ABC climate-change documentary investigated over ‘imbalance’


ABC climate-change documentary hosted by Craig Reucassel is investigated by the TV watchdog over ‘imbalance’ accusations

The ABC has been cleared over allegations of ‘imbalance’ in the documentary series Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge, hosted by comedian Craig Reucassel.

Media watchdog ACMA had received a complaint alleging ‘the program was produced in a manner that unfairly and inaccurately depicted Australian cattle producers and the beef industry,’ according to an official report.

But the national broadcaster ‘did not breach’ any standards as alleged, ACMA ruled in its decision this month.

Vindicated: The ABC has been cleared over allegations of imbalance in their documentary series Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge. Pictured: host Craig Reucassel

The series saw Reucassel, from satirical comedy team The Chaser, explore how carbon emissions can be reduced, both individually and collectively. 

However complaints alleged the three-part documentary series was not impartial and failed to include other perspectives.

ACMA pushed back against that claim, stating that viewers ‘would have understood from the way the program was framed and presented over its three episodes that it was not an in-depth investigative report about the relative causes of carbon emissions, land clearing or the beef industry’.

Under the ABC Code, impartiality does not require that every perspective receives equal time. 

Above board: The national broadcaster 'did not breach' any standards as alleged, said the Australian Communications & Media Authority this month

Above board: The national broadcaster ‘did not breach’ any standards as alleged, said the Australian Communications & Media Authority this month

No bull: In its report, ACMA asserted the series 'was not an in-depth investigative report about the relative causes of carbon emissions, land clearing or the beef industry,' thereby invalidating the complaints

No bull: In its report, ACMA asserted the series ‘was not an in-depth investigative report about the relative causes of carbon emissions, land clearing or the beef industry,’ thereby invalidating the complaints

The complaint also alleged the program misled viewers by presenting outdated statistics on land clearing.

That claim was also rejected, with the watchdog stating it ‘does not consider that the Program’s premise was an investigative report on land clearing or changes in vegetation’.

‘Rather, the editorial context of the program was an exploration of how ordinary Australians could experiment with changes to their diet in order to reduce their carbon footprint,’ it continued. 

Fight for Planet A: Our Climate Challenge aired in August last year.

Justice served: Under the ABC Code, impartiality does not require that every perspective receives equal time

Justice served: Under the ABC Code, impartiality does not require that every perspective receives equal time

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