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Public's right to know: why was Paul Barry sacked?



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Public’s Right To Know - Why Was Paul Barry Sacked? Northern Territory Labor Senator, Trish Crossin has written to the ABC’s managing director Jonathan Shier, expressing concern at the recent sacking of Media Watch presenter, Paul Barry.

"All Australians should be concerned by what’s happening at the ABC. After all, it is the public’s taxes at work, and the ABC’s managing director should be accountable to the Australian public. We want, and deserve, an independent and impartial ABC. The question needs to be asked, ‘is the ABC’s managing director trying to stifle criticism of the ABC by ABC staff?’," Senator Crossin said.

"Media Watch is probably the most important media watchdog in Australia. As has been proven time and time again, the supposed media regulatory bodies, the ABA and the Australian Print Council, are generally pretty ineffectual in keeping Australia’s media accountable.

"It is in the interest of the media that the public have confidence in the media, one which is as free as possible of unethical journalism, political bias, and sloppy media practices. Journalism which doesn’t meet a reasonable journalistic standards need to be uncovered and redressed - whether within the ABC, or the commercial media outlets," Senator Crossin said.

"Media Watch has served its critical function admirably. However the public’s support for Media Watch is unlikely to be maintained if it appears the program is being forced to ignore ABC journalistic transgressions or to go soft on ABC management, and is instead being forced to concentrate solely on the misdemeanours of commercial media outlets.

"While I think most Territorians would agree that it is more common for journalists working for commercial media outlets to be guilty of unethical or shoddy journalistic practices, there is no reason why the ABC should not be subject to a similar level of scrutiny," Senator Crossin said.

"If media accounts are correct, that Mr Barry was sacked for segments critical of ABC journalists, and ABC Management, then that is a very worrying state of affairs," Senator Crossin said.

"I have never met or talked to Mr Barry but I am disturbed that there appears to be a trend developing that anyone who disagrees with Mr Shier’s world view is given their marching orders from the ABC.

"From all accounts, Mr Barry is a very experienced and highly respected journalist and Media Watch has achieved good ratings throughout the last 12 months. I, like many other Territorians, would like to know the real reasons for his dismissal," Senator Crossin said.

Ends.

05/12/2000