ABC Chair gives 'half-hearted' apology over controversial coronation coverage

The Australian Monarchist League receives a muted apology from ABC Chair Ita Buttrose.

ABC Chair gives 'half-hearted' apology over controversial coronation coverage
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ABC Chair Ita Buttrose has written a letter of apology to the Australian Monarchist League, addressing the disappointment expressed by some viewers regarding the national broadcaster's coverage of King Charles III's coronation in May.

The coverage, which included a 45-minute segment focusing on the monarchy's impact on Indigenous Australians since colonisation, sparked widespread backlash.

In her letter, Buttrose reportedly emphasised that the coverage did not breach editorial guidelines, and the ABC Ombudsman had deemed discussing Indigenous perspectives on the monarchy as "legitimate and newsworthy topics of discussion" within the context of the broader coverage.

The segment featured prominent figures such as Stan Grant, Indigenous writer and lawyer Teela Reid, Australian Republican Movement chair Craig Foster, and Liberal MP and monarchist Julian Leeser. The overall coverage spanned eight hours, led by Julia Baird and Jeremy Fernandez.

The Australian Monarchist League had previously made demands for an independent inquiry into the coverage and disciplinary action against the staff involved in the controversial segment. Though not a full apology, Buttrose acknowledged the petition and the concerns raised by stating:

"I am sorry they were disappointed with our coverage."

However, the league expressed its continued disappointment with the ABC's response, considering it fell short of a genuine apology.

Australian Monarchist League national chair Philip Benwell stated:

"The ABC had to say something because you don't ignore 10,000 people who protest a program."

The league had launched a petition calling for the ABC's board to apologise for what they perceived as biased coverage that denigrated the monarchy and Britain during a historic event.

Despite Buttrose's note that the ABC approached conservative voices to contribute their perspectives, the Australian Monarchist League claimed it was not among those approached, raising questions about the broadcaster's intentions.

The ABC faced additional complaints from other monarchist groups and received negative commentary following the controversial coverage.

The issue remains a point of contention between the network and monarchist supporters who had anticipated witnessing the historic coronation unfold live on their screens.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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