Please explain: ABC says Pauline Hanson’s One Nation election night lockout threatens democracy

By admin

An ABC journalist is locked out of the One Nation after party tonight and is forced to file his stories from the bowling green.Pic:Tony McDonough . Saturday 11th March 2017 Photo: Tony McDonoughThe ABC has demanded an explanation from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party after its reporters were blocked from attending election celebrations on Saturday, describing the move as an attack on independent media.
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ABC reporters were locked out of a West n election night event in Perth, as a controversial preference deal with the Liberal Party and Senator Hanson’s comments on vaccinations and praise for Russian president Vladimir Putin saw One Nation’s message all but drowned out.

Other journalists, including a reporter from Fairfax Media, were allowed to attend the event, prompting ABC editorial director Alan Sunderland to ask why his staff had been singled out.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Sunderland said party officials had claimed all media had been treated appropriately, with a pool camera arrangement for TV crews in place inside the function.

“Other media representatives from a range of organisations attended on the night without any prior arrangements or permission being required,” Mr Sunderland said.

“Those other media representatives, who included broadcasters, agencies and newspaper reporters from inside and outside Western , were granted immediate access to the event.

“The ABC was denied access, and was treated differently to all other media.”

One Nation officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr Sunderland defended the ABC’s coverage during the election campaign, describing it as “accurate, impartial and independent”.

“If the ABC has been denied normal access to political events for simply doing its job, then that is an attack not just on the public broadcaster but on the fundamental role of the media in a democracy,” he said.

“We will continue, as we always have, to report without fear or favour.”

One Nation’s projected vote in the state reached just 4.8 per cent in the lower house, well short of earlier predictions of a 13 per cent vote. Despite the disappointment, Senator Hanson declared the result to be “fantastic” on Monday.

She blamed Labor for spooking voters over the Liberal preference deal.

Labor recorded a landslide win over Colin Barnett’s Liberals, with new premier Mark McGowan expected to be sworn in this week.

On Twitter, One Nation Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts said the ABC’s coverage was unbalanced.

“ABC refuses our party right of reply so we refuse your right of entry,” he said.

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief executive officer Paul Murphy said in a statement denying the ABC normal access to political events was an attack on the public broadcaster and the role of the media.

“There has been understandable outrage at the Trump administration’s vendetta against CNN, The New York Times and several other outlets in the US, and what happened in Perth on Saturday night shows we must be just as vigilant about press freedom here in .”

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