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  Issue No 108 Official Organ of LaborNet 24 August 2001  

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News

ABC IR Memo Draws More Fire


An ABC management memo dictating the way the journalists should report industrial disputes is an outrageous attempt to censor news, say Victorian union leaders.

The leaked memo written by Mark Henderson, Network Editor should be withdrawn immediately says the Finance Sector Union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and the Victorian Trades Hall Council.

The FSU is concerned the ABC may have been approached by the banks who are concerned about their image during the ongoing dispute over enterprise bargaining negotiations.

The memo tells journalists that "the main angle on our coverage should be the impact on the public". It is not clear whether the memo was distributed in NSW alone, or across all states and territories.

"The details of the dispute, for example, rates of pay, are very much secondary and our coverage should reflect that."

The memo makes particular reference to industrial action in the banking industry saying: "a dispute in the banking industry should focus on whether banks will be closed." The memo concludes by suggesting that, "if an industrial dispute does not impact on the public we should be immediately considering why we should be covering it."

FSU National Secretary Tony Beck has written to Jonathan Shier, ABC Managing Director seeking an assurance that the memo be withdrawn and that the "banking industry has not influenced the ABC's news reportage criteria."

Mr Beck said the ABC directive appeared to act in favour of powerful sectional interests. "The details of our disputes, pay, service standards, branch closures, community access to retail banking etc are of intense interest to the community and therefore the ABC has an obligation to report them. To treat these issues as secondary, denies the public access to critical information."

Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Leigh Hubbard said the memo was an outrageous attempt to limit the way complex disputes are reported by the ABC. "We have had a large number of industrial disputes on recently, particularly in Victoria and I would like to ask ABC management why they see fit to dictate the 'angle' rather than giving the facts and letting readers and viewers make up their own minds."

MEAA, the union representing ABC journalists said the memo was taking a "populist" approach to reporting of industrial issues. Pat O'Donnell, MEAA, Victorian Branch Secretary said: "We expect journalists to act independently

and use their news judgement. This memo interferes with news judgement. We've had a number of disputes recently and I can't think of any where it would not be in the public interest to report the details."


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*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 108 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: The Man from Manusafe
Manusafe chief Andrew Whiley explains why employers have nothing to fear from the entitlements trust fund.
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*  E-Change: 2.4 The Skeptic’s Response
In this round-table discussion, Noel Hester leads the charge against the argument that globalisation and change are inevitable.
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*  Politics: No Hand Idle
Whitlam Institute director Peter Botsman finds much to agree with in John Howard's social coalition for welfare delivery.
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*  Unions: Slavery and Struggle
A battle with all the elements of the infamous waterfront dispute is being played out in Charleston, South Carolina:
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*  International: Postcard from Santiago
The CFMEU's Phil Davey meets up with Communist Party cadres in Chile who led the underground resistance to Pinochet.
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*  History: Race and Australian Labour.
Australian unionists have long been questioning notions of a “White Australia”, even before the colonies united with it as the central feature.
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*  Economics: Global Regulation
Public sector unions from around the globe are taking the first steps to work internationally against the deregulation agenda.
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*  Satire: Niche Identified in Left-Wing Publications Market
A marxist-feminist activist has discovered a gaping hole in the lucrative left-wing publications market.
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*  Review: The Fight for Equal Pay
In this extract from her new book, Zelda D'Aprano looks at the contribution Kath Williams made to the struggle for equality.
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News
»  Entitlements Just Tip of the Iceberg
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»  State-Wide Push for Entitlement Protection
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»  Support Builds for Industrial Manslaughter Laws
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»  Organiser Assaulted – Police Called In
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»  Young Casuals Not Paid Overtime
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»  Commonwealth Hit With Criminal Conviction
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»  Back Door Bob Does Wollongong
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»  ABC IR Memo Draws More Fire
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»  Unions Warn of More Deaths in Construction
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»  Big Brother Hits Rail Workers
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»  Libs Dodge Public Education Forum
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»  Westfield Squeezes The Extra Dollar
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»  MP's Staffers Fume Over Pay Deal
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»  Mat Leave Win for Country Energy
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»  No Wonder Wonderland Workers Unhappy
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»  Qld's First Major Review of Awards
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»  Unions Buck Online Ambush
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»  Bras Burned for Burma
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»  Two Capps To Cancel Debt
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»  Australians Work Too Much, Too Long
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»  Activists Notebook
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Waterfront Women's Support Group
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»  Banking Lobby Group
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»  Love Your Tool!
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»  More on Indonesian Workers
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