David Simmons made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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Dear Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
I understand that all Journalist presenting on the ABC come under the ABC charter, and part of that requirement is that those individuals must adhere to balanced reporting.
What instrument (paperwork or otherwise) is used to determine such balance (over time) in their reporting? And is this documented? If so, could an example be sent please.
Dear Mr Simmons
Thank you for your email.
I believe your request for information or documents may not be best served
by the FOI process on this occasion, so I hope you don’t mind that I have
forwarded it on to our Editorial Policies division.
They will prepare a response for you and be in touch soon.
The ABC Editorial Policies, as well as reports on editorial reviews of ABC
content, are publicly available on the ABC’s corporate website, and may be
Many thanks again for your request; please be in touch if you have any
questions or concerns.
ABC Juliana Walsh
Corporate Compliance Coordinator
P +61 2 8333 5304 E [email address]
From: David Simmons
Sent: Thursday, March 9, 2017 6:28:30 PM (UTC+10:00) Canberra, Melbourne,
To: FOI ABC
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Jouralism Employment
Dear Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
I understand that all Journalist presenting on the ABC come under the ABC
charter, and part of that requirement is that those individuals must
adhere to balanced reporting.
What instrument (paperwork or otherwise) is used to determine such balance
(over time) in their reporting? And is this documented? If so, could an
example be sent please.
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
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Dear Mr Simmons,
Your attached email about journalism employment has been forwarded to me,
I am happy to share some information with you on this matter. Hopefully
this will assist you in determining whether there is any further
information you would like to pursue via an FOI application.
The ABC Charter is section 6 of the ABC Act. It outlines the ongoing
functions and responsibilities of the ABC.
You can read a copy of it here:
The charter itself does not contain any reference to "balanced reporting",
but Section 8 (1) (c) of the Act, which covers the duties of the ABC
Board, says that it is the duty of the Board to "ensure that the gathering
and presentation by the Corporation of news and information is accurate
and impartial according to the recognized standards of objective
In order to fulfil that responsibility, the ABC has created a set of
editorial principles and editorial standards - along with more detailed
editorial guidance - to ensure that we are meeting these recognised
standards. You can find all of those editorial policies and guidance here:
Notions of 'balanced reporting' are best understood by reading our
editorial policy and our editorial guidance on "Impartiality".
In order to ensure impartiality and diversity of perspectives, the ABC
does not individually monitor and assess for "balance" the work of
specific journalists. Rather, we have a range of measures in place to
ensure that over time, the ABC on its various programs and output areas is
achieving the highest possible standards of accuracy, impartiality and
diversity of perspectives.
We do this in a number of ways. First of all, we train our content makers
in the editorial policies on a regular basis and we make them available
Secondly, we rely on the principles of upward referral contained in those
policies to ensure that there are regular editorial discussions within
program teams about difficult, contentious or controversial editorial
Thirdly, we have in place editorial structures which ensure that, as far
as possible, more than one person is involved in viewing editorial content
before it is published or broadcast, usually through the existence of
editors attached to key content teams.
Fourthly, we hold our own regular content reviews and editorial
discussions where we review our performance.
Fifthly, we invite the public to make complaints about any examples where
they feel we have not met our editorial standards, and we follow up and
resolve those complaints. Summaries of upheld complaints are made public
and can be found here:
Summaries of corrections and clarifications made to ABC content are also
made public and can be found here:
Finally, the ABC pro-actively commissions independent external reviews of
its content to test compliance with editorial policies, and the findings
of those reviews are made public. They can be found here, in the section
headed "Editorial Reviews":
I hope this is of some assistance in responding to your request for