ABC Says It Didn't Reject Adani Story Because Of Company Pressure

The Guardian

Radio story looking at economics of the Adani mine was killed off after call to news director, but ABC says it didn’t fit line-up
The ABC has denied that it blocked a story on Adani after a call from the company. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/AAP 
The ABC says it did not broadcast a story about Adani for sound editorial reasons and not because the company spokeswoman telephoned its news director Gaven Morris.
Guardian Australia asked the ABC why a story by radio current affairs reporter Isobel Roe had not been broadcast and if it had anything to do with a direct call made by Adani spokeswoman Kate Campbell to Morris.
“There was no complaint,” an ABC spokeswoman told Guardian Australia.
“The only communication we received from Adani was a request for more time to respond to our questions. In light of the need to provide parties with a fair opportunity to respond and the strength of the other stories in the mix for Saturday AM, the decision was taken at an editorial level to not proceed with the story.”
ABC sources said Roe was preparing a report for Saturday AM on Friday 24 May which looked at the economics of Adani’s Carmichael mine.
But after calling Campbell for a response, the spokeswoman called Morris directly. Roe was later told by her managers not to proceed with her report.

The story Roe was following up was by Bloomberg reporter David Fickling, who argued in a series of tweets that the economics of the Carmichael mine “don’t stack up”. Fickling later had a piece published in the Australian Financial Review on the subject.
“Adjusting that for the cost of transporting the coal to port on third-party networks comes to about $US50 a ton of operating costs, or $US500 million for the whole project, enough to leave $US160m of gross profit,” Fickling wrote.

Several sources in the ABC raise concerns that the broadcaster
is being intimidated by mining company Adani

Aunty bows to Adani
Media Watch transcript

The heavy-handed tactics by Adani follow revelations in Guardian Australia the company lodged several Freedom of Information requests about ABC reporters who had covered Adani projects.
ABC investigative reporters Mark Willacy and Michael Slezak were asked for documents relating to news reports on allegations Adani was illegally drilling bore holes.
These requests were made by Adani lawyers AJ & Co, and follow revelations they planned to confront Adani critics including activists and journalists by acting like “a well-trained police dog”.
Most of the FOI requests were denied and the only documents that were released were Willacy and Slezak’s travel and accomodation costs and some heavily redacted phone logs.
The ABC’s Media Watch also investigated the spiking of Roe’s story and spoke to staff who overheard conversations about it in the ABC’s Sydney newsroom.
“Sorry. It’s nothing to do with you, but we’re not going to be able to run this,” was one conversation reported by Media Watch on Monday night.
“It’s not my decision, it’s come from on high,” was a second conversation reported by the program.
Despite the ABC’s claim there was “no complaint” Media Watch says Adani told them they did complain about Roe’s story before it was broadcast.
“… we raised concerns with ABC management when approached to comment on a story that contained inaccuracies and was potentially biased,” an Adani spokesperson told the ABC.
Media Watch host Paul Barry said the spiking of the story “sends a terrible message to ABC journalists trying to do their job and also to ABC viewers who trust the ABC to give frank and fearless coverage of matters of public importance”.


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