A farm representative group has expressed anger over the decision to award one of journalism's highest accolades to the ABC Four Corners program that triggered a snap Government decision to close the Indonesian live export trade for more than two months.
In a press release distributed to media yesterday, WA's Pastoralists and Graziers Association said the decision by Walkley judges to recognise the ABC program 'A Bloody Business" with a Gold Walkley showed the mainstream media had lost its ‘social licence’ with rural Australia.
“This is an outstanding example of how sensationalist journalism, normally associated with tabloids and TV programs such as News of the World or The Jerry Springer Show has infiltrated the halls of the ABC,” PGA President Rob Gillam said.
“Whilst the Greens and the Labor Parties are demanding inquiries into Australian media organisations like Fairfax and News Ltd over unfair reporting practices, ABC Four Corners has been rewarded for one of the most biased and unprofessional pieces of propaganda ever to be seen by the Australian public.”
“ABC Four Corners based their investigation on footage taken by Animals Australia and even though they claim that they verified the facts and took their own footage in Java and Sumatra, many questions remain as to the validity of the initial vision of Indonesian slaughtermen whipping and beating cattle and whether they were paid to perform these acts for the camera.”
“However what is most concerning is the fact that the tax payer funded ABC allowed such a program to air, especially one which continues to be blatantly advertised by Animals Australia, the RSPCA and GetUp! as helping to end the livestock export industry.”
“This is evident by the Walkley judges describing the program as an example of ‘how good investigative journalism can change an entrenched, unacknowledged evil in society’,” he said.
“Australian livestock producers and their families are certainly not involved in evil practices; they simply produce food in the most efficient and humane way possible.”
“However for the ABC to allow one of its producers to promote such a belief whilst being funded by the tax dollars from the very group they wish to destroy is hypocritical at best.”
“It is time for the ABC to follow the lead of their rural and regional media programs and realise that not all of their viewers reside in urban locations and are isolated from the reality of where their food comes from and how it is produced.”