The Australian Government has been rocked by a major breach of law.
Key points:A federal court has ordered the ABC to stop reporting on “the content of” a report that alleges ABC News journalists had engaged in misconduct.
The ABC says it is working with the Commonwealth to resolve the matter.
“This is an unprecedented and unprecedented breach of the law, and it is the ABC’s duty to investigate all reports of alleged misconduct,” the ABC said in a statement.
“It is an absolute priority that we report the allegations of misconduct to the ABC as quickly as possible, and to the Commonwealth and the law enforcement agencies as soon as possible.”
The ABC has now been given two months to respond to the Federal Court’s order.ABC News legal director Michael Whiting said the ABC had already received a number of letters from concerned individuals, and had been advised by the department that it would be best for it to “delay the commencement of the investigation” to give the ABC time to respond.
“The ABC is an organisation of journalists, and we’re going to get the story out,” Mr Whiting told the ABC.
“But we’ve got to do it in a way that the Australian public can see it for themselves, because this is a very serious matter, and the Australian people are entitled to know.”ABC News said it has taken steps to comply with the court order, including putting up its own website to provide “a more detailed account of the process” as well as creating a public service video and a Facebook page to show the ABC has taken appropriate action to protect the integrity of its reporting.
The federal government is also looking at whether the ABC should be required to register under its existing code of practice, ABC News reported.
The Federal Court order is the latest in a series of reports that have highlighted ABC News’ reporting on the NBN and other topics.ABC reporter Andrew Chan has said he has been threatened with arrest for his work, and has received death threats from a group of people who have alleged they were “a part of a conspiracy” to “shut down” ABC News.