition from other news on the day.

The ABC is confident that it has covered principal relevant views consistently and fairly.