Bias not an Issue for ABC

The ABC says a recent Newspoll survey of community attitudes confirms overwhelming public belief that the Corporation is ‘balanced and even handed’ in reporting news and current affairs.

ABC Managing Director, Russell Balding, says recent monitoring of ABC output by Rehame, in the lead up to the 9 October Federal election, also supports the ABC’s standing as an independent and impartial public broadcaster.

“It is reassuring to see that for the fifth consecutive Newspoll Appreciation Survey, around 4/5ths of the Australian public believe that the ABC does a very good or quite good job of being balanced and even handed.

“The results for individual programs among those who watch or listen to them, such as the 7pm tv News, The 7.30 Report, The World Today, AM and PM, were even higher, ranging from 94 to 89%.

“Independent surveying of Australians by highly respected sources over recent years has consistently demonstrated the great faith that the public has in ABC reporting.

“The ABC has also now completed the pre-election monitoring of some of its programs, undertaken by Rehame. The results indicate that the ABC has competently and extensively covered the diversity of political views in the pre-election period.

“Now that the Federal election campaign has officially commenced, far more extensive monitoring of ABC programs is being undertaken, as has been the case since 1998.”

Other highlights of the Newspoll survey include:

* 89% of the public believe the ABC is a valuable service
* 61% believe the quality of ABC radio programming is very good or quite good
* 76% of the population feels the ABC does a very good or quite good job covering issues in country and regional areas, compared to 43% for commercial broadcasters

The study was conducted nationally by telephone in May-June, among 1900 people aged 14 and over.