Media bias towards big parties denies the voters a true choice.

DARREN CHURCHILL

Australian Democrats Senate candidate

Media Release: 16th August, 2010

Media bias towards big parties denies the voters a true choice.

The Australian Democrats are calling on the media to end their biased approach of presenting only Labor, Liberal and Green candidates on the ABC in particular, and on television and radio in general.

Four political parties and an independent are contesting the Senate election in the ACT for two Senate seats but some sections of the media are doing their best to ignore the existence of the Australian Democrats and the other candidate, independent John Glynn. Australian Democrats preferences are likely to decide the result in an expected close contest.

“Almost all the focus has been on Labor, Liberal and Green. My party, the Australian Democrats, seems to be overlooked yet again,” said Australian Democrats Senate candidate for the ACT, Darren Churchill. “The exception was for minor coverage about our preference arrangements – and even then it was from the perspective of the ever-whinging Greens, and our perspective was not given.”

“People say to me, ‘So, you are still around. Why aren’t you mentioned on the radio/TV? Aren’t you doing any media?’ The decision of the ABC in particular, to either ignore or omit us is nothing short of blatant political censorship!” declared Mr Churchill.

“Despite repeated requests to be included on Stateline and other programs, Stateline still went to air last Friday without us and my phonecalls to the ABC on other programs are responded to with ‘we’ll call you back if we have time,’ even when one of the other parties declines to take part.”

“Who gives the ABC the right to decide who the voters are informed about or not?” queried Mr Churchill. “It’s not their place to decide who is in the election or not. The voters of the ACT have a right to be informed about all their choices, not just the big parties.”

“The ABC’s ‘Code of Practice’ 2008, states that in regard to news and current affairs content: ‘Content will be impartial. Editorial judgements will be based on news values. One perspective will not be favoured over others’.” continued Mr Churchill “Why is the ABC determining who is to be heard? It prides itself on being a community broadcaster but the accusation of bias directed at it appears to be right. Is it our ABC or does it belong to the big political parties? All of the candidates have a right to be heard. It’s not democratic! Clearly the ABC has not adhered to it’s own ‘Code of Practice.’”

“Things might be different in other states and territories but Canberra has biased reporting, and the public needs to be informed, particularly for this election, because people are confused about the policies of Labor and Liberal, and the Greens are coming out with some very strange remarks.”

“The Australian Democrats are here. We are a part of this election. And the good people of Canberra are being short-changed!” Mr Churchill concluded.

CONTACT:

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats Senate candidate for the ACT

darren.churchill@democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

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