ABC ombudsman clears coronation coverage, dismissing 96.7% of complaints

The national broadcaster's controversial reportage of the King's coronation clears investigation.

ABC ombudsman clears coronation coverage, dismissing 96.7% of complaints
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The ABC’s independent ombudsman has cleared the national broadcaster over its controversial coverage of the King’s coronation.

Ombudsman Fiona Cameron, who reports to the board, found that the coverage was "robust but fair".

Her investigation followed 1832 complaints from the public, though she only considered 61 of the complaints.

She said 96.7 per cent of complaints about the coverage were not in her purview because they related to the timing rather than the content of the commentary.

During the coronation coverage, broadcaster Stan Grant said the monarchy was responsible for an “exterminating war” on Indigenous people.

He said the Crown “represented the invasion, the theft of land, and in our case, the exterminating war which next year will mark 200 years”.

“In the name of that Crown, martial law was declared on my people, Wiradjuri people, next year marking 200 years is the declaration of martial law. A war reported at the time as an exterminating war.”

Ombudsman Cameron found that the discussion was respectful and allowed "audiences to make up their own minds about the matters that were discussed".

Cameron said the small number of complaints she considered “contend that the panel discussion between the 5 and 6pm hour was unbalanced, biased, disrespectful, inappropriate, offensive, anti-monarchist and poorly timed”.

"While some complainants referred to inaccuracy concerns, no specific facts were disputed, and the concerns raised were in reference to the perceived lack of alternative views," she said.

"The role of the Monarchy to modern Australia and the Indigenous perspectives presented were legitimate and newsworthy topics for discussion on the rare occasion of a Coronation and in the context of ABC's extensive coverage.

"In these circumstances, and for the reasons outlined above, I do not find a breach of the impartiality standards."

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  • By Avi Yemini

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