Recent controversy has ignited over whether the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has breached its own content policy by allegedly licensing archival footage for political use in a referendum campaign.
Independent journalist Rukshan Fernando discussed the issue in a recent video report, calling attention to the ABC's established principles. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983, the public broadcaster is obliged to maintain its independence and integrity by not allowing its content or intellectual property to be used for political advertising or messaging.
The video report highlights a commercial from the 'Yes' campaign in the voice-to-parliament referendum.
The ad features iconic singer John Farnham and uses old footage from significant moments in Australian history.
One particular shot from the 1960s referendum sparked online debate after keen-eyed viewers spotted the logo of the Australian Television Archive (ATA) in the corner of the footage.
A representative from the ATA, claimed the organisation did not give permission for its logo to appear, nor had they supplied the footage.
This raised eyebrows as ABC's policy explicitly states that none of its content should be used for political purposes.
Some online commentators claim that the footage was indeed licensed through ABC Library Sales Department, which typically offers licensing for documentaries and news broadcasts.
If true, this could pose a direct contradiction to ABC's stated policy and possibly bring their impartiality into question.
Despite these developments, the ABC has yet to clarify whether they did, in fact, license the controversial footage for political use.
Fernando states that while this may not be a huge issue in the grand scheme, it does call into question ABC's integrity and its stance on impartiality in political matters.