A former ABC editor has claimed he was ‘gagged’ from reporting on the National Broadband Network and forced to write ‘bull****’ articles.
Veteran reporter Nick Ross, who edited the ABC’s Technology and Games forum, hit out at his former employer in a series of allegations on Twitter, saying he was ‘thrown under a bus’.
Tech journalist Nick Ross in a photo he provided for a question and answer session about being censored on Reddit’s IAMA.
He was disciplined by the broadcaster’s management in March 2013 for failing to meet its ‘standards of objective journalism’ after writing a series of favourable articles about the NBN.
After handing in his resignation, Mr Ross tweeted: ‘Mixed emotions here: I’ve left the ABC. Some stuff still falling out but hey, I can potentially write about #NBN again(!).’
When asked by a Twitter user whether he was ‘gagged’, Mr Ross replied saying: ‘Yes’.
The journalist said he had been planning to expose the state-owned and nationally-funded public broadcaster for a while and for ‘many reasons.’
‘It’s in the public interest after all. But would need to be done properly,’ he said as part of a Twitter Q&A.
‘I’ve documented everything and l saw what was happening three years ago. Might be able to afford change but don’t bet.’
The ABC has denied gagging the journalist, saying the broadcaster covers all issues of public importance ‘thoroughly and independently’.
Mr Ross stressed the fact that Australia needs a ‘strong ABC’ and he said that he cares deeply about the broadcaster and its well-being.
Mr Ross, who edited the ABC’s Technology and Games forum, hit out at his former employer in a series of allegations on Twitter
He was disciplined by the broadcaster’s management in March 2013 for failing to meet its ‘standards of objective journalism’ after writing a series of favourable articles about the NBN
But he claimed that the pressure is ‘horrible’ even saying that his health had been put at risk.
‘The ‘support’ structure isn’t independent. Who do u go to anyway? Just look disgruntled,’ he tweeted.
‘I have been stressed (and more) over this for three years now and hopefully can push on to full recovery now.
‘I have been very proactive about my healthcare throughout. But I don’t want any other ABC journos put through that.
‘We’ve lost over 25 Aussie tech journalists in the past year alone. Many not replaced.’
He claimed that many of the junior reporters were pressured into producing a high number of stories each day.
‘Many (usually junior) journos tasked with getting x number of stories out per day and then judged on traffic. Inevitable result.’
Mr Ross came under heavy fire from other media outlets and political figures in 2013 for publishing a number of articles which were heavily critical of the Coalition’s rival NBN policy.
The alternative to Labor’s flagship NBN project was developed by then-Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
He was disciplined, with one ABC spokesman saying he had ‘been reminded of the need to ensure that his work in this area is in keeping with ABC policies’.
In response to the most recent allegations, the ABC said the public broadcaster ‘does not ‘gag’ the coverage of any issues or topics of public importance’.
‘As our record makes clear, the ABC covers all issues of public importance thoroughly and independently,’ the spokesman said.
‘The only ‘restrictions’ on the issues the ABC covers and the way we cover them are our Editorial Policies, which set standards for things like accuracy, impartiality and fair dealing. All of our journalism is required to adhere to these standards at all times.’
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