AIJAC welcomes announcement controversial producer is no longer employed by ABC
Feb 15, 2023 | AIJAC staff
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has welcomed ABC Managing Director David Anderson’s announcement in Senate Estimates yesterday that its veteran Jerusalem-based producer Fouad Abu Ghosh was no longer working for the public broadcaster.
AIJAC executive-director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “We welcome the decision as entirely justified and the only course of action open to the ABC if it wanted to demonstrate that its news and current affairs content is above suspicion of bias. The outcome also shows that the ABC understands there are red lines that its journalists must not cross if they want to continue working for the public broadcaster.”
He continued, “Mr Abu Ghosh’s dozens of social media posts expressing repugnant views about Israelis, including smearing them as being worse than the Nazis, were beyond the pale and clearly in breach of the ABC’s social media policies. Also incompatible with his professional obligations as an ABC journalist and producer was his pro-Palestinian activism, seen in his hysterical comments on the social media accounts of regional Arab leaders demanding they not make peace with Israel based on an absurd conspiracy theory that Israelis want to dominate their countries.”
Dr Rubenstein added, “although Mr Anderson insisted ABC reports were free from antisemitism, there is the wider issue of Mr Abu Ghosh’s role as mentor and adviser to successive ABC Middle East correspondents, and his potential to negatively influence story selection, angles and interviewees, including on some reports that were criticised for lacking balance and vital context, of which there have been many over the years.”
Acknowledging Mr Abu Ghosh had a right to procedural fairness, Dr Rubenstein was nevertheless critical that it took three months for the ABC to complete its investigation after the Australian newspaper first exposed the social media posts on September 4.
“Although Mr Abu Ghosh finished up in December, only now – in mid-February, and because the ABC was compelled to do so by Senate Estimates – has the public discovered the outcome of that investigation. This isn’t ideal for the public’s right to be kept informed,” he concluded.