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« Arafat's Legacy | Main | Australian Media's Moment of Truth »

Sunday, May 28 2006

ABC Admits Palestinian 'Terror'

Abc_5It took some grilling by Sen. Michael Ronaldson, but Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s News Director John Cameron finally admitted that Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah indeed are all terror organizations.

We appreciate Senator Ronaldson for taking up this important issue with ABC and find the results extremely encouraging. We also encourage HonestReporting's Australian readers to take note of this development and hold ABC to its proper guidelines – that terrorists should be called terrorists.

See the following give and take between Ronaldson and Cameron on page 86 of this transcript (pdf. format). If Sen. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells’ involvement rings a bell for Australian readers, here’s why.

Senator RONALDSON—Do you view Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organisation?

Mr Cameron—There are answers provided in the piece of paper that has just been handed to me where we have done so on a number of occasions, and I presume it has been sent to you.

Senator RONALDSON—Are you confirming that the ABC views Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organisation?

Mr Cameron—We have described in these examples here—

Senator RONALDSON—Is the answer yes or no? The answer clearly is yes, is it not?

Mr Cameron—The answer is yes.

Senator RONALDSON—It is now on the public record that the ABC acknowledges Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organisation. Have you given any directions, either de facto or otherwise, to your journalists that they are not allowed to describe this organisation as a terrorist organisation?

Mr Cameron—I do not think that I have, no. I think, again, it is case by case, but we would not as a matter of course describe every group involved in terrorism, every time we mention them, as a terrorist group.

Senator RONALDSON—Are they a terrorist group one day and they are not the next, and they might be a terrorist group the day after?

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS—It depends who is describing them as a terrorist group. That is the answer. It depends who it is and what suits the occasion.

Senator RONALDSON—There seems to be an element of that. Again, your views are on the public record. What about Hamas? Do you view it as a terrorist organisation?

Mr Cameron—Again, in a case-by-case situation, I am sure—

Senator RONALDSON—You cannot have a case-by-case terrorist group. Please do not treat this committee with such contempt. It is either a terrorist organisation or it is not. You have acknowledged that Islamic Jihad is a terrorist organisation. What about Hamas?

Mr Cameron—If Hamas has been involved in acts of terrorism, we would have called it that at the time. I am sure we have and I am sure we have examples of same.

Senator RONALDSON—Is it a terrorist organisation as well?

Mr Cameron—In the situations that you are describing and that I am describing, yes, they are.

Senator RONALDSON—Is Hezbollah a terrorist organisation as well?

Mr Cameron—It is exactly the same answer to the previous question. The situation changes with the story. We would not always, as I say, per se call every group involved in terrorism a terrorist group every time we mentioned them.

Senator RONALDSON—You would not call a terrorist group a terrorist group unless it had been involved in acts of terrorism. Once it has been involved in acts of terrorism, as you said to the committee before, it then shows demonstrably that it is a terrorist group, and that is the way it is described.

A press release from Senator Ronaldson’s office sums up the background info:

ABC Finally Concedes that Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah are Terrorist Organisations.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has finally conceded that Palestinian groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah are terrorist organisations.

Four years after the ABC’s international chief John Tulloh banned journalists from calling the groups terrorist organisations, the ABC has now admitted they are terror groups.

The change of heart has followed three years of forensic questioning of ABC executives by Liberal Senators Santo Santoro, Michael Ronaldson and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

The admission from ABC news director John Cameron, that the Palestinian groups are terrorist organisations, came at Senate Estimates this week (May 24, 2006).

“This is a long overdue but nevertheless very welcome concession from the ABC”, said Senator Ronaldson.

“The ABC has finally been forced to drop its immoral double standard, where terrorists were terrorists in any part of the world except Israel and the Palestinian territories”, he said.

“I now call upon the other national broadcaster, SBS, to do the same.”


Thursday May 25, 2006.

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Well done to you all for this concession. I have emailed BBC this morning about calling terrorists by their right name rather than 'militants'. Keep up all your good work.

Yes...excellent work. Keep the pressure on. I hate bias journalism!

Am I reading the same text? Because I don't think they have conceded anything. Cameron clearly states "the situation changes with the story". This means that it is up to ABC how to describe a group on a day-to-day basis.

One might wonder if the ABC would always describe the Salvation Army, for example, as a charitable enterprise or would they have to evaluate this, too, on a "case by case" basis? Honesty demands that judgement be based on an assessment of the ongoing and dominant behavior of an organization. It seems quite clear that the ABC have been either intellectually dishonest or severely biased -- perhaps both. Bravo to Senator Ronaldson and his colleagues!

Yes, excellent work in attempting to get to the truth where terror groups the world over are concerned. Regrettably, we live in a world where politicised journalism can so dramatically colour peoples' perceptions of events.

Thank you, it is good to know there are honest people on the south side of our Earth, but sadly, on the north side, we do have real problems with hate and sexual disorders

I guess the ABC have a point. A terrorist organization really is only a terrorist organization on a case-by-case basis. The Hamas Covenant, for example, calls for the destruction of Israel by Jihad, and no recognition of any peace agreement or international negotiations about peace with Israel. But you can only read the Hamas Covenant one reading at a time... so inbetween readings, they are obviously a benign charity, until of course you read their covenant again. The trick is, especially if you're a journalist at the ABC, not to bother with such details.

When is a terrorist group not a terrorist group?

About time the ABC calls a terrorist a terorist. Perhaps we may now hope for a start of evenhanded reporting instead of the biased and selective reporting to date

no more militantism journalism, call a spade a spade , militant is the local school commitee not a deadly organization dedicated to terror

What an absolute load of codswallop! As a trained lawyer, Ronaldson would have been able to pick the absurdity of his argument; only the constant bullying tactics forced the false admission from The ABC. Nothing has been proven by this waste of taxpayers money - except that this Government is becoming increasingly well-trained in obscurantist bullying

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