Australian broadcaster fails to admit bias in inaccurate Gaza report

An Australian broadcaster has acknowledged inaccuracies in a Middle East report while maintaining Israeli responsibility for Gazan Welfare.

August 20, 2016 18:54
1 minute read.
Rafah border crossing

A Gaza woman waits at Rafah for a travel permit to cross into Egypt, June 14.. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)


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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) admitted and corrected on Thursday two errors it made on a report regarding Palestinians crossing into Egypt and Israel from Gaza after a complaint was made by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), according to the Australian Jewish News.

Colin Rubenstein, executive director of AIJAC, lodged two complaints on June 28 regarding the 7.30 Report by Sophie McNeill, “Rafah border crossing opens to sick Gazans seeking medical treatment in Egypt” and a PM radio companion piece on June 15.

An ABC spokesperson admitted that the broadcaster was wrong to refer to Gaza as another part of the "occupied territories" and the 7.30's introduction was inaccurate.

7.30 is a daily current affairs news program broadcast in Australia.

ABC news management explained that references in the report were written in Sydney and not by McNeill.

ABC acknowledge the inaccuracy and added an editors note regarding the errors on the program's website.

Rubenstein stated that he welcomed the corrections but added, “Regrettably neither of the points that were conceded related to McNeill’s actual reports."

“We are obviously disappointed and concerned that McNeill’s reporting – which we maintain was partial, sloppy with the facts and lacking in context – was given a clean bill of health,” Rubenstein continued.

Rubenstein added: “Particularly concerning is the department’s summary dismissal of AIJAC’s complaint that there was scant investigation of Egypt’s enforcement of the [Gaza] blockade and that Cairo was essentially absolved of any responsibility, while the program strongly implied to the viewer that Israel was legally and morally culpable for Gaza’s welfare."

“The fact that no accusation or attribution of responsibility for Gaza’s situation was made against either Egypt or Hamas was the essence of the bias of the story and part of a larger pattern with McNeill’s reporting."

Rubenstein concluded by emphasizing the role that ABC's Middle East correspondent, McNeill, focuses in her stories on the "occupation" and that her stories do not deviate from the bias that Israel is predominantly responsible for Palestinian-suffering.

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