Australia's ABC in turmoil amid government interference row


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), one of the country's largest media organizations, is publicly funded by the government but meant to be politically independent and unbiased.

AFTER days of chaos and shocking revelations about his conduct, ABC chairman Justin Milne has resigned.

Mr Milne was appointed as chairman of the ABC past year by the Turnbull government. "It is clearly not a good thing for everybody to be trying to do their jobs with this kind of firestorm going on". For many, this implied that the ABC sought a favourable relationship with the sitting government and was willing to let one of its top reporters go for the sake of that relationship.

Turnbull, who has been living in NY since being forced to resign as prime minister, said he had complained about the two journalists, but never asked for their dismissal, according to The Associated Press.

The ABC board meets in the morning without Mr Milne before asking the chairman to step aside.

Ms Guthrie's sacking - which she said left her "devastated" and considering her legal options - was just the beginning.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also denied he'd asked Milne to pressure the board on editorial matters.

He said there was absolutely no interference in the independence of the ABC, despite the allegations levied against him.

The Aadhaar verdict simplified
The case had been referred by the apex court to a Constitution Bench for hearing in 2015. Chandrachud wrote a dissenting view, calling Aadhaar "a fraud on the Constitution ".

On Monday, Mr Milne said during an interview on the ABC News channel that Ms Guthrie's employment with the ABC had been "terminated".

An urgent board meeting to determine ABC chairman Justin Milne's fate will be held today but this time he will not be present at the meeting, the ABC understands.

"I would hope that media organisations in Australia take equally seriously questions of fact that are raised regardless of who raises them", he said.

Tanya Plibersek, the acting Opposition leader, said that it was a "shocking abuse of power" if it was true the Coalition Government had pressured the ABC to sack a reporter.

The ABC found nine errors in a news article by Alberici on the government's corporate tax policies, and significantly rewrote her analysis piece on the same topic.

The next day Milne announced he would quitting his role, leaving two of the broadcaster's most senior positions vacant.

The Daily Telegraph later reported a conversation between Milne and Guthrie in which Milne suggested that the ABC's future would be at risk if political editor Andrew Probyn wasn't fired.

Malcolm Turnbull says he never asked for ABC reporter Emma Alberici to be fired. "My concern has been on the accuracy and impartiality of reporting", Mr. Turnbull told reporters.