ABC boss David Anderson has drawn a line on the public broadcaster’s coverage of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, asserting it’s not the ABC’s role to accuse either side of alleged crimes.
Anderson joined ABC Melbourne host Raf Epstein on Friday morning, fielding live talkback questions from the show’s listeners, including on the broadcaster’s hesitance to use the words “genocide” and “apartheid” when covering the conflict in Gaza.
“When it comes to the use of those terms, the ABC won’t report using them ourselves. What we do is report other people using them,” David Anderson told ABC radio this morning.
“So for instance, genocide is a claim that’s been made. It’s a serious crime. It’s an allegation of a crime. The IDF and Israel reject that.”
Anderson’s comments come after ABC staff voiced concerns in a news staff meeting about the broadcaster’s unwillingness to use terms including “invasion”, “occupation”, “genocide”, “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” regarding Israeli government policy and allegations made by human rights groups.
“We do report on other people using those words, but it doesn’t go without a challenge as to what the actual meaning of that word is,” Anderson said.
“Same with apartheid. Again, when people are talking apartheid, they’re thinking about what a solution to this might be, and again, we’ll report other people’s use of that. We won’t use that ourselves.”
However, Anderson said the broadcaster will continue to challenge all information coming from Gaza, given the difficulty associated with verifying all information and sources, again responding to a claim that the ABC is over-reliant on the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in its reporting.
“I’m not sure that that’s the case.”
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