ABC too lax about Mal­lah

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DANIEL MEERS

THE ABC didn’t bother check­ing Zaky Mal­lah’s re­cent so­cial me­dia his­tory, YouTube posts or gain ad­vice from com­mu­nity fig­ures be­fore the ter­ror­ist sym­pa­thiser ap­peared on Q& A.

Rev­e­la­tions of the lack­adaisi­cal ap­proach the na­tional broad­caster took be­fore al­low­ing Mal­lah a live plat­form on Q& A were re­vealed in a damn­ing govern­ment report re­leased yes­ter­day.

It was also re­vealed the ABC had re­ceived al­most 1000 com­plaints about the episode.

The report found Mal­lah had ap­peared in the au­di­ence twice pre­vi­ously, dat­ing back to 2011, and had been booked as an au­di­ence mem­ber another three times but had can­celled those ap­pear­ances.

The probe by the De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions found the ABC phoned two peo­ple who knew Mal­lah but they did not an­swer the calls.

Rather than seek fur­ther ad­vice, the ABC asked one of its jour­nal­ists to re­view tweets Mal­lah posted in Au­gust 2014 and looked at previous me­dia ap­pear­ances Mal­lah had done.

The ABC did not check his tweets from this year, among which he called for two fe­male jour­nal­ists to be “gang banged”.

Af­ter its checks the ABC de­ter­mined Mal­lah was: “not dan­ger­ous, would not be dis­rup­tive and would be a suit­able au­di­ence mem­ber to ask a ques­tion.”

The report did not pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions or form any views about the ABC’s ac­tions.

Q& A ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Peter McEvoy, who made the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion to al­low Mal­lah on the pro­gram, has since been is­sued with a for­mal warn­ing from the ABC board.

The ABC this week an­nounced it had launched an in­de­pen­dent re­view of the episode.

Zaky Mal­lah on

Q& A.

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