Australian Journalists Question Boss on Dropping Their Adani Story

The Guardian reports that ABC journalists have questioned the decision to not run a story on the Carmichael mine.

2 min read
Australians on Bondi beach protest against the proposed Carmichael mine to be operated by the Adani group.

Journalists from Australian news giant ABC have called on the company’s news director Gaven Morris to explain why a story on Adani’s mining operations in the country was pulled from the broadcasting schedule, according to The Guardian.

The report says that staff representatives and union officials have called out alleged “editorial interference” by Adani, after reports emerged in Australian news media that Adani spokesperson Kate Campbell complained to the news chief directly about a story before it went on air.

The story in question, by radio current affairs reporter Isobel Roe, was (according to a separate article in The Guardian) about the “economics of Adani’s Carmichael mine.” It was supposed to be broadcast on the morning of Saturday, 25 May, but ABC did not run it, and still has not.

An ABC spokesperson told Guardian Australia that no complaint had been made by Adani – she said the mining company did, however, ask for more time to respond to questions from them, and so “the decision was taken at an editorial level to not proceed with the story.”

A statement from ABC journalists and union officials invited Gaven Morris to answer the questions of ABC staff in a personal interaction, and expressed solidarity with Roe, saying that they “reaffirm the commitment of all ABC journalists to the editorial independence of the ABC and to upholding our ability to do our job without fear or favour.”

The media union also called on the management of ABC, which is supposed to play a similar role as a public broadcaster as the BBC in the United Kingdom, to defend itself from “editorial interference, be it political or corporate”.

Adani’s Carmichael mine project has faced significant opposition in Australia, and its viability was recently questioned in a Twitter thread by Bloomberg reporter David Fickling.

According to The Guardian, Roe’s story was a follow up to what Fickling had argued in his thread and an article in the Australian Financial Review. This controversy also comes on the heels of reports that the Adani company’s lawyers had lodged Freedom of Information requests (somewhat similar to RTI requests in India) about ABC reporters looking into Adani projects.

ABC’s own Media Watch program has run comments by ABC sources which indicated senior management had taken the decision after alleged intimidation.

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