Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

ABC upholds AIJAC complaint

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June 24, 2009


An AIJAC complaint to the ABC has been upheld, resulting in a correction and apology from the national broadcaster.

A complaint submitted by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) highlighted an incorrect statement by Middle East correspondent Anne Barker. In an  ABC AM report, filed April 25, about Israel's security barrier, Barker stated, "Both the International Court of Justice and Israel's Supreme Court have ruled that the West Bank wall is illegal and must be pulled down."

AIJAC contended that Israel's Supreme Court has never ruled the security barrier illegal.

AIJAC's complaint argued that, "While the ICC may have ruled Israel's barrier illegal, Israel's Supreme Court has considered it in a number of cases, and has specifically ruled that it is legal. In some cases, the Court has ordered that the route be changed, but never that it is illegal." The complaint included excerpts of relevant court decisions.

In a letter to AIJAC, the ABC's Audience and Consumer Affairs' Kieran Doyle apologized for "this lapse in editorial standards" advising that "an editor's note has been attached to the online transcript of the report, noting the error",  that the "matter has also been posted on the ABC News corrections page," and that the issue has been raised with the reporter.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, said "We regarded this error as a serious one, because it wrongly suggested that the Israeli government is showing flagrant disregard for the law of the land over an extended period of time by building the barrier in defiance of Israel's highest court. In fact, Israel alone among Middle East states is governed by the rule of law. We are pleased that, in this instance, the ABC has done the right thing by acknowledging the inaccuracy and taking steps to rectify it."

 

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